CINCINNATI (AP) – Alfredo Simon pitched seven strong innings to earn his first win in eight starts since the All-Star break and Todd Frazier homered as the Cincinnati Reds held on for a 5-3 win over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.
Simon (13-8), who was 0-5 since pitching in the All-Star Game, opened with six shutout innings before yielding a run in the seventh. He allowed five hits with one walk and six strikeouts over seven innings.
Manny Parra and Jumbo Diaz pitched the eighth. Logan Ondrusek allowed Evan Gattis’s 20th homer leading off the ninth and Jonathan Broxton gave up Jason Heyward’s RBI single before coaxing Justin Upton into grounding into a base-loaded forceout for his seventh save for the Reds, who salvaged a split of the four-game series after dropping the first two games.
The Reds have won back-to-back games for the first time since winning three straight against Cleveland August 5-7. The Braves hadn’t lost two straight games since August 11-12 against the Dodgers.
The Reds strung together five hits — as many as they totalled in their 1-0 win on Saturday — and scored three runs — one more than their combined total in their previous three games — to break up a scoreless tie in the fourth. After Ryan Ludwick came up with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly, Brayan Pena and Zack Cozart added RBI singles while sending Aaron Harang to his first loss in four career starts against his former team.
Harang (10-8), who’s lost two his last three starts, left with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. He allowed eight hits and four runs with two walks and five strikeouts.
Cozart cashed in on that opportunity, beating out a potential double-play ball to allow Jay Bruce to score from third for a 4-0 lead.
The Braves avoided a shutout on back-to-back one-out doubles by Gattis and Tommy La Stella in the seventh, but Frazier got that back with a 419-foot solo homer off of David Hale in the bottom of the inning — Frazier’s 22nd of the season.
Braves: After Atlanta’s day off on Monday, LHP Alex Wood makes his second start of the season against the Mets in the opener of a three-game series at New York.
Reds: After Cincinnati’s day off on Monday, RHP Johnny Cueto starts against the Cubs on Tuesday trying to get back on track after seeing a personal seven-game winning streak snapped at St. Louis on Wednesday.
Braves: SS Andrelton Simmons didn’t start on Sunday as manager Fredi Gonzalez kept his promise to give a regular the day off, which will mean two days of rest for Simmons with Monday’s break in the schedule.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey, on the disabled list since August 16 with a strained right forearm, has increased his exercise program, but he has not resumed throwing, manager Bryan Price said. “There’s been improvement from where he was,” Price said.