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Reds squeak by 6-5, Braves drop second straight

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Posted: July 17, 2007 10:57 p.m.
Updated: August 1, 2007 5:00 a.m.

    ATLANTA — In his 20th start of the season, Bronson Arroyo finally found his 2006 All-Star form.

    Arroyo shut out Atlanta for seven innings, Jeff Keppinger capitalized on a rare start by hitting a two-run double and the Cincinnati Reds held on to beat the Atlanta Braves 6-5 on Tuesday night.

    Arroyo (4-10) matched his season low by giving up only three hits and matched his season high with nine strikeouts. He did not allow a run in a start for the first time since Sept. 25 against the Chicago Cubs.

    Ken Griffey Jr. and Brandon Phillips added two-run singles in a four-run seventh inning before the Braves answered with four runs off Mike Stanton in the eighth.

    Arroyo began Tuesday night’s game ranking among the NL leaders in losses, hits and runs allowed. He struck out the side in the first inning and was rarely threatened.

    Andruw Jones hit a two-run homer deep into the left-field seats off Stanton. The Braves extended the rally as Brian McCann singled, Jeff Francoeur walked and Kelly Johnson hit a two-run triple to the center-field wall, cutting the Reds’ lead to 6-4.

    David Weathers ended the inning by getting Jarrod Saltalamacchia to line out to shortstop. He got three outs in the ninth for his 18th save in 21 chances.

    Chipper Jones drove in Edgar Renteria with a two-out single in the ninth, but Andruw Jones flied out to the warning track in left to end the game.

    Braves rookie Jo-Jo Reyes, making his second start, gave up eight hits and four runs in 6 1-3 innings.

    Reyes trailed 2-0 when he left with one out in the sixth and two runners on base, but reliever Peter Moylan walked Keppinger to load the bases. Griffey pushed the lead to 4-0 with a two-run single to right, and Brandon Phillips followed with another two-run single off Moylan.

    Keppinger, from Parkview High — also the Atlanta suburb alma mater of Francoeur — and the University of Georgia, made the most of rare start. Keppinger, recalled from Louisville on July 7, had only 10 at-bats and two starts — both at third base — before starting at shortstop.

    David Ross hit a one-out double in the fifth and moved to third on a groundout by Arroyo. Ryan Freel walked and stole second, and Ross and Freel scored when Keppinger drilled a 3-2 pitch past third baseman Chipper Jones for a two-run double.

    The Braves had a scoring chance in the bottom of the fifth when Johnson doubled and moved to third on Reyes’ bloop single, but Arroyo struck out Willie Harris and ended the threat on Edgar Renteria’s fly ball to right field.

Notes: Reyes had no strikeouts and has only one in his first two starts. ... Phillips was picked off second base in the fourth inning. ... Keppinger made his major league debut with the New York Mets in 2004.

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