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Atrocious start dooms Davies, Braves
Reds roll to win in Atlanta

ATLANTA - Kyle Davies walked slowly off the mound and back to the Braves' dugout, head down, lips locked. He hardly seemed to notice the obligatory pat on the back from manager Bobby Cox and glanced up only briefly at the fans who cheered his removal.

The Braves had witnessed this scene before with Davies - too many times before. But never like this.

Late-arriving fans were still walking in from the Turner Field parking lots when Davies was pulled after just 22 pitches Monday. He gave up two runs and failed to record an out, sending Atlanta on its way to a 10-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

The batter-by-batter results against Davies: single, walk, RBI single, walk, walk to force in a run, good night. Cox pulled him with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the first, perhaps to spare him any further embarrassment.

It was the shortest outing by a Braves starter not related to injury since Len Barker threw just 11 pitches against the Reds in 1985. And it led to the end of a four-game win streak for the Braves (50-43).

Reliever Oscar Villarreal gave up four runs (three earned), Joey Devine gave up one run and Chad Paronto gave up two unearned runs. The Braves also committed three errors, and left 12 runners on base.

But it was Davies who set the tone, and left a tall order for his teammates. Davies, 23, has been among the worst regular starters in the National League this year, and fell to 4-8 with a 5.76 ERA.

The right-hander was coming off one of his best starts of the season, allowing just one run in six innings against the San Diego Padres on July 8. But whatever encouragement he took into the All-Star break did him no good on Monday.

Davies showed zero command from the get-go, missing high and low, inside and outside. He fell behind leadoff man Ryan Freel 3-1 before allowing a single. After Davies walked Scott Hatteberg on five pitches, Ken Griffey Jr. punched a run-scoring single to left field.

Davies walked Brandon Phillips to load the bases, then walked Adam Dunn to make it 2-0 Cincinnati. And with that, Cox was on his way out of the dugout and Davies was on his way to the shower.

Villarreal cleaned up Davies's mess in the first, but had his own troubles in the second. Griffey Jr. tagged him for a three-run homer to right field that put Cincinnati up 5-0. It was career home run No. 587 for Griffey Jr., moving him ahead of Frank Robinson for sixth on the all-time list.

And from there, the game devolved into a rout. Cincinnati scored a run in the third, a run in the fourth and two in the fifth. When Atlanta finally put a zero on the Reds' line score in the sixth, the announced crowd of 24,442 momentarily awoke from its slumber and cheered.

The Braves scored two runs in the third when Andruw Jones hit a short fly to center field. But they got nothing out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the fifth.

Jeff Francoeur was ejected for arguing after he was called out on strikes for the second out of the inning. The call drew Cox from the dugout to protest.

Camera flashes went off in the stands, with Cox a good tirade away from becoming baseball's all-time ejections leader. But Cox put up only a mild fight, and remained in the game.

A stadium lighting problem caused an 11-minute delay in the fifth, but it only delayed the inevitable.

The Braves got another run in the seventh when Jones reached on a fielder's choice. But it was not nearly enough to undo the damage done by Davies and the bullpen.

SideBar: REDS AT BRAVES

When: Today-Wednesday

Where: Turner Field

Schedule:

' Today, 7:35 p.m. (SS)

' Wednesday, 1:05 p.m. (TBS)