"This was a big series for us," Jones said. "We couldn't
really afford to go 2-2. The bottom line is we're a little bit
closer."Andruw Jones hit a two-run homer and the Braves roughed up
All-Star Bronson Arroyo in an 8-3 win over the Reds on Sunday.Jeff Francoeur and Scott Thorman also hit solo homers for the
Braves, who have won three straight series. Atlanta has won seven
of 10 games overall, but it's just 13-26 since May 28.Now that the All-Star break has arrived, manager Bobby Cox hopes
the Braves' bats are still hot when the team plays next, Friday at
San Diego."They're all hitting good right now," Cox said after watching
Edgar Renteria, Chipper Jones, Ryan Langerhans and Thorman each
finish with three hits. "They need a break, but we were swinging.
A month from now, I hope we'll still be fine."Arroyo (9-6) lasted just 4 1/3 innings, allowing 10 hits, six
runs and three walks in his shortest start of the season. The
right-hander, a first-time All-Star, struck out three."For the first four innings, I was getting deep in the count,"
Arroyo said. "Nobody was an easy out. Nothing was clicking."Cincinnati, which has lost seven of eight, plays Colorado to
begin a 10-game homestand on Thursday. The Reds are just 20-22 at
Great American Ball Park."We have to go home and get regrouped," Reds manager Jerry
Narron said. "We should be able to play better at home than we
have."Adam Dunn's 28th homer, a three-run shot that went 450 feet to
deep center, chased Braves reliever Oscar Villarreal with no outs
in the sixth.Tyler Yates allowed Austin Kearns' broken-bat single and walked
Brandon Phillips before Cox brought in left-hander Macay McBride to
face pinch-hitter Ken Griffey Jr.McBride struck out Griffey on a pitch that bounced into the
glove of catcher Brian McCann to end the threat."I thought they would pitch to him," Narron said. "I was
trying to find a spot where we could have Junior come up with the
tying run on base. Their left-handers wore us out."Earning the win after starter John Thomson succumbed to shoulder
stiffness and left with one out in the third, Villarreal (8-1) gave
up three runs, four hits, one walk and struck out two in 2 1/3
innings.After McCann's RBI single gave the Braves a 1-0 lead in the
first, Atlanta scored three runs off Arroyo in the second. Thorman
hit his second homer before Marcus Giles' RBI single and Andruw Jones'
sacrifice fly.The Braves led 6-0 lead in the fifth following Francoeur's 17th
homer and Langerhans' RBI double off Arroyo. Andruw Jones homered
off Todd Coffey in the sixth.Thomson, who allowed two hits, one walk and struck out two, is
0-4 with a 9.39 ERA in his last six starts. The right-hander was on
the disabled list from June 16-July 3 with a blister on his right
middle finger.Though he doesn't expect to miss a start, Thomson indicated the
biggest problem is finishing pitches."It's tight, so it's not allowing me to get out front when I
throw, so I'm getting a lot of pitches off," Thomson said.
"That's why everything I threw today -- all my fastballs looked
like cutters. In my head I always think if I keep my mechanics
right, I can go out and change speeds and get guys out."Arroyo lost for the third time in four starts, a span of 24 1/3
innings. The right-hander had pitched at least five innings since
last Sept. 28, when Boston lost to Toronto."I had a bad one the last time out," Arroyo said. "You don't
want to have bad ones back-to-back. "Sometimes when you're rolling
downhill, it's hard to stop."Renteria has a 14-game hitting streak for Atlanta. Chipper Jones
extended his streak to 13 games and Giles pushed his to 12."(John) Smoltz told me to go to Florida and keep swinging,"
said Chipper Jones, who took a cortisone shot in his sore right
foot after the game. "Everybody was pretty geeked up after the
Reds C David Ross, who missed his second straight game, was
diagnosed with a lower abdominal strain after undergoing an MRI
exam in Cincinnati. The team has no immediate plans to place Ross
on the disabled list. ... Braves 1B Adam LaRoche missed the game
with an upper respiratory infection. Thorman replaced him. ...
Griffey was held out of the starting lineup for an extra day of
rest. Ryan Freel started in his place, but was replaced by Dewayne Wise with a sore right shoulder after he was caught stealing to end
the fifth. ... Villarreal, who struck out to end the third, had his
first at-bat since he was a rookie with Arizona in 2003.