CINCINNATI (AP) -- How is Jay Bruce going to top this?
The rookie outfielder had four hits -- three of them off 300-game winner Tom Glavine -- and scored on Chipper Jones' error in the 11th inning Friday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.In his first four games, the 21-year-old outfielder has gone 8-for-14 and turned into the fans' favorite player, drawing ovations and chants of "BRUUUUCE!" every time he catches a ball or gets a hit.So far, it's happening a lot."Everything the last three days -- Three days, right? Four? -- has been great," Bruce said, momentarily losing count in the blur of base hits. "It's been awesome."Bruce doubled home a run and scored in the sixth, then opened the 11th with a single off Royce Ring (1-1). Ken Griffey Jr. singled sharply past Jones, and the third baseman also failed to come up with Brandon Phillips' grounder for a game-ending error.
"I got a funny hop on Junior's," said Jones, who went 0-for-5 at the plate and hit into two double plays. "The last ball was hit pretty hard. I came up and it didn't. Pretty simple."That's pretty much as bad as you can be right there. It was ugly."Ugliness has been the Braves' traveling companion this season. They have the fewest wins on the road in the NL (7-18) and are 0-12 on the road in one-run games. Stretching back to last August, Atlanta has dropped its last 19 one-run games on the road.The Braves wore their all-blue caps with their gray road uniforms, the same combination they broke out the previous night for an 8-1 win in Milwaukee. They decided stay with whatever works.The look only worked for one day."Whatever can go wrong on the road has gone wrong," said Glavine, who gave up two runs in six innings. "I've been on teams that have had inconsistency, but I've never been on a team like this one where it's just money at home and we can't do anything right on the road."A rookie who was born the same year that Glavine broke into the majors -- 1987 -- had three of Cincinnati's five hits off the left-hander. Every time he went to bat, Bruce tried not to think about who was on the mound."I just tried to look at him as this left-handed pitcher," Bruce said. "I tried not to worry about the name on the back of the jersey, because I know he's not just a pitcher. He's a Hall of Famer. I was fortunate enough to get some hits."Glavine was impressed."I felt pretty good about the pitches I made to him on his first two at-bats," Glavine said. "The last one was a mistake. I got the ball up a little bit and he put a pretty good swing on it. He's finding holes with everything right now. Good for him, I guess. Not so good for us."Reliever Kent Mercker (1-0) went one inning for his first victory since June 30, 2006.The game featured a couple of interesting showdowns.Jones, who came in leading the majors with a .420 average, went head-to-head with the major leagues' ERA leader in Edinson Volquez. The pitcher prevailed.Jones swung through a 94 mph fastball to end his first at-bat, then grounded into a double play. He also grounded out in the sixth against Volquez, who gave up two runs in six-plus innings, raising his ERA to 1.46.Jones' 11-game hitting streak ended and his average dropped to .409. He also had those two plays at the end that decided it."Chipper has been playing great third base, and he comes up with two," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "There's no way to explain that. I guess he's due a bad game out of every 50."Also, there was a future-Hall-of-Fame matchup: Glavine, the 305-game winner, against Griffey, who is two homers shy of 600. Again, pitching got the better of it.Griffey has only one career homer off Glavine, way back in 2000. He grounded into a double play that ended a threat in the first, starting his 0-for-3 showing against the left-hander.
Braves OF Mark Kotsay went on the 15-day DL with a strained lower back. ... RHP John Smoltz is expected to make another rehabilitation appearance for Class A Rome on Saturday. If he comes through that without a problem, he could be activated on Monday and go into the bullpen. Smoltz went on the DL on April 29 with a sore upper arm and shoulder. ... Bruce had three hits in his debut on Tuesday.