Originally created 07/08/06

Second inning dooms Braves



ATLANTA - Unseasonably cool temperatures, topped off with a soft, soothing breeze, made for a beautiful night for baseball Friday in Atlanta.

But it didn't make for beautiful baseball. At least not so far as the home team was concerned.

Before a bulk of the 32,315 fans at Turner Field had even settled in their seats, Horacio Ramirez, steady the past month but not Friday against the Reds, had already wrecked their evening plans.

The left-hander gave up seven runs and recorded just three outs, and Atlanta fell into a 9-0 hole that was far too deep to crawl out of in a 10-5 Cincinnati victory.

The Reds' eight-run second was the worst pitched inning by the Braves in 2006. In the second, Ramirez allowed six runs by himself, tying the previous season highs set April 6 at San Francisco and May 20 at Arizona.

"It was shocking, very shocking," said Chipper Jones, who hit a two-run homer but said too much damage had already been done. "He's pitched so well lately. That came out of nowhere."

Ramirez was 2-0 with four earned runs allowed in his previous three starts since June 11. Ramirez gave up seven hits and saw his respectable 3.47 ERA shoot up to 4.65. He faced six Reds in the second inning and failed to record a single out.

Manager Bobby Cox said Ramirez's tightening right hamstring caused him to leave his pitches up. Ramirez said his leg was bothering his delivery somewhat, but said it was no excuse for his performance.

Ken Griffey Jr. was the only Red who didn't get a hit in a 10-hit second inning.

Rich Aurilia's 11th home run of the year, a two-run shot off likewise ineffective Oscar Villarreal, made it 8-0. The Reds tacked on one more with Jason LaRue's infield hit to score Brandon Phillips.

The Reds' drumming also ended Atlanta's shot of going 8-2 on the homestand to fulfill John Smoltz's ultimatum of perceived postseason hope. Well, there's always 7-3. The Braves had won five of seven on the homestand before Ramirez's implosion.

Reach R. Travis Haney at travis.haney@morris.com.