CINCINNATI (AP) — Spencer Strider gave up one basehit over six innings and tied a career high with 11 strikeouts, Austin Riley homered for the second game in a row to score two runs and the Atlanta Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 Saturday.
Strider (4-2) gave up no basehit until two outs in the fifth inning when Nick Senzel‘s single drove in Matt Reynoldswho came into play then Kyle Farmer was hit by a pitch.
“I still try to extend a little bit more each time,” said Strider, who made his seventh start and 18th appearance. “I’m starting to stretch a bit.”
“Great,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said of Strider. “He was free and easy. Those are two really good ones in a row. His breaking ball was really good.”
Dansby Swanson made a diving backhand from Joey Votto’s pop into short left field to end fourth and keep Strider’s no-hit bid alive for Senzel’s soft liner to center falling for Michael Harris II.
AJ Minter threw the seventh and Jesse Chavez the eighth before Will Smith threw the ninth for his fourth save.
The Braves, second in the NL East behind the Mets, have moved up 13 games over .500 with their fourth win in five games and are 2 1/2 games behind New York after the Mets lost to Texas on Saturday.
The loss was Cincinnati’s fourth straight overall and 10th straight home, the team’s longest home loss streak since an 11-game slip in 1986 at Riverfront Stadium. The team fell to a season-high 25 games under .500 at 26-51.
“There is enough frustration, staff, players, myself,” said manager David Bell. “I know our players are doing everything they can to turn this around. I’m looking long and hard at what I have to do to turn this around.”
Tyler Mahlea set a season high with four walks, including Harris II with the bases loaded in the fourth to force Atlanta’s second run. Mahle (3-7) gave up five hits and two runs with five strikeouts. He also hit a batter.
“It was definitely a drag,” Mahle said. “I didn’t make pitches all the time. You like to get out of those games that aren’t good for you with limited damage.”
Riley started the second with his 20th homer of the season, landing four rows deep in the left field seats.
Riley had played 12 straight games without a homer before going deep on Friday. He led off the second on Saturday with a high arc, then scored on Mahle’s basesloaded walk and added an RBI double in Atlanta’s two-run seventh.
“I’m staying on the ball a little bit better than I’ve been lately,” Riley said. “Staying in the middle of the field really helps.”
20 AND COUNTING
Riley’s home run was his 20th of the season, expanding the number of consecutive full seasons (excluding 2020) that Atlanta has had at least one player hit 20 or more home runs before the All-Star break to four – Ozzie Albies in 2018, Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna, Jr. in 2019 and Acuña, Jr. last season.
Mahle got Duvall from first base with one out and the bases loaded in the second inning. Duvall headed into second on what he thought was ball four to Orlando Arcia, but when an appeal turned the call into trick two, Duvall slowly backed down to first and was easily thrown out.
Braves: RHP Jay Jackson (right lat trunk) was activated from the 60-day injured list and optional to Triple-A Gwinnett. … RHP Touki Toussaint has been appointed for assignment. … Adam Duvall was hit by a pitch to the left in the second inning and left the game after the top of the third.
Reds: C Tyler Stephenson (broken right thumb) is expected to begin rehabilitation on Monday. Stephenson has been sidelined since June 10. … SS Kyle Farmer was hit on the left wrist with a pitch that led into the fifth inning and was immediately replaced by Matt Reynolds. Bell was ejected by plate umpire Tripp Gibson.
RHP Charlie Morton (4-3, 4.73 ERA) is scheduled to start for Atlanta against RHP Luis Castillo (3-4, 3.32 ERA) in Sunday’s series final. Morton gave up two hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 7-6 win over Cincinnati on April 8. Castillo threw a career-high 123 pitches over six shutout innings of a 5-3 Reds win over the Cubs in Chicago Tuesday.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports