Braves' rook pitches in at plate, beats Reds

Braves' rook pitches in at plate, beats Reds

ATLANTA -- Mike Foltynewicz displayed more than just a strong arm in his first Major League start and Kelly Johnson preserved the effort with a two-run home run in the fifth inning that propelled the Braves to a 4-3 win over the Reds on Friday night at Turner Field.

Johnson's two-run shot with two outs added to the frustrations of Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani, who entered the game with a National League-leading 1.04 ERA. DeSclafani had surrendered just two hits until Foltynewicz recorded his first career hit -- a two-out, two-run double that cut Atlanta's deficit to one run in the fourth inning.

Foltynewicz's first MLB hit

Foltynewicz, who spent all of April with Triple-A Gwinnett, seemed to battle some nerves as he surrendered a pair of runs during a 28-pitch first inning. But despite allowing a baserunner to reach second base during three of the next four innings, the 23-year-old right-hander did not allow another earned run during this five-inning effort that netted him his first career victory.

"There's still a lot of stuff we need to correct and get better at, but this was a good first outing for him," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Fredi on win over Reds

Folty's memorable Atlanta debut: Foltynewicz, who was acquired from the Astros in January, had never registered a plate appearance during his pro career before Friday night. But his inexperience was not apparent when he ripped his two-run double into the gap off DeSclafani. But while the hit will provide a lasting memory, his most significant contribution came courtesy of the composure he showed while encountering frequent trouble during his final four innings. More >

Foltynewicz earns first MLB win

Brandon's back: Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips got up off the deck after missing Thursday's series opener, had a multi-hit night, and was responsible for Cincy's first three runs with a two-run single in the first and a leadoff single and a stolen base before scoring on DeSclafani's sacrifice fly in the fourth. More >

Phillips' bases-loaded single

Just like the old K.J.: Johnson has seemingly resurrected his career since returning to the Braves this year for the first time since 2009. The go-ahead homer he hit off DeSclafani gives him four home runs through his first 52 at-bats this year. While playing for the Yankees, Red Sox and Orioles last year, he totaled seven homers in 265 at-bats. More >

K. Johnson's two-run blast

Walks doom DeSclafani: DeSclafani issued a career-high five walks in his five innings. The last two free passes proved costly, especially the two-out walk issued to light-hitting Eric Young Jr. That free pass was followed by Foltynewicz's double. More >

Taking advantage of a hip turn Foltynewicz has recently added to his delivery, the Reds recorded three stolen bases in the first inning and then added two more before the end of the fifth. The Braves had surrendered as many as five stolen bases just six times over the previous 10 seasons (2005-14).

"We did everything we could in that first inning to bust that game open, including that drive to left field by Marlon [Byrd]. It just didn't get out where we needed it, and then we weren't able to take advantage as much of the rookie, and to his credit, he did a nice job. He got quicker. We were stealing bases at a pretty rapid pace and he quickened up and limited what we were able to do." -- Reds manager Bryan Price, on Foltynewicz

Reds: Jason Marquis will attempt to win his third straight start when the Reds resume this four-game series on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Marquis made his Major League debut with the Braves in 2000.

Braves: Atlanta will counter with Eric Stults, who has allowed three earned runs over the 12 1/3 innings he has totaled during his past two starts. Stults has surrendered just one run in both of his only two previous starts against the Reds.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for Jon Cooper is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.