Published April 25, 2014
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Braves have lost only one series this season and Ervin Santana posted the lone win in a three-game set versus the New York Mets from April 8-10.
Santana and the Braves will try to start a new series on the right foot when the Cincinnati Reds pay a visit to Turner Field Friday for the first of three straight games. Santana gets the nod and so far has been a blessing with a 2-0 mark in three outings to go along with a microscopic 0.86 earned run average.
The right-hander posted his second win of the season his last time out, a 7-5 win over the Mets at Citi Field on Saturday. Santana was reached for just a run for the second time in as many starts and lasted seven innings, striking out seven and walking two. Santana had 11 K's over six innings for a no- decision at Philadelphia on April 14.
This will be Santana's first appearance against Cincinnati. Santana was added in March to a depleted Atlanta rotation.
The Braves recently took two of three meetings with the Miami Marlins and recorded a 3-1 win Wednesday thanks to Evan Gattis' pinch-hit two-RBI double in the eighth inning. This was Gattis' second game-winning hit in the series, as he delivered a 10th-inning two-run homer in the series opener.
Ryan Doumit drove in the other run and Braves starting pitcher Aaron Harang turned in another gem with six innings of one-run ball and 11 strikeouts in the no-decision. Harang threw seven shutout innings the previous time out last Friday and has allowed just one run on three occasions this season.
"He's gotten an opportunity to pitch for a good team and a good organization," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He sure is getting the most of it."
David Carpenter picked up the win in relief and stud closer Craig Kimbrel struck out two in the ninth for his sixth save.
The Braves are 14-7 this season (6-3 at home) and have won nine of 12 games.
Cincinnati is on a roll of late and took the last three meetings of a four- game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. In Thursday's 2-1 win, Ryan Ludwick stroked a two-run double in the sixth inning to score Joey Votto and Todd Frazier and lift the Reds to victory.
Ludwick had two hits and starting pitcher Tony Cingrani got the win with seven strikeouts over six innings of one-run ball. Jonathan Broxton closed the door in the ninth for his fourth save.
"The pitching was outstanding today. Pitching wins championships. Those guys did an outstanding job. We keep getting pitching like that, we'll be back in this thing in a hurry," said Ludwick.
The Reds have won seven of their last nine games and are 5-2 on a 10-game road trip.
Reds starter Homer Bailey put three rough starts to begin the season behind him in his last outing and draws the start Friday. Bailey, who started 0-1 with an 8.16 earned run average, defeated the Chicago Cubs with six shutout innings of an 8-2 win on Sunday.
Bailey walked three and struck out eight batters, and lowered his ERA to 5.75.
The right-hander has made five career starts against Atlanta, going 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA.
Cincinnati went 3-4 against the Braves last season after winning five of six meetings in 2012.