Reds win home run derby
by Joe Kay
Associated Press Sports Writer
May 23, 2012 01:06 AM | 1035 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips (4) is congratulated by third base coach Mark Berry (41) after hitting a two-run home run off Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Brandon Beachy in the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, May 22, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips (4) is congratulated by third base coach Mark Berry (41) after hitting a two-run home run off Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Brandon Beachy in the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, May 22, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
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CINCINNATI — Maybe it’s just the ballpark.

Brandon Beachy gave up a career-high three homers _ two by Brandon Phillips _ as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3 on Tuesday night in another game of all-or-nothing.

The Braves couldn’t keep up in one of the majors’ most homer-friendly ballparks. The teams have combined for 10 in the first two games of their series, seven by Cincinnati. Nine of the 10 have been solo shots.

“It is pretty wild,” said Braves leadoff hitter Michael Bourn, who had his first career multihomer game with two solo shots. “They hit some, we hit some. Ten in two games is a lot, I don’t care what ballpark you’re in. You don’t expect that.”

It was stunning to see Beachy giving them up.

Rookie shortstop Zack Cozart also homered off Beachy (5-2), who is one of the majors’ best at keeping the ball in the park _ every park except Great American, that is. He hadn’t given up two homers in a game since his start there on July 24.

Took him only four innings to top it.

The right-hander had allowed only one homer in his first eight games this season, tied for fewest in the majors by a starter. Phillips hit a full-count pitch 422 feet to center field for a 2-0 lead in the first inning, setting the tone.

“I’m not going to make the ballpark an excuse for any of those three home runs,” said Beachy, who came in leading the majors with a 1.33 ERA. “None of the three pitches was where they were supposed to be. Other than those three pitches, I pitched the way I wanted to tonight.”

Cozart hit his second homer in two games, and Phillips led off the fourth inning with another homer for a 4-2 lead. It was Phillips’ ninth career multihomer game and the fifth by a Reds player this season.

Phillips had to change his stance to a more upright style after he pulled his left hamstring in the fourth game of the season. The leg has healed, and he went back to more of a crouch on Tuesday, getting instant results _ his first homer since April 24.

Also, he got a pointer from Braves third baseman Chipper Jones before the game.

“He said you’ve got good hands, use your hands,” Phillips said.

Mat Latos (3-2) gave up five hits, including the first of Michael Bourn’s two solo homers, in seven innings for his third straight win. Left-hander Aroldis Chapman fanned two in the ninth for his second save, hitting 100 mph three times in 18 pitches.

The Cuban pitched for the first time since his arrest early Monday morning for driving 93 mph on an interstate in suburban Columbus, Ohio. Police said he had a suspended license.

Chapman got a loud ovation when he left the bullpen. He hasn’t allowed an earned run this season, prompting the Reds to try him in as closer.

Caleb Lloyd, a college student who caught two home run balls in Cincinnati’s 4-1 win on Monday night, was an honorary captain for Tuesday’s game. He and coach Billy Hatcher took out the lineup card, giving Lloyd a chance to tell his story to the umpires.

And, no, he didn’t catch any of the five balls hit into the stands in the teams’ second straight night of home run derby.

Just like on Monday night, the Braves couldn’t hit enough homers to keep up.

Bourn homered on Latos’ sixth pitch, his first game-opening homer of the season and the third of his career. Bourn also homered off Logan Ondrusek in the eighth.

Jason Heyward had an RBI double in the fourth, the only run of the series that hasn’t come off a homer.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez found it ironic that his team is struggling to score in such a hitter-friendly park.

“Of all the places,” Gonzalez said. “It’s just one of those things. It’s baseball. You try to figure it out, you’re going to go crazy.”

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