CINCINNATI (AP) — Anthony DeSclafani is giving the Reds what they’ve missed most of the season.
The right-hander remained unbeaten since his return from a spring training injury, and Cincinnati got a pair of two-run homers by Tucker Barnhart and Joey Votto in a 6-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday. With that, the Reds won the season series between the NL’s worst teams.
DeSclafani (5-0) was scheduled to start on opening day until he strained an oblique, an injury that sidelined him for most of the first half.
“It’s no fun being on the shelf,” said DeSclafani, who has made eight starts. “I’m just trying to give the team a spark and eat as many innings as I can. I want to keep the bullpen out of it as much as possible.”
He gave up eight hits, including Freddie Freeman’s homer, in eight innings. DeSclafani is 5-0 in his last six starts with a 2.61 ERA.
“It’s not just the wins, but it’s the quality of his wins,” manager Bryan Price said. “He’s not a white-knuckle guy, and that’s a calming influence on a staff. Starts like that allow us to string together some series wins, and we haven’t had too many of those this year.”
Adonis Garcia led off the ninth with a homer off Ross Ohlendorf, the 68th homer allowed by Cincinnati’s bullpen — by far the most in the majors.
Barnhart’s homer completed a four-run rally in the sixth off Lucas Harrell (1-2). It was the first homer allowed this season by Harrell, who doesn’t mind pitching in hitter-friendly ballparks.
“Actually I think it works in my favor,” Harrell said. “You get guys knowing the ball flies, and they’re trying to hit homers. You don’t have to be perfect. The home run was just a mistake.”
Votto extended his post-All Star break surge with his 16th homer off Ian Krol in the seventh. Votto is 11 for 20 in the last six games with two homers, a double and six walks.
Cincinnati won four of seven this season against the Braves, who have the league’s worst record at 33-62. Cincinnati is 36-59.
Atlanta was trying to win back-to-back road series for the first time this season but couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead. They Braves are 19-26 on the road overall.
Jose Peraza’s two-run single tied it in the sixth, and Barnhart followed with his fourth homer.
Freeman emerged from a slump with his first-inning homer, his 17th this season. Freeman was 1 for 19 heading into the game. Erick Aybar doubled in the fifth — he’s in a 5-for-36 slump — and scored on Chase d’Arnaud’s single for a 2-0 lead.
Garcia hit safely in all seven games against Cincinnati this season, batting .406 with three homers and four RBIs. … Freeman has fanned in 11 of his last 16 at-bats. … DeSclafani hasn’t walked a batter in his last 21 innings. He’s 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts at GABP. … Reds relievers have given up 19 homers to the first batter they faced. … Brandon Phillips singled in his final at-bat, extending his hitting streak to nine games (12 for 34). It’s the longest active streak on the club.
Eugenio Suarez was ruled safe as he slid into home on Peraza’s two-run single in the sixth. The Braves thought that catcher A.J. Pierzynski tagged him before he got his hand on the plate, but the call was upheld after a review.
As part of Major League Baseball’s throwback day, the Braves wore 1969 replica uniforms. To honor Ken Griffey Jr.’s induction into baseball’s Hall of Fame, the Reds wore uniforms from the early 2000s, when he played for his hometown team.
Reds: LF Adam Duvall got a day of rest. He was hit by a pitch on the left arm Tuesday night but stayed in the game. … RH Homer Bailey pitched 5 1/3 innings of a rehab start for Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday afternoon in Columbus, giving up five runs. He threw 83 pitches, 53 strikes. Bailey had Tommy John surgery last year.
Braves: The Braves continue their trip with a four-game series in Colorado. Mike Foltynewicz (3-3) is 0-1 career against the Rockies in two starts and two relief appearances.
Reds: After a day off, Dan Straily (4-6) opens a three-game series against the Diamondbacks at Great American Ball Park. He’s never faced Arizona.