Finally! Reds beat Braves

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 1999

The Associated Press

The Reds piled up three homers and a dozen hits in all Monday night as they beat Atlanta 11-3, ending the Braves’ 10-game winning streak with surprising ease.

Tuesday, August 31, 1999

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The Reds piled up three homers and a dozen hits in all Monday night as they beat Atlanta 11-3, ending the Braves’ 10-game winning streak with surprising ease.

For the first time in seven games this season, the Reds beat a team that’s been a huge psychological hurdle since 1995. The Braves swept them in the NL championship series that year, starting a trend.

The two teams have played 27 times in the last three seasons, and the Braves have won all but five times. In that context, one win seems rather insignificant.

”We’re not going to run around and do handstands because we beat the Braves,” manager Jack McKeon said.

Another win over the Braves might get a different response.

”This was kind of game we like to see,” said Denny Neagle (4-5), who beat his former team for the first time in three starts this season. ”We moved runners over, made key catches and got the big hits. Now you want to come out and do it again tomorrow.”

The Braves and Reds opened their series Monday headed in different directions. The Braves had won 10 in a row – their longest streak in seven years – and opened a 3 1/2-game lead over New York in the NL East.

The Reds were coming off a 2-5 road trip that left them 1 1/2 games behind Houston in the NL Central.

While the Reds were drubbing the Braves, the Mets pounded the Astros 17-1, tightening both division races by a game.

”Last week was a struggle,” McKeon said. ”All of the clubs – Houston, New York, Atlanta – have had bad weeks. Last week was our turn.”

The Braves put together their winning streak as their pitchers took turns shutting down opponents. Atlanta batted .235 during the 10-game span, but the pitching staff allowed only 25 earned runs to keep the streak building.

”I certainly didn’t want to be standing here as the guy who the streak ended against, but that’s the way it goes,” said Tom Glavine (11-10), who lost for the first time since July 20.

Glavine’s fastball was snaking everywhere but in the strike zone, causing him to fall behind one batter after another. He gave up two-run homers to Jeffrey Hammonds and Sean Casey and needed 99 pitches to get through four innings.

”I don’t feel I pitched as badly as the boxscore indicates,” Glavine said. ”That’s part of the frustrating part about it. Sometimes it’s easier to say, ‘I didn’t have anything, I stunk and we lost.”’

Jason LaRue added a two-run homer off Bruce Chen in the fifth and Aaron Boone hit a two-run double in the eighth as the Reds pulled away. LaRue finished with a career-high three hits and three RBIs.

Neagle gave up five hits over seven innings, including Walt Weiss’ first homer since May 15 and Andruw Jones’ two-run shot that cut it to 4-3 in the fourth and got the Reds concerned. They’d blown leads of four and five runs while losing their last two games in Montreal.

”This was shaping up a lot like the last couple of games I’ve had where we got the lead and gave it back,” Neagle said.

Instead, the Reds managed to hold on and put a dent in that long run of futility against Atlanta.

”I don’t know if it’s a hex,” said Braves second baseman Bret Boone, who has seen it from both sides. ”Sometimes teams have success against other teams for no apparent reason. You can’t explain it.”

Notes: The longest winning streak in the majors this season is 14 games by San Diego. Texas has twice won nine games for the longest streak in the AL. … Jones improved to 7-for-11 career off Neagle with four homers. … Brian Jordan was back in the Braves’ lineup for the first time in four games, going 3-for-4. He had a cortisone shot for a sore hand last Wednesday. … After a 12-inning win Sunday night in St. Louis, the Braves arrived in Cincinnati at 3:30 a.m.. … The Reds had not scored more than four runs in any of their six previous losses to Atlanta. … Brett Tomko was temporarily moved into the bullpen Monday. Steve Parris will come off the DL and start in Tomko’s place Friday in Philadelphia.