Teixeira homers twice, McCann hits grand slam to help Atlanta beat Cincinnati 14-4
CINCINNATI (AP)—A 24-hour virus made Mark Teixeira sick to his stomach. Those pitchers he homered off felt even worse.
A sapped Teixeira hit a pair of homers for the second consecutive game Monday night, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 14-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds that showed what the power hitter can do on a nearly empty stomach.
“He said he wasn’t feeling good today,” said Tim Hudson (15-5), who kept his two-month unbeaten streak going. “You couldn’t tell from his at-bats. He was a one-man wrecking crew.”
Not quite. He had a lot of help in doing the damage.
With Atlanta’s offense fully revved, Hudson improved to 9-0 in his last 11 starts and became the first NL pitcher to reach the 15-win mark. The right-hander wasn’t quite up to form—his delivery was a bit out of whack—but the offensive splurge eased his way.
“For four or five innings, that was as bad as I’ve felt all year,” said Hudson, who gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings.
The Braves lead the NL in batting on the road, and made themselves cozy at one of the majors’ most hitter-friendly ballparks. McCann set the tone with his third career grand slam off left-hander Phil Dumatrait (0-2), a 26-year-old rookie who was hit hard for the second consecutive start.
Dumatrait may not be in the rotation much longer.
“He’s not pitching well,” interim manager Pete Mackanin said. “The stuff’s there, but when you fall behind every hitter, you can’t get away with that at this level. We haven’t been beaten like that in a while, where somebody just comes in and crushes you.”
Teixeira did most of the crushing.
He had a three-run homer in the second inning off Dumatrait, and added another three-run shot off left-hander Mike Gosling in the fourth. His cheeks puffed and he emphatically exhaled while connecting on that homer, which flew an estimated 430 feet.
He sure didn’t look sick and weak.
“You know you can’t do what you normally do because your body is slow, so you’re more focused,” said Teixeira, who threw up on the team flight to Cincinnati. “You’re going to have nights like this.”
The Braves made a bold move on July 31, getting the power-hitting first baseman from Texas in a seven-player deal. That move has worked: Teixeira has nine homers and 25 RBIs in 18 games for the Braves.
“You would think that not knowing any of the pitchers (in the NL), there would be an adjustment,” manager Bobby Cox said. “But he’s locked in at the plate.”
The move hasn’t worked out so well in the standings. The Braves are still looking for a turning-point week to get them out of their rut.
Atlanta was two games out of first place in the NL East at the All-Star break, but has gone only 19-17 since then. The victory Monday left them five games behind the idle Mets.
The Reds brought a little momentum into the series, coming off their first winning road trip since June of last season—yes, it’s been that bad. The good feelings were gone after one inning.
Dumatrait retired only six batters for the second consecutive start. In his last two starts, Dumatrait has given up 13 runs in four innings.
“I made a couple of pitches that weren’t too bad, but I wasn’t fooling anybody,” Dumatrait said.
Everyone in Atlanta’s starting lineup except Hudson had at least one hit. Teixeira added a double, Matt Diaz had three hits, Jeff Francoeur had his team-high 44th multihit game and Jones hit his 23rd homer off Eddie Guardado.
The 14 runs matched Atlanta’s season high. … Teixeira has 18 career multihomer games. The six RBIs were one shy of his career high. … Francoeur has 51 hits since the All-Star break. … Hudson’s hitting streak was stopped at five games. … LHP Chuck James will miss his scheduled start for the Braves on Tuesday because of tightness in the back of his left shoulder. LHP Jo-Jo Reyes will take his place. … Reds C Javier Valentin extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. … The Reds traded OF Jeff Conine to the Mets for two minor leaguers before the game. They called up INF/OF Jorge Cantu to take Conine’s roster spot. Cantu pinch-hit and singled in the eighth.