CINCINNATI (AP)—The infield was wet and clumpy. The warning track was under water. Doing anything was a challenge after two downpours turned Great American Ball Park into a diamond-shaped fishing pond.
A bad night for baseball? Not for the Cincinnati Reds.
Laynce Nix(notes) drove in three runs Tuesday night, and Brandon Phillips(notes) had three hits on a soggy field, helping the Reds overcome a pair of rain delays and nasty conditions for a 7-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves that ended their four-game losing streak.
“We broke out at the right time, too—late in the ballgame,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We needed that badly.”
Nix drove in runs with a groundout and a pair of doubles, the last one during a four-run eighth inning that broke it open.
“It was bad,” said Nix, who had three hits. “The field was wet, and there were puddles on the warning track. But you have to block it out. The biggest battle is cooling down and warming up so many times.”
Left-hander Daniel Ray Herrera(notes) (1-2) got his first major league victory, pitching three scoreless innings after a 1-hour, 54-minute delay forced starter Aaron Harang(notes) out of the game in the third inning.
Braves starter Jair Jurrjens(notes) (5-5) went only two innings before the rain ended his performance, too. It was the latest in a series of disappointments for the right-hander, who has lost all three of his June starts despite giving up a total of seven runs.
“Baseball is about luck,” Jurrjens said. “You can pitch good and not get the win. You can pitch bad and not get the loss. Right now, I’m not having luck on my side.”
Atlanta has lost five of its last six games, a reflection of its dormant offense. The Braves had 12 hits but stranded five runners in scoring position. They loaded the bases with one out in the sixth and failed to score.
“We had 12 hits. You’re supposed to win,” manager Bobby Cox said. “When you get 12 hits, you need to win the ballgame. That’s a lot of hits.”
A pair of long hitless streaks ended the first inning, before rain brought everything to a halt and turned the game into a slog.
Atlanta’s Chipper Jones(notes) singled, snapping an 0-for-21 slump that was the second-longest of his career. Jones, who was the major leagues’ batting champion with a .364 average last season, ended up with three hits.
Willy Taveras(notes) snapped his 0-for-32 slump in the bottom of the inning with a single to center. It was the longest drought by a Reds position player since Denis Menke went 33 at-bats without a hit in 1973.
Heavy rain resulted in the 1-hour, 54-minute delay in the top of the third inning. A member of the grounds crew lost her footing as she helped drag the tarp over the infield, leaving her trapped briefly. She got to her feet and found her way out unharmed, receiving an ovation from the 19,127 wet fans.
Crew chief Joe West herded the teams back onto the field with a steady rain falling and sections of the warning track submerged. Only two outs later, the rain turned back into a downpour, resulting in another delay of 21 minutes.
“It was raining, it was muddy,” Cox said. “You can’t do too much out there.”
The Braves activated 1B Casey Kotchman(notes) off the 15-day DL and optioned 1B Barbaro Canizares(notes) to Triple-A Gwinnett. … Jones went 23 at-bats without a hit in 2000. … Reds 1B Joey Votto(notes) took batting practice. Votto has been on the DL since May 30 with stress-related problems, linked to an inner-ear infection that caused major dizzy spells. Baker said Votto would start a minor league rehab stint “sometime relatively soon.” … Baker said that contrary to media reports, he hasn’t fined Phillips for missing a “take” sign and swinging at a 3-0 pitch over the weekend. “I don’t know if I will (fine Phillips),” Baker said. “We’ll see.”
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