The Sports Xchange

By Mark Schmetzer, The Sports Xchange

Cincinnati 1, Braves 0

CINCINNATI -- Brandon Phillips drove in his first run in six games since returning from the disabled list and the Cincinnati Reds avoided their longest losing streak in more than five years by scratching out a 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

Cincinnati starting pitcher Mike Leake doubled on Ervin Santana's first pitch of the sixth inning and scored from third base on Phillips' two-out single, helping the Reds end a seven-game losing streak, their longest since dropping eight straight in 2009.

A sellout crowd of 41,502, which pushed Cincinnati's season attendance past 2 million, watched the Reds earn their first win over Atlanta in six games.

Leake (10-11) pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up two hits and three walks and six strikeouts. He left with the bases loaded, but Jumbo Diaz got Tommy La Stella to ground sharply to shortstop Zach Cozart, who turned it into a threat-ending force out.

Jonathan Broxton pitched the eighth and Aroldis Chapman the ninth for his 27th save and third of the month. Chapman struck out Justin Upton swinging with a 91 mph slider for the second out to end Upton's hitting streak at 13 games.

Santana (13-7), 6-0 in seven starts since the All-Star break, allowed four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in seven innings.

The game started after a one-hour, 56-minute rain delay, the 15th delay of the season at Great American Ball Park, totaling 17 hours and 21 minutes.

The delay had no impact on the starting pitchers. Leake, who had lost his last two decisions and hadn't won in three starts since Aug. 3, gave up a hit to Atlanta leadoff batter Emilio Bonifacio. Bonifacio was caught stealing and Leake faced the minimum nine batters through three innings.

Leake retired 10 straight batters before walking Freddie Freeman with two outs in the fourth inning. Phillips caught Justin Upton's popup while avoiding charging right fielder Chris Heisey in short right field to end the inning.

Leake struck out the side in the fifth inning.

Santana was almost as effective, facing just two batters above the minimum through five innings. He retired the first six Cincinnati batters, five on groundouts and three of which he was involved in, before Jack Hannahan lined softly to left field leading off the third inning.

Santana also hit Phillips on the right hand with one out in the fourth inning. Phillips was playing in his sixth game since missing five weeks after surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.

NOTES: Atlanta RF Jason Heyward didn't start Saturday in part because he needed a rest and in part because he is 0-for-10 in his career against Reds RHP Mike Leake. "You want to have the best matchups," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, adding that another regular would get Sunday off. ... Cincinnati RF Jay Bruce and C Devin Mesoraco also didn't start. Mesoraco is mired in a 1-for-29 slump and Bruce was 0-for-9 in the first two games of the homestand. ... Reds manager Bryan Price is impressed with the resilience of Braves RHP Aaron Harang, their Sunday starter. Harang was 6-7 in his last season with Cincinnati, where Price was the pitching coach. "When I was with him in the year I was here, it was harder for him to get the ball down," Price said. "He was making elevation mistakes. Since he's left, he probably found himself a good pitching coach and was able to get the ball down again." ... Saturday's sellout was the Reds' seventh of the season. They were 2-4 in the previous six.

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