Originally created 05/28/03

Atlanta escapes with win



ATLANTA - After averaging 8.4 runs in Shane Reynolds' first eight starts, Atlanta manager Bobby Cox wondered what happened to all the offense during Tuesday night's game against Cincinnati.

Not that he had anything to complain about, especially after Chipper Jones' home run off Chris Reitsma (3-2) leading off the bottom of the 10th gave the Braves a 3-2 win before a Turner Field crowd of 23,041 spectators.

"We've been used to scoring a lot of runs when Shane pitches. It didn't work out that way (Tuesday), but we'll take it," Cox said. "We always seem to play well when Shane pitches."

Cox is correct. Atlanta is now 8-1 in Reynolds' nine starts this year.

Jones' eighth homer made a winner of Trey Hodges (2-0) who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 10th by getting Sean Casey to ground out to second for the third out.

The win enabled the Braves (35-17) to push their lead in the East Division to 2 1/2 games over Montreal whose game against Florida was rained out.

After taking a curve for ball one, the Braves left-fielder jumped on a Reitsma change-up and sent it into the right-field stands for the game-winning home run.

"I thought he (Reitsma) would throw that pitch in that situation, and he did," Jones said. "That's his best pitch and he likes to throw it to the big guys, especially on 1-0 counts. (Tonight) I was able to take advantage of that."

Although he did not receive the support to which he has become accustomed, Reynolds was pleased with what he saw.

"That's just one of the reasons why I think this is a special team," Reynolds said. "Especially with the way I've been pitching of late."

The former Houston Astros pitcher allowed 16 runs in his previous 16 innings, but thanks to the offense, Reynolds remains 4-2 despite an earned run average of 4.83.

Reynolds allowed four hits through six innings, but thanks to five walks, the Reds had base runners the first four innings, including the first when Cincinnati loaded the bases with nobody out and only scored once. He escaped the jam when he got Aaron Boone on a pop to short before Casey grounded into a double play.

"My ball was jumping all over the place there in the first, but I didn't give in, and that was the key," said Reynolds, who was reminded of that during a brief visit to the mound by pitching coach Leo Mazzone. "I just had to keep throwing my game. I couldn't put one down the middle, or it could have been 3-0 or 4-0 real quick."

Cincinnati (25-27) let a similar opportunity escape in the fourth when a one-out walk and singles by Austin Kearns and Boone only produced one run.

"When you've got opportunities like we had you've got to take advantage of them," Cincinnati manager Bob Boone said. "You're always afraid things like that will come back to haunt you."

Still, Reds starter Jimmy Haynes was grateful for the support.

Making his first start since going on the disabled list April 17 with a bulging disc in his back, the LaGrange, Ga. native set the Braves down in order in the first before Vinny Castilla's ninth homer in the bottom of the third brought Atlanta within 2-1.

After stranding Felipe Lopez at third in the fourth, Reynolds made good use of his first hit in 21 at-bats when he drove home Robert Fick for the tying run in the inning's bottom half.

Atlanta might have scored more, but on Rafael Furcal's infield hit, Castilla became confused and stopped between third and home while the play was taking place. After a brief rundown, Castilla tagged for the final out.

Leading off the fifth, Marcus Giles was hit just above the left elbow by Haynes. Giles was able to take first base but could not take the field to start the sixth. He was replaced by Mark DeRosa.

Giles was taken for X-rays but no bones were broken and he's listed as day-to-day.

The sixth inning was also the last for Reynolds, who retired the last six batters he faced before Ray King, Darren Holmes and John Smoltz, who pitched the ninth with the game tied for the second straight night.

But unlike Monday's game, when Adam Dunn's grand slam in the 11th beat the Braves 7-6, Atlanta was able to return the favor Tuesday with Jones' blast in the 10th.

"The home run was big for the simple fact it let us come back from a tough loss," Jones said. "Losing games like that are never much fun. This was more like it."