Nothing eases a pitcher back into the flow after a stint on the disabled list like an offensive outburst from his teammates.
Unfortunately for Cincinnati Reds rookie right-hander Amir Garrett, he wasn’t around long enough to see it, let alone benefit.
Garrett gave up nine runs on seven hits and lasted just 2.2 innings in a 13-8 loss to Atlanta on Sunday before a crowd of 26,227 at Great American Ball Park.
It was Garrett’s first start since May 23, when he gave up seven runs in five innings at Cleveland and landed on the disabled list with hip inflammation.
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Garrett gave up a run in the first, three in the second and five in the third to put the Reds in a 9-2 hole. They climbed back within 11-8 before three Braves relievers held them hitless over the final 3.2 innings.
Here are five things to know about Sunday’s game:
Garrett began the season with back-to-back wins and was 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA when the Reds sent him to Triple-A Louisville to limit his innings.
Since then, he’s 0-3 with a 16.18 ERA, but Garrett refused to blame the brief demotion on his slide.
“It wasn’t something that just popped up out of the blue,” Garrett said. “We discussed it and everything like that. As a competitor in my situation, I’m going to be a little upset, but I don’t think that affected me at all. No matter where you are, you still have to do the job, still have to pitch.”
Garrett did say that Sunday’s shaky performance likely was a result of him trying to do much in his first appearance in 12 days.
“I felt good, but probably was trying to do too much out there instead of letting it flow,” he said. “There’s a learning curve. You just should just go out there and pitch how you normally do and not try to do too much.
“I’m going to get back on track,” he added. “I’m very confident in myself and the way I pitch. I’m still as confident as ever.”
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart continued his push for an All-Star appearance with two home runs and a triple while tying his career-high with five RBIs.
Cozart has reached base safely in 26 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the majors and longest by a Reds shortstop since Barry Larkin in 2000.
Sunday was his fourth career multi-homer game and second this season (Tuesday at Toronto), and he became the first Reds player since Jay Bruce in 2009 to have two home runs and a triple in a game.
Jake Buchanan pitched a career-high 5.1 innings after relieving Garrett in the top of the third. His previous career high of five innings, which he achieved twice, came as a starter.
It was the longest appearance by a Reds reliever since Dave Holmberg went 5.2 on Sept. 8, 2014, against St. Louis, and the longest by a right-hander since Carlos Fisher’s 5.2 on May 25, 2011, against Philadelphia.
Buchanan’s longest relief appearance had been 4.1 innings in his major-league debut on June 21, 2014, at Tampa as a member of the Houston Astros.
Buchanan’s day also included his first career hit and RBI on a one-out single to left as part of a three-run fourth inning.
The combination of hot weather — the 86-degree game-time temperature was the second warmest of the season — and shaky starting pitching resulted in the Reds and Braves combing for 26 hits, 15 of which went for extra bases.
The Braves scored a season-high 13 runs on the strength of three home runs and five doubles, while the Reds had three home runs, a triple and three doubles.
Ender Inciarte had one of the team’s homers, a three-run shot that chased Garrett, as part of his career high-tying five hits. Inciarte also singled four times and was hit by a pitch while driving in a career-high five runs.
Danny Santana added a home run and two doubles as part of his four-hit, three-RBI day. And Matt Adams, who homered twice in Saturday’s win, went deep again with a solo shot to start the five-run third.
For the Reds, Joey Votto (2 for 4, double), Tucker Barnhart (2 for 4, two doubles) and Arismendy Alcantara (two-run home run) added to the pop provided by Cozart.
Run of runs
Cozart’s two-run home run in the first inning marked the 10th time in 13 games the Reds have scored in the opening frame and ran their streak of consecutive games with at least one homer to 15.
That’s the longest active streak in the majors and the longest by the Reds since they homered in 18 straight from May 11-29, 2010.