ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves faced an uphill battle on Tuesday night, matching up against Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds in the back end of an unusual two-game series. After letting game one slip away, it didn’t look good for the Braves as they were scheduled to face the tough righty in Cueto.
Cueto had not been scored upon in his previous 12 innings pitched and had allowed just one run in his last 24 innings; the Braves’ bats however, turned out to be Cueto’s kryptonite. The Braves won 6-2 handing Cueto his first loss of the season.
Catcher Brian McCann gave the Braves an early 1-0 lead by hitting a solo shot to right field in the bottom of the 2nd and finally breaking Cueto’s dominating streak. The flood gates opened in the third. After RBI singles by Martin Prado and Chipper Jones followed by a sacrifice fly by Dan Uggla, Jason Heyward’s RBI double to center field broke the game open, cushioning the Atlanta lead to 5-0.
Cueto gave up five earned runs on eight hits in only four innings of work. Despite the tough outing, Cueto still left the game with an ERA under 2.00 on the season.
The Braves countered Cueto with Tim Hudson who put up zeros for the first six innings. Hudson stumbled in the seventh allowing two runs, the only runs for the Reds all game. The grizzly veteran scattered 9 hits in seven innings of work, striking out three. Tuesday night might have been the best Hudson has looked since coming off the disabled list.
Michael Bourn continued his hot hitting with three singles and two runs scored. Bourn leads the league in hits and has 17 multi-hit games in the early stages of the 2012 season. Prado jumped up his average to .301 with a three-hit performance while peppering the ball to all sides of the field.
For the Reds, Jay Bruce and Ryan Hanigan each contributed with doubles, and Chris Heisey continued his tear against the Braves going 3-for-4. Heisey was finally retired in the sixth.
Freddie Freeman didn’t play because of blurred vision in his eye. The Braves don’t think it is too serious, but want to be cautious before placing him back in the lineup. Freeman might be able to make it back for the upcoming series with the Marlins. Eric Hinske filled in for Freeman at first, and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk.
Atlanta will get their first look at the revamped Miami Marlins on Wednesday for another two-game series. Then interleague play starts on Friday, as the Braves travel to St. Petersburg to face the young and exciting Tampa Bay Rays.
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