0

Braves lose on 12th inning homer

At least they don't have to play the Reds again.

The Braves would be content to play the New York Mets every night the rest of the season, but Cincinnati? Yikes.

Bob Wickman gave up a game-winning, two-run homer to Adam Dunn in the bottom of the 12th inning Thursday to hand Atlanta a 9-7 loss, its third in a row. And on a long, sweltering night at Great American Ballpark, the Braves lost for the sixth time in seven meetings with the lowly Reds this season.

The Braves (66-62) have lost five of their last seven games overall and now head to St. Louis to face the Cardinals, who had won 8 of 10 going into Thursday.

Eighteen of Wickman's 19 earned runs allowed this season have come on the road.

The Braves finally had some measure of success against Cincinnati's bullpen, which had held them scoreless in eight combined innings the previous two nights.

Atlanta rallied from an early four-run deficit and took a one-run lead in the top of the seventh. But Peter Moylan, who was charged with the loss on Tuesday, gave up a game-tying solo homer to Edwin Encarnacion in the bottom of the inning. And the Reds' bullpen followed that with five consecutive shutout innings. Tyler Yates narrowly escaped disaster in the 11th, striking out Parkview grad Jeff Keppinger with the bases loaded to end the inning. But Wickman couldn't do the same in the 12th. He committed an error that allowed Brandon Phillips to reach first, then gave up the homer to Dunn to end it.

Chipper Jones matched a career high with five RBIs, including a three-run homer. And Mark Teixeira added two RBIs, giving him 28 in 21 games as a Brave.

Buddy Carlyle gave up six runs in five innings, his second highest earned run total in a start this season. Carlyle has given up 11 earned runs in his last two starts, and has not pitched into the seventh inning since July 15.

He lasted longer than his manager, though. Bobby Cox raised his all-time ejections record another notch when he was tossed after the second inning - career ejection No. 134. Home plate umpire Jerry Lane threw him out, apparently for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout.

The Braves were up 1-0 early after Jones hit an RBI double in the first inning. But Carlyle gave up five runs in the fifth.

Scott Hatteberg drove in one with a double, and two more scored on a ground rule double by Encarnacion. Then, with two outs, Josh Hamilton swatted Carlyle's 3-2 pitch into the left centerfield stands.

Carlyle had words for Lane after the homer. And when the inning was over, Cox shouted at him from the dugout, undoubtedly still upset over the strikes called on Teixeira at the end of Wednesday's game. After Lane signaled the ejection, Cox, ran out to argue some more. He then threw a chair in the dugout before disappearing down the steps to the clubhouse.

Cox's ejections have often sparked Braves rallies, and so it was on Thursday. Teixeira hit a solo homer in the fourth, his 10th as a Brave. Jones tied the game at 5 with a three-run, 437-foot blast in the fifth. And his double in the seventh tied the game at 6. Teixeira gave Atlanta a 7-6 lead with an RBI single to short center.