CINCINNATI (AP)—Jeff Francoeur needed just one at-bat to salvage a dismal road trip.
“It was a tough road trip for me,” said Francoeur, who was 3-for-24 (.125) on the trip after grounding out with the bases loaded to end the Braves’ sixth inning. “I had a lot of opportunities to win games for this ballclub. I’ve done it in the past, but it’s been a while.”
“He’s had some success in the past,” manager Bobby Cox said. “He’s been one of the best at getting key hits, but it comes and goes.”
“We wanted to come in and win the series,” Jones said. “We had two tough games where we left a lot of men on base and couldn’t get a key hit. (Francoeur) finally got one.”
Jones and Brian McCann singled with no outs in the eighth inning against Gary Majewski (4-4). Francoeur, who is hitting .295 (36-for-122) with runners in scoring position, followed McCann with a triple into the right-field corner, setting up LaRoche’s sacrifice fly. Diaz then hit his fourth homer to make it 6-4.
“I was pretty down after my first three at-bats,” Francoeur said. “I’ve always loved those situations. You’ve got to love those situations. I just told myself to keep grinding.”
Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 559th career home run and drove in two runs for the Reds, who fell back to .500 at home with a 29-29 record.
Kyle Lohse, who was acquired from Minnesota on July 31, struck out a season-high seven in his first start with Cincinnati and first since he pitched 2 2-3 innings for the Twins in a 7-4 loss at Detroit on May 16. Lohse worked five innings against Atlanta, allowing two runs and four hits.
Edgar Renteria hit a two-out single in the first and scored on Jones’ 26th homer of the season.
“I made a bad pitch to the wrong guy,” Lohse said. “After that, I settled in and worked the ball around pretty good.”
The Reds rallied with four runs in the first three innings against John Smoltz, who remained unbeaten in 10 starts since losing 4-1 at Florida on June 13.
Griffey hit a 431-foot solo homer with two outs in the first for his 23rd of the season and the first of his career against Smoltz. Griffey now has homered against 357 different pitchers, and he has 1,040 career extra-base hits, one short of tying Pete Rose for 20th place on the career list.
Griffey singled in a run in the third and scored on Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run double to give Cincinnati a 4-2 lead.
Smoltz, who’s won his last five decisions, yielded four runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out seven and walked three.
Smoltz is 19-12 in 44 career games, including 37 starts, against the Reds. … Reds SS Royce Clayton played in his 2,000th game. … Cincinnati’s pitching staff issued four walks to remain No. 1 in the NL in fewest walks allowed with 310.