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Clayton, Encarnacion help Reds snap skid, beat Braves

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Reds manager Jerry Narron asked his players to
show more passion and Eddie Guardado happily obliged.

Royce Clayton hit his second homer in three games and Guardado
worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to preserve
Cincinnati's 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night,
snapping a five-game losing streak.

Narron held a pregame meeting and asked his players to mix in
some emotion, and the usually fiery Guardado was plenty
demonstrative in the ninth. Atlanta loaded the bases with no outs
before Brian McCann flied out to short left field and Jeff
Francoeur grounded into a game-ending double play.

Guardado stomped off the mound and pumped his fist after getting
his seventh save in seven opportunities since being traded from
Seattle on July 6.

"I was facing the top of the lineup, and it's a good lineup,"
said Guardado, who made his first appearance in seven days. "I got
behind both of the first two hitters. I was trying to get the ball
down, and I did to the last two batters."

Edwin Encarnacion added a tiebreaking two-run double for the
Reds, who looked listless for much of the game against Atlanta
starter Chuck James.

"We had a little wakeup call," said Clayton, who was acquired
from Washington as part of an eight-player trade on July 13.
"(Narron) talked in the meeting about having to play with a little
passion and emotion. We're going to be tough to beat if we play
with passion. It was a great call by Jerry to address some things.
We kind of got the emotion back. We needed that."

The Reds, who were held hitless by Greg Maddux for six innings
in a 3-0 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday night, didn't get a hit
off James until the sixth inning. Clayton followed Ryan Freel's
one-out walk with a two-run drive to left-center on a full count
for his second homer of the season, tying it at 2.

"I told myself to be more patient," Clayton said. "If I work
the count, he'll have to come back and give me a pitch. He got that
one up. I wanted to make him make quality pitches."

Ken Griffey Jr. then walked and Rich Aurilia doubled, chasing
James from the game. Encarnacion greeted Chad Paronto with his
two-run double to put the Reds in front 4-2.

Clayton's homer snapped the Reds' streak of 15 1/3 scoreless
innings dating to Clayton's solo home run leading off the eighth
inning in a 5-3 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday. That was
Clayton's first homer since June 17, 2005, for Arizona at
Cleveland.

"I'm used to those being doubles in Washington," Clayton said.

James (4-3), making his seventh major league start, allowed four
runs and two hits. He struck out three and walked three for the
Braves, who've lost six of their last eight games. The loss was his
third in his last three starts after four consecutive wins.

"I've been struggling hitting my spots lately, but I had the
good fastball tonight that I hadn't had in a while," James said.

Aaron Harang (12-7) lasted six innings to improve to 3-1 in his
last five starts. Harang allowed two runs and five hits, struck out
two and walked three.

McCann hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Francoeur hit a
solo homer in the eighth for Atlanta. It was Francoeur's 21st of
the year.

Game notes
Atlanta 2B Marcus Giles singled in the first inning to
extend his hitting streak to eight games (15-for-32, .469). ...
Reds LF Adam Dunn didn't start for just the second time in
Cincinnati's 109 games this season. ... Harang has made 69
consecutive starts without allowing more than three walks, dating
back to a four-walk start on July 19, 2004, against Milwaukee. ...
Adam LaRoche missed his second consecutive start for Atlanta with a
strained right hamstring. ... Reds LHP Eric Milton celebrated his
31st birthday Friday.