Braves-Reds Preview

The Associated Press

The Cincinnati Reds are on the verge of their longest winning streak in a year thanks in part to some power at the plate.

Brandon Phillips looks to build on his impressive offensive showing as the Reds go for a fifth consecutive victory by getting another against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.

Cincinnati (23-19) hasn't won five in a row since May 13-17, 2011, and the club pulled within one game of that run after beating Atlanta 4-3 on Tuesday. The Reds took the opener of this four-game set a day earlier, winning 4-1.

They're hitting just .240 during the winning streak, but have 10 homers. Cincinnati has belted seven of them against the Braves (26-13) - more than half of its 13 hits.

The Reds sent three balls deep Tuesday, and Phillips was responsible for two while matching his season high with three RBIs. The second baseman's power surge doubled his home run total on the year.

Phillips has been bothered by a hamstring injury since the fourth game of the season, but is starting to put that behind him while also making an adjustment in his swing.

"That really helped me a lot," said Phillips, who is 6 for 16 with five RBIs in four games.

He has a .341 average while hitting three homers and plating nine runs in the past 10 meetings with Atlanta.

Rookie Zack Cozart has four hits in three games, including a solo homer in each of the last two.

Tommy Hanson (5-3, 3.31 ERA) will try to quiet Phillips, Cozart and the rest of the Reds as he tries to win a third consecutive start for the first time since a five-game run from June 1-July 4.

The right-hander's current run continued Friday when he allowed two runs in seven innings of a 5-3 win at Tampa Bay. That came five days after he yielded one run and struck out a season-high nine in a 7-4 victory at St. Louis.

"I feel real good," Hanson said. "I think the biggest thing right now is my fastball command. When it's there, I'm throwing really well and everything else kind of follows that."

Hanson has won four of his six starts on the road with a 2.57 ERA, but he's 0-2 with a 7.24 ERA in three starts versus the Reds since beating them as a rookie on June 18, 2009.

He could use some help from his offense, which has batted only .165 with four homers and eight runs in losing three of four.

The Braves may get a lift if Chipper Jones is able to return from a swollen left calf that has sidelined him for four games. The third baseman has a .365 average with 12 RBIs in his last 13 contests, and Atlanta is 21-7 this season when he's played.

Jones is 11 for 28 with two doubles and three homers off Reds scheduled starter Bronson Arroyo.

Arroyo (2-2, 3.46) gets the ball looking for just his second win in 13 home starts. The veteran right-hander is 1-6 with a 5.30 ERA over his last 12 appearances there, going 0-1 with a 4.84 ERA in four of them this year.

Arroyo returns to Great American Ball Park looking to rebound from Friday's 4-0 road defeat to the New York Yankees. He gave up just one run in the first seven innings before surrendering three in the eighth and getting pulled with two outs.

"A loss is a loss, so it isn't that pleasing regardless," Arroyo told the team's official website.

He's 2-0 with a 3.80 ERA in his past four starts against Atlanta.