It took some time, but the Cincinnati Reds are finally enjoying some consistent success.
The Reds look to extend their season-high winning streak to six and complete a four-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night at Great American Ball Park.
Todd Frazier hit a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday to give Cincinnati (24-19) a 2-1 victory over Atlanta and put his team a season-high five games over .500. The Reds, who are one-half game behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central, last won six in a row as part of a seven-game run Aug. 13-20, 2010.
“Right now, we’re rolling,” starter Bronson Arroyo said. “But it’s a roller coaster, you know.”
Cincinnati last swept the Braves from Sept. 4-6, 2009, but have not done so in a four-game set since 1980. The Reds have won five straight and seven of eight at home over Atlanta (26-19), which hopes to avoid matching a season-high four-game skid.
“Tough loss,” said Braves starter Tommy Hanson, who gave up four hits in six innings. “But there’s only so much you can do.”
Arroyo threw 6 1-3 solid innings while Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect ninth. The left-handed reliever has not allowed an earned run in 24 1-3 innings this season while striking out 43.
The Reds turn to Homer Bailey (2-3, 4.34 ERA), who looks for a third straight solid start in the finale. After giving up a season-high six runs in a season-low 3 2-3 innings of an 8-3 loss at Milwaukee on May 8, the right-hander has yielded four in 13 innings while going 1-0 in his last two starts. He gave up three of those runs on two homers and struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-5 win at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.
Bailey has looked strong while going 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in two starts against the Braves. He allowed a run in 6 2-3 innings while not factoring in a 3-1 win at Atlanta on May 14.
Scheduled Braves starter Randall Delgado (2-4, 4.26) gave up a run and four hits in 6 2-3 innings while not earning a decision in that loss to Bailey and the Reds.
The right-hander, however, served up a Matt Joyce grand slam and a season-high five walks in four innings of a 5-2 loss at Tampa Bay on Saturday.
“It was a learning start for him,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Just fell behind hitters. When you’re dealing with a young kid, there’s going to be times like this.”
Dan Uggla homered Wednesday for one of Atlanta’s four hits. It’s the third hit in the last 22 at-bats for the veteran second baseman.
While Chipper Jones could be back in the lineup after being limited to a pinch-hitting appearance Wednesday, it’s uncertain if All-Star catcher Brian McCann will miss a third consecutive game due to illness.
“(We’re) trying to get (McCann) ready to play,” Gonzalez told the Braves’ official website.
Jones and McCann are a combined 1 for 7 against Bailey.