Eight-run inning vs. Braves helps Reds end losing streak

ATLANTA (AP) -- For Cincinnati Reds manager Jerry Narron, it didn't matter that his team set a season high with eight runs in
the second inning and had a five-run lead in the ninth.

Save situation or not, for Narron it was time to see Eddie Guardado close a game.

Guardado made his Cincinnati debut with a perfect ninth and the Reds rode the big second inning to end their six-game losing streak with a 10-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.

Even though the Reds had their most hits in an inning in 17 years, Guardado was the highlight for Narron, because his bullpen has 13 blown saves and a 5.22 ERA this season.

"I think everybody here is definitely excited about Guardado," Narron said. "It wasn't a save situation, but when you've lost a couple like we have, it felt like a save situation."

Guardado, acquired from Seattle on Thursday for a minor-league pitcher, struck out Marcus Giles to end the game.

"It sure felt good," Guardado said. "It was exciting. I'm excited to be here. ... It was fun to be out there getting the job done."

The Reds' 10 hits in the second inning were the most since they had 16 hits in a 14-run first inning on Aug. 3, 1989, against Houston, the most in the major leagues since 1900.

The Reds opened the inning with six straight hits to knock Braves starter Horacio Ramirez out of the game.

Adam Dunn had a two-run single and Rich Aurilia hit a two-run homer as the Reds sent 13 batters to the plate in the big inning.

"It was nice -- I guess that's an understatement -- to score a lot of runs early," Narron said.

Ryan Freel had three hits and scored three runs for the Reds.

"It was good to get off that losing streak we were on," Freel said. "... We were just in one of those funks. We have to be a little more consistent."

Eric Milton (5-4) gave up six hits and five runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Ramirez gave up seven hits and seven runs in one-plus innings as his ERA jumped from 3.47 to 4.83. He gave up the six straight hits in the second and was pulled.

"I was leaving pitches over the middle of the plate," Ramirez said. "You can't do that. ... You've got to just forget about this game and bounce back the next time."

Ramirez (4-3) said he felt tightness in his right hamstring at the end of the first inning.

"He said it didn't bother him to throw but I think it bothered his location," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

Ramirez saw his stretch of three straight strong starts come to an abrupt end. In two wins and a no-decision, the left-hander had given up a total of four earned runs.

In his last loss, however, Ramirez posted numbers similar to Friday night. On June 11, Ramirez lasted 1 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and six runs in a 14-4 loss at Houston.

Reliever Oscar Villarreal gave up four more hits in the second inning, including Aurilia's homer.

By the end of the second inning, the Reds led 9-0 and their only starter without a hit was Ken Griffey Jr. Even Milton, hitting .167, poked a run-scoring single into left field for one of the 10 hits in the second inning.

Milton retired the first 10 batters before Edgar Renteria's
one-out double to left in the fourth. Chipper Jones followed with a two-run homer, his 11th.

Austin Kearns led off the second with a single and scored on a double to right by David Ross. Ross left the game after appearing to suffer a lower abdominal strain as he began running from the batter's box.

Narron said he hopes Ross will be available to catch Saturday night, though Jason LaRue will start.

Juan Castro, Milton, Freel and Dunn added hits to push the lead to 6-0. Villarreal gave up the homer to Aurilia and a run-scoring infield hit to LaRue, who replaced Ross.

The bright spot for Atlanta pitching was rookie Kevin Barry, who gave up one walk and no hits with five strikeouts in four innings. He has given up only two hits in his first nine scoreless innings over three games.

Game notes
The eight runs in the second were the Reds' high for an inning since last season's 10-run fourth on Aug. 19, against Arizona. ... Dewayne Wise was a defensive replacement for Griffey in the fourth. ... Renteria stretched his hitting streak to 12 games with a fourth-inning double. Chipper Jones' homer gave him an 11-game hitting streak.