(SportsNetwork.com) - Despite a 2-1 mark to start the season, Reds pitcher Jason Marquis has struggled immensely over the first three innings of his starts.
The veteran right-hander tries to overcome that problem Saturday night when he faces the Atlanta Braves in the third test of a four-game series at Turner Field.
Marquis has given up 17 hits and 12 runs over the first three innings for a 9.00 ERA in his four starts this season. Thankfully, he has emerged victorious over his last two games, both against the Brewers. The right-hander, who broke into the majors in 2000 as a member of the Braves, is 4-5 with a 6.95 ERA in 10 games against Atlanta.
Veteran lefty Eric Stults, who counters on the mound, is coming off a win against Washington Monday. He allowed two runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings, walked three and struck out three.
Stults is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in five games (2 starts) versus the Reds.
On Friday, Mike Foltynewicz tossed five innings in his season debut, but it was his two-run double that highlighted Atlanta's 4-3 win.
Foltynewicz (1-0), who was making his first major-league start, gave up three runs -- two earned -- in five innings. He also broke up his counterpart Anthony DeSclafani's shutout bid with a two-out double to the wall in left- center in the fourth inning.
Cincinnati plated two more runs an inning later when a walk to Freddie Freeman led to Kelly Johnson's two-run homer. That made it 4-3, and four relief pitchers held the lead from there.
"I want to continue to help and do everything I can," said Johnson. "Folty pitched great. He got the spark going, to be honest.
Cody Martin struck out two in 1 2/3 innings in relief of Foltynewicz. Luis Avilan recorded the final out in the seventh, Jim Johnson tossed a clean eighth and Jason Grilli pitched around a one-out single by Brayan Pena to record his eighth save.
DeSclafani (2-2) entered the game with a 1.04 ERA after allowing just three earned run in four starts. He gave up four runs on four hits and five walks in this one to absorb his second straight loss.
"He didn't pitch a bad ballgame," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "He competed well. He went after them."
The Reds went 2-5 against the Braves last season, losing the first five meetings between the ball clubs.