Braves rally late as Reds' lead in wild card dwindles

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Jeff Francoeur needed just one at-bat to
salvage a dismal road trip.

Francoeur hit a two-run triple in the eighth inning to tie it
and scored the go-ahead run on Adam LaRoche's sacrifice fly to help
the Atlanta Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-4 Sunday.

"It was a tough road trip for me," said Francoeur, who was
3-for-24 (.125) on the trip after grounding out with the bases
loaded to end the Braves' sixth inning. "I had a lot of
opportunities to win games for this ballclub. I've done it in the
past, but it's been a while."

"He's had some success in the past," manager Bobby Cox said.
"He's been one of the best at getting key hits, but it comes and

Andruw Jones and Matt Diaz homered for the Braves, who avoided a
three-game sweep and snapped a three-game losing streak to finish
the trip with a 3-3 record.

"We wanted to come in and win the series," Jones said. "We
had two tough games where we left a lot of men on base and couldn't
get a key hit. [Francoeur] finally got one."

Jones and Brian McCann singled with no outs in the eighth inning
against Gary Majewski (4-4). Francoeur, who is hitting .295
(36-for-122) with runners in scoring position, followed McCann with
a triple into the right-field corner, setting up LaRoche's
sacrifice fly. Diaz then hit his fourth homer to make it 6-4.

"I was pretty down after my first three at-bats," Francoeur
said. "I've always loved those situations. You've got to love
those situations. I just told myself to keep grinding."

Macay McBride (3-1) pitched a perfect seventh for the win and
Bob Wickman worked the ninth for his fifth save in five tries since
being traded from Cleveland on July 20.

Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 559th career home run and drove in two
runs for the Reds, who fell back to .500 at home with a 29-29

Kyle Lohse, who was acquired from Minnesota on July 31, struck
out a season-high seven in his first start with Cincinnati and
first since he pitched 2 2/3 innings for the Twins in a 7-4 loss at
Detroit on May 16. Lohse worked five innings against Atlanta,
allowing two runs and four hits.

Edgar Renteria hit a two-out single in the first and scored on
Jones' 26th homer of the season.

"I made a bad pitch to the wrong guy," Lohse said. "After
that, I settled in and worked the ball around pretty good."

The Reds rallied with four runs in the first three innings
against John Smoltz, who remained unbeaten in 10 starts since
losing 4-1 at Florida on June 13.

Griffey hit a 431-foot solo homer with two outs in the first for
his 23rd of the season and the first of his career against Smoltz.
Griffey now has homered against 357 different pitchers, and he has
1,040 career extra-base hits, one short of tying Pete Rose for 20th
place on the career list.

Griffey singled in a run in the third and scored on Edwin
Encarnacion's two-run double to give Cincinnati a 4-2 lead.

Smoltz, who's won his last five decisions, yielded four runs and
six hits in six innings. He struck out seven and walked three.

Game notes
Smoltz is 19-12 in 44 career games, including 37 starts,
against the Reds. ... Reds SS Royce Clayton played in his 2,000th
game. ... Cincinnati's pitching staff issued four walks to remain
No. 1 in the NL in fewest walks allowed with 310.