After winning without any of their injured big-name outfielders, the Atlanta Braves added their All-Star first baseman to their lengthy injury list as they conclude a four-game home set Sunday against the slumping Cincinnati Reds .
One night after Heyward exited Thursday's 6-5 win with a strained right hamstring, the Upton brothers were hurt Friday in a 4-2 defeat. While all three were held out Saturday, the Braves (54-40) beat Cincinnati 5-2 behind Mike Minor 's seven strong innings and homers from Brian McCann and Dan Uggla .
"I think Vegas lost a lot of money today when they saw our lineup," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose club improved to a major league-best 31-14 at home. "But you know what, you can't judge and you can't handicap heart."
Called up from Triple-A Gwinnett earlier in the day, Jose Constanza started in left field and hit leadoff, Reed Johnson was in center and rookie Joey Terdoslavich was in right. The trio went a combined 7 for 11 with an RBI and two runs.
Heyward, Justin Upton (strained calf) and B.J. Upton (strained adductor muscle) are all expected to remain out through the All-Star break. While Heyward could return afterward, Justin Upton 's status is uncertain, B.J. Upton was placed on the disabled list Sunday, and Freeman will miss this game and possibly the Midsummer Classic after jamming his left thumb on a collision with Chris Heisey after catching an off-line throw by Andrelton Simmons in the first inning Saturday.
"I feel bad for them to be hurt," Constanza said through a translator. "It's a bad way to be called up, but I was ready to come up here and help the team win."
It was the fifth loss in seven games for the Reds (52-42), who have dropped 11 of 15 on the road while hitting .190 with runners in scoring position.
"It's disheartening to see it happening over and over again," manager Dusty Baker said.
Shin-Soo Choo is batting .413 with nine runs during an 11-game hitting streak. Joey Votto , though, has gone 6 for 26 (.231) with no homers and one RBI over an eight-game stretch, and Jay Bruce , who hasn't homered since June 22, is 8 for his last 40 (.200).
Things aren't about to get any easier with a matchup against Julio Teheran (7-4, 3.09 ERA), who ranks among the major league leaders with a 2.36 ERA since April 23. The 22-year-old right-hander yielded four runs - one earned - and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings Tuesday in a 6-4 win at Miami.
"He gave us a great outing," manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Teheran, who is 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA over his last four home starts.
Teheran will be making his first appearance versus Cincinnati, which counters with an impressive young pitcher of its own in Tony Cingrani (3-1, 3.30). The 24-year-old left-hander has posted a .196 opponent batting average and struck out 61 in nine starts spanning 52 2-3 innings.
Cingrani, who has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of those outings, gave up two and three hits over seven innings Tuesday in a 2-0 loss at Milwaukee.
"It's frustrating. I thought I did my job," Cingrani said after striking out 10 and walking two.
He has compiled a 3.75 ERA on the road, more than a run higher than his home mark of 2.63. He has never faced Atlanta.
Cingrani could have his hands full with McCann, who is batting .414 with six homers in his last nine home games in the series.
The Braves have taken seven of 10 from the Reds at Turner Field.
|July 10, 2013||Ryan Hanigan||15-Day DL||Sprained left wrist|
|June 29, 2013||Johnny Cueto||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|June 28, 2013||Johnny Cueto||Day-to-Day||Left game - tight right lat|
|June 14, 2013||Jonathan Broxton||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor mass strain|
|June 01, 2013||Johnny Cueto||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|June 01, 2013||Johnny Cueto||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|July 11, 2013||Jason Heyward||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
|July 04, 2013||Jordan Schafer||15-Day DL||Right ankle contusion|
|July 02, 2013||B.J. Upton||Day-to-Day||Left game - left forearm spasms|
|June 18, 2013||Evan Gattis||15-Day DL||Oblique strain|
|June 17, 2013||Ramiro Pena||15-Day DL||Right shoulder impingement|
|May 29, 2013||Kris Medlen||Day-to-Day||Left game - left upper calf contusion|
ATLANTA (AP) -- Jay Bruce says the Reds have had an impressive first half, even if they are in third place in the NL Central.
A big showing by the Reds' offense provided the perfect confidence boost before the All-Star break.
Bruce hit a two-run homer in Cincinnati's four-run third inning, Shin-Soo Choo also homered, and the Reds beat Julio Teheran and the Atlanta Braves 8-4 on Sunday.
Bruce led the Reds with three hits. Brandon Phillips had a two-run double in the ninth, and Choo had two hits and scored three runs as the Reds split the four-game series.
"We've had a good first half," Bruce said. "Obviously, we're not in first place and that's where we want to be, but we've played well, especially with the injuries we've had. To still be right here in the hunt, we're in good shape right now.
"We're looking forward to the second half."
The Reds began the day five games behind St. Louis and Pittsburgh in the division. They gained a game on the Pirates, who lost to the Mets. The Cardinals played the Cubs on Sunday night.
"It makes for a better All-Star break," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We had a chance to really take three out of four or maybe even sweep them but we'll take what we got."
Bruce's homer was his first since he hit two on June 22. He had gone 18 games without one.
"I really don't pay attention to that stuff," he said. "I started off July a little slow but slowly got heated up a little bit. It's a long month."
Reds right-hander Logan Ondrusek (3-0) threw two scoreless innings as the second reliever behind Tony Cingrani , who lasted only four innings.
Teheran (7-5) allowed five runs, seven hits and two walks in 5 1-3 innings.
Andrelton Simmons and Dan Uggla hit homers for Atlanta.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was held out because of a jammed left thumb that will prevent him from playing in the All-Star game on Tuesday. The Braves had outfielders Jason Heyward , Justin Upton , B.J. Upton and Freeman sustain injuries in the series.
The team placed B.J. Upton on the 15-day disabled list before the game with a right adductor muscle strain.
"We lost a lot of key players but the guys that stepped in did a terrific job for us," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "You felt good that we had a chance. Even today. We hit the ball hard.
"Anytime your back is up against it like we were and guys respond, you feel good about your club."
Atlanta catcher Brian McCann was named to replace Freeman on the NL All-Star team.
The Reds led 5-3 before scoring three times in the ninth off Anthony Varvaro . Phillips' double drove in Choo and Joey Votto , and Phillips scored on Todd Frazier 's single.
Control problems pushed up Cingrani's pitch count. The rookie left-hander, who threw 96 pitches, allowed two runs - one earned - four hits and three walks in four innings. It matched his shortest start.
Cingrani was frustrated early in the game by home plate umpire Sam Holbrook's strike zone.
"They were calling them low, and Tony and (catcher) Devin (Mesoraco) thought they were strikes," Baker said. "Sometimes you get tested, especially when you're a rookie and you're not going to get a lot of the near-strikes. Sam was consistent and that's all you can ask the umpire to do."
Cingrani gave up a run in the second but stranded three runners. Reed Johnson singled with two outs and scored on Gerald Laird 's double. Cingrani loaded the bases with two walks, but ended the inning by snagging Jose Constanza 's liner.
Atlanta's missed opportunity for a bigger inning set the stage for the Reds' four-run third. Cingrani led off with a bunt single, and Choo also singled before Votto's double and Brandon Phillips ' groundout each drove in a run. Bruce's 19th homer pushed the lead to 4-1.
The Braves added an unearned run in the third. Simmons walked, moved to third on Chris Johnson 's single and scored when Reds shortstop Zack Cozart caught a liner by Evan Gattis and then threw wildly to first base in an attempt for a double play.
Choo led off the fifth with his 13th homer.
Gattis was 0-for-4 in his return from the disabled list after playing only two games in his rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Gwinnett.
Gattis was the fill-in starter for Freeman, who jammed his thumb Saturday night. Gattis had been out since June 18 because of a right oblique strain.
Constanza made a running catch of Choo's drive to left field in the first inning and made another leaping grab of a drive by Bruce in front of the wall in the ninth.
Reds closer Aroldis Chapman gave up Simmons' eighth homer in the ninth.
NOTES: Cingrani also lasted only four innings on May 10 against Milwaukee. ... The Reds went 3-4 on their seven-game trip, splitting the four-game series with Atlanta. ... McCann is a seven-time All-Star. ... Gonzalez said doctors have determined Justin Upton sustained a severe cramp, instead of a strained left calf, in Friday's game. The Braves hope Justin Upton and Heyward (strained right hamstring) can return after the All-Star break without DL stints.