ATLANTA – Brandon Phillips’ two-run single off rookie Jose Ascanio in the 15th inning gave the Cincinnati Reds a 5-4 victory over the Braves and their first three-game sweep in Atlanta since April 1990.
Phillips’ hit drove in Norris Hopper and Ken Griffey Jr. and helped the Reds improve to 8-3 in their last 11 games. Hopper reached on second baseman Kelly Johnson’s error to lead off the inning and Griffey singled to right with one out.
Ascanio (0-1), the seventh Atlanta pitcher, gave up two hits and two unearned runs in two innings. The Braves have lost three straight.
Jeff Francoeur singled in Andruw Jones to cut it to 5-4 in the bottom half of the 15th. Atlanta went on to put runners on first and second with two outs but Michael Gosling (1-0) struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Davies, a starting pitcher, to end the game.
Cincinnati employed an unusual defense in the 10th to extend the game.
With Chipper Jones standing on third with one out and Francoeur about to hit, Reds interim manager Pete Mackanin moved center fielder Ryan Freel in front of the bag at second, and the strategy paid off.
Second baseman Phillips made a leaping catch of Francoeur’s liner before throwing to third baseman Jeff Keppinger to force out Jones, who had moved down the line to score the winning run. Jones’ RBI double earlier in the inning off David Weathers tied it at 3.
Scott Hatteberg gave the Reds a 3-2 lead with an RBI single off Tyler Yates in the 10th.
Rafael Soriano, who relieved Braves starter John Smoltz to begin the eighth, wasted a strong start by the ace. Atlanta activated Smoltz from the 15-day disabled list before the game after he missed one turn in the rotation with right shoulder inflammation.
The Braves were leading 1-0 when Smoltz left for a pinch hitter but Adam Dunn hit a two-run drive off Soriano for his 26th homer.
Smoltz struck out a season-high 11, allowing just five hits and two walks in seven innings. The right-hander now has 41 career games with 10 or more strikeouts. His previous double-digit game was Aug. 21, when he had 10 in a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh.
Aaron Harang allowed two runs and 10 hits in 7 2-3 innings for Cincinnati. He struck out eight and walked two. The last batter he faced, Francoeur, made it 2-2 with a sacrifice fly to score Andruw Jones.
Notes: Griffey became the 84th player in history with 2,500 hits when he singled in the first. … Freel changed gloves to play infield in the 10th.