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BASEBALL

Reds shoot for series win over visiting Braves

The Cincinnati Reds will try to win another home series against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday afternoon, though they may prefer closing it out with a touch less drama in the third game of the set at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds dropped Monday's opener and seemed on the verge of two straight losses Tuesday before Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo hit back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to yield a 5-4 victory.

With two outs and Craig Kimbrel (0-1) pitching, Mesoraco connected on a 3-2 pitch to tie the game. Choo followed with his second home run of the night.

The victory gave Cincy skipper Dusty Baker his 1,600th career win.

"That's exciting. That's why you play nine and play all the outs," said Baker. "You never really know. We beat one of the best closers in the game today."

Donald Lutz and Brandon Phillips each drove in one run for the Reds. Starter Homer Bailey had seven strikeouts but surrendered four runs on five hits and four walks over five innings.

Jonathan Broxton (1-1) pitched a perfect top of the ninth to earn the win.

Brian McCann drove in two runs while Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman had an RBI apiece for the Braves, who were looking to win their first series against the Reds on the road since April 24-26, 2009.

Braves starter Kris Medlen allowed two runs on four hits and two walks over seven innings to earn a no-decision.

"When you don't add on in this ballpark against that club that's pretty good and has got the history here at their ballpark, you don't add runs," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "We didn't score after the fifth. You got to get yourself in those situations."

Cincinnati has won eight of its last 10 head-to-head meetings with Atlanta, and seven of eight over the Braves at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds send Mike Leake to the mound for the finale in search of a third win over the Braves in his fourth career meeting.

He's allowed just three earned runs in 20 complete innings against Atlanta, allowing 15 hits while walking five and striking out 14.

Braves batters have managed a meager .208 average against him.

In 2013, Leake began with consecutive no-decisions but has since won two of three verdicts across four starts, including a 6-5 triumph over the Cubs in Chicago on May 3, when he allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings.

In 34 2/3 overall innings, he's been touched for 42 hits, 17 runs and a .304 composite batting average.

Atlanta replies with lefty Mike Minor, who faces the Reds for the second time in his 60th career start.

The 24-year-old dropped the first meeting after allowing four runs on five hits in six innings of work, and is 9-10 in 29 lifetime starts away from home.

He opened 2013 with three wins in four starts, but has since gone 0-1 in two more while allowing nine hits and nine runs in 13 2/3 innings against Detroit and Atlanta.

In his three victories - against the Chicago Cubs, Miami and Colorado - Minor gave up 15 hits and five runs in 19 1/3 innings.