ATLANTA -- Mike Leake returned from the minors with a simple goal.
"I was just trying to go out and get a quality outing," he said, "because all the arms had been used up lately."Leake pitched six strong innings to give Cincinnati's depleted rotation a boost and the Reds beat the Atlanta Braves 5-1 on Friday night for only their second win in 10 games.Leake (4-2) gave Cincinnati its first win by a starter since May 16. The right-hander allowed one run, seven hits and three walks in six innings."It was very important that he came in and did what he did," said Cincinnati's Fred Lewis, who scored a run and drove in a run. "We just had a 19-inning game (on Wednesday). Our pitchers were struggling. Our bullpen was struggling."Leake gave manager Dusty Baker a scare by walking two batters in the first. Baker said Leake was sent to Triple-A Louisville two weeks ago to focus on his control."Just pitch to contact," Baker said.Leake quickly regained his composure."I think it was more just trying to be a little too picky and not going after them," Leake said. "I was trying to be too cute."Ramon Hernandez hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Braves closer Craig Kimbrell."That's a quality team and that was a huge home run, especially off the closer," Baker said. "That was big. Those two runs took it from a two-run game to a four-run game. With only three outs to go, that's huge insurance."The Braves loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth before Nick Massett ended the threat on Alex Gonzalez's grounder to shortstop Paul Janish.Leake, 23, was recalled from Louisville on Friday for his first start since May 3. He was needed after the Reds lost Homer Bailey to an injury and Edinson Volquez was sent to the minors.After the first, Leake's only other walk was to Chipper Jones to open the fourth.Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth in a non-save situation.Cincinnati placed Bailey on the 15-day disabled list before the game with a sprained right shoulder. Bailey left Thursday's loss in Philadelphia with the injury after four innings. His early exit put more stress on the staff one day after Wednesday's 19-inning loss to the Phillies.On Monday, the struggling Volquez was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Leake was recalled to replace Volquez.Also, Bronson Arroyo lasted only 2 2/3 innings while allowing 10 hits and nine runs against Philadelphia on Monday. Following the start, Arroyo had an MRI which showed a minor muscle strain in his back. He is scheduled to start Saturday.Relievers Matt Maloney and Aroldis Chapman also have been placed on the disabled list in the last week.Fred Lewis had a run-scoring double off Tommy Hanson (5-4) in the second. In the fourth, Lewis walked and moved to third when Hanson fielded a bunt by Hernandez and threw high to second base for an error before scoring on a suicide squeeze bunt by Janish.The Reds pushed the lead to 3-0 in the fifth when Brandon Phillips singled, stole second and eventually scored from third on Jay Bruce's infield hit off reliever George Sherrill's glove.The Braves scored their only run off Leake in the sixth when Brian McCann hit a one-out double, moved to third on Eric Hinske's single and scored on Dan Uggla's flyball to deep center. Drew Stubbs made the catch in front of the wall."How does (Uggla's) ball not go out and Ramon Hernandez's does?" asked Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez of his struggling second baseman. "That's how the baseball gods are testing his will right now."Uggla, who had one hit, is hitting .183.Hanson gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.
Hernandez's homer was the first allowed by Kimbrell in 47 games over two seasons. ... The last win by a Reds starter was May 16 by Bailey against the Cubs. ... Manager Fredi Gonzalez said a second MRI on RF Jason Heyward's right shoulder again showed inflammation but no damage. Heyward missed six straight starts due to the sore shoulder earlier in May before he was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. The move was made retroactive to Sunday. ... Braves RHP Tim Hudson, who missed one start with a stiff back, is scheduled to start in Monday's home game against San Diego. Hudson threw in the bullpen Friday.