"He hit it well," Stults said after Atlanta's 8-4 loss. "I think obviously Kelly got back as fast as he could, and I think he felt the wall was there, so you can't blame him for his effort. That was probably one of the mistakes I made."
Stults made the pitch he wanted to the next batter, Brandon Phillips, who hit an infield single in the hole to drive in the game's first run. Brayan Pena followed with an RBI bloop single to center.
"When you execute a pitch and you don't get the result that you think you should get, then obviously it's frustrating," Stults said. "So I definitely think it was frustrating to not get the results, but like I said, you gotta give them credit, and that's just the way it goes some days."
Bruce got the best of Stults again in the fifth inning, this time with a two-run triple to right field to extend Cincinnati's lead to 4-0. Stults later gave up solo home runs to Marlon Byrd and Todd Frazier. The 35-year-old went seven innings, allowing six runs on 11 hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
"He gave us some length," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "They hit some balls not real hard [early], and then they did hit some balls hard. They had two triples and three home runs. But he gave us seven innings, kept us hanging around, and we didn't get anything going off [Jason] Marquis, really."
Aimee Sachs is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.