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Reds split series with Braves

Jumbo Diaz and the Reds are thankful to be back to winning.
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds won back-to-back games for the first time since Aug. 7 as they were able to hold onto a 5-3 victory on Sunday at Great American Ballpark against the Atlanta Braves.

The Reds roughed up former Opening Day starter Aaron Harang (10-8) and Alfredo Simon (13-8) finally secured his first victory since the All-Star break going seven innings and allowing just one run. Cincinnati (63-68) snapped a seven game losing with a 1-0 win on Saturday.

The Braves (68-63) threatened early in the second when Chris Johnson singled, then stole second and advanced to third on a ground ball. Simon intentionally walked B.J. Upton with two outs to get to Harang. Upton also stole second, but Harang grounded out to end the inning.

The Reds had mustered just one hit against the Braves starter until the fourth when they broke out for a big inning. Todd Frazier, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce each singled to load the bases with one out. Ryan Ludwick scored Frazier on a sac fly while Brayan Pena singled home Phillips. Zack Cozart collected his second hit of the game to score Bruce and give the Reds a 3-0 lead. The Reds loaded the bases again in the sixth inning, but David Carpenter would only allow one of Harang's runners to score on a ground out by Cozart.

The Braves would break into the scoring column for the first time in 15 innings as Evan Gattis and Tommy La Stella hit back-to-back doubles to make it a 4-1 game. Simon stranded La Stella on third to keep the lead at three. Cincinnati would add a much needed insurance run on Frazier's 22nd homer of the year coming off David Hale in the bottom of the seventh.

Manny Parra got into some hot water in the eighth as he allowed runners on the corners before giving way to Jumbo Diaz with one out. Much like he did in Saturday's outing, Diaz prevented any runs by scoring as he struck out the only two hitters he faced. Cincinnati nearly added another run as Cozart's third hit of the game was a two out triple. Jack Hannahan came on to pinch hit, but was struck out by Hale.

It looked as though the Reds might need that run as Logan Ondrusek gave up a solo homer to Gattis to cut the lead to 5-2. Ondrusek retired the next two hitters, but Emilio Bonifacio reached on an infield single to bring on Jonathan Broxton to close out the game. While it did not start as a save situation, it would quickly become one for Broxton as he allowed an RBI single to Jason Heyward to cut the lead to 5-3. He then walked the bases loaded to put the tying run in scoring position, but he was able to get Justin Upton to bounce into a fielder's choice to end the game.

The Reds and Braves will each take a day off tomorrow as Atlanta heads to New York and the Reds remain at home for a three-game series with the Cubs. Chicago (58-72) is coming off a surprise sweep of the first place Baltimore Orioles and have won six of its last eight. The Reds will get their first look at Javier Baez who has hit seven homers in his first 20 Major League games. Another former Red, Travis Wood (7-11, 4.91 ERA), will take on Johnny Cueto (15-7, 2.20 ERA) in Tuesday's series opener and the last three games of the season series in Cincinnati.