Hanson solid in walk-off loss to Reds

Hanson solid in walk-off loss to Reds

Hanson solid in walk-off loss to Reds
CINCINNATI -- Hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park hasn't been so kind to the Braves the last three days. While the Reds beat the Braves for the third straight night, 2-1, on Wednesday courtesy of rookie Todd Frazier's ninth-inning home run into the first row of seats in right field, it has been Atlanta's inability to hit that sticks out most.

The Braves managed only four hits, including a solo home run by second baseman Dan Uggla in the fourth inning, and were held to three or fewer runs for the fifth straight game as their most pronounced offensive funk of the season continues.

"It's tough to win games and tough to pitch when your offense is not clicking," said manager Fredi Gonzalez. "Our offense is not scoring any runs."

It is the first three-game losing streak for the Braves since they dropped the first four games of the season.

The Braves have scored just nine runs in their last five games, four of which have been losses. Starter Tommy Hanson cruised through the first five innings on Wednesday and then withstood a Cincinnati threat in the sixth inning to limit the Reds to one run on four hits for his fourth consecutive solid outing. Hanson was pulled after 3 2/3 innings at Philadelphia on May 2 when he gave up four runs on eight hits with two walks on 95 pitches. He hasn't allowed more than two runs in his last four games.

The Braves have been playing without third baseman Chipper Jones (calf) and catcher Brian McCann (illness), but the struggles at the plate are deeper than two players. Jones pinch-hit for Hanson in the seventh inning -- his first appearance since suffering a severe bruise on his left calf last Friday -- and drew a walk.

"Tommy threw great. He kept the ball in the ballpark, which is something we haven't done in this very cozy place, but you hate to waste efforts like that," said Jones. "You've got to put more together early in the game to give yourself a cushion. No lead is safe here, but Tommy threw great."

Frazier's home run came with one out off of reliever Cristhian Martinez. The ball traveled only an estimated 355 feet -- a routine fly-ball out at Turner Field -- but it was far enough to produce the seventh run allowed by Martinez in his last four outings covering 6 2/3 innings.

"When I was going to first, I knew I had a lot of it," said Frazier. "At the same time, you're hoping it's a lot more than that. I didn't think I had all of it. Watching it rounding first, it just got over. That's fine with me."

"I don't know about a lazy fly ball, but it's a deep fly ball to right field [at Turner]," Gonzalez said. "It's one of those games. Like we talked in the afternoon, the fences aren't different. They don't move them back when we come to hit. It's just one of those things and hopefully tomorrow [Randall] Delgado will come out and give us a good outing and our bats will get going."

The teams have now combined to hit 12 home runs -- 11 of them solo shots -- in the first three games of this series. The Reds have hit eight of those home runs.

Uggla's homer in the fourth off of Reds starter Bronson Arroyo needed no assistance. The shot deep into the second-deck bleachers in left field gave the Braves a 1-0 lead as it landed 438 feet away from home plate. It was Uggla's sixth homer of the season and his first since May 11 at St. Louis.

The Reds tied the game on a bases-loaded RBI groundout by Jay Bruce. Freddie Freeman attempted to turn a double play on the grounder to him at first base, but shortstop Tyler Pastornicky's throw back to Hanson at first wasn't in time to get Bruce.

The Braves threatened to regain the lead in the seventh inning after Arroyo had retired the first two batters. Pastornicky doubled to left and Jones walked on five pitches against reliever Jose Arredondo. Michael Bourn hit a grounder up the middle that second baseman Brandon Phillips stopped, bobbled and flipped to shortstop Zack Cozart covering second just before pinch-runner Tim Hudson arrived to end the inning.

The Braves didn't threaten again. They went down in order in the eighth inning against Arredondo and in the ninth against Aroldis Chapman.

"We're just in a little bit of a lull. We're too good of a team to stay in there," said catcher David Ross, who started the second straight game in place of McCann. "We have to keep our heads up. The 'B' squad has got to pick up the 'A' squad."

Kevin Goheen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.