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Adams grand slam, homer in 12th send Braves past Reds

CINCINNATI — For much of Saturday it appeared the Braves would waste the precious commodity of an effective outing from their starting pitcher. Then it looked as if Matt Adams changed everything with his first career grand slam.

But that wasn’t enough for the Braves, who gave back another late lead, so Adams delivered another big hit.

Adams homered in the 12th inning to lift the Braves to a 6-5 victory over the Reds. Adams launched right-hander Blake Wood’s 2-1 slider into the seats in left-center field to finally finish off the Reds.

“I told him he did everything but pitch,” Braves reliever Jim Johnson said. “And if we kept playing, he might have to.”

The Braves (23-30) are 3-5 on a trip that ends with a series finale against the Reds (25-29) on Sunday. They had to work hard to earn the latest victory.

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The Reds trailed 5-1 after Adams’ grand slam in the fifth inning, but came back to tie the score in the sixth. The Braves stayed in the game by stranding two Reds base runners in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings and then won when Adams homered again.

The Braves acquired Adams in a trade with the Cardinals soon after placing first baseman Freddie Freeman on the disabled list. At the time of his injury Freeman was among the league leaders in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

Under the circumstances, the Braves believe they did well to acquire Adams as a temporary replacement for Freeman. Adams was a part-time player for most of his six seasons with the Cardinals and now is playing every day and usually batting fifth.

“I feels good knowing you are going to be out there every day,” Adams said. “You get your rhythm back and you are just seeing pitches, that’s the big thing. That helps with recognizing off-speed stuff down.”

Adams has two game-ending hits in his first 12 games with the Braves. Three days after joining the Braves he hit a walk-0ff single to beat the Pirates, following a rain delay of more than three hours.

After Adams’ grand slam in the fifth inning, Dickey and reliever Jason Motte faltered in the sixth. Second baseman Brandon Phillips seemingly committed a defensive blunder, though the Braves contested the call and criticized replay officials for allowing it to stand after a challenge.

With two runners on base and no outs, Dicky walked pinch hitter Patrick Kivlehan to load the bases before giving up an RBI single to Arismendy Alcantara. That prompted Snitker to call on Motte to face Zack Cozart, who got ahead 3-0 in the count before walking to score a run.

The next batter, Joey Votto, hit a two-run single against Motte to complete another Reds comeback. They overcame a two-run deficit in the ninth inning Friday before winning on Mesoraco’s game-ending home run against Jose Ramirez in the 10th.

“We kind of gave that sixth inning away,” Dickey said. “It was great to see our guys fight, fight and fight. They pushed back, and we held our ground and we ended up getting the big hit when we had to.”

Dickey had the Reds off-balance through innings, with Peraza’s solo home run the only big mistake. The Braves produced base runners in each of the first four innings against right-hander Scott Feldman, but couldn’t convert them into runs.

The Braves pressured Feldman again in the fifth. After Phillips reached on a two-base throwing error by third baseman Eugenio Suarez, Nick Markakis walked and Matt Kemp singled to load the bases.

That prompted Reds pitching coach Mack Jenkins to visit with Feldman for a talk. But Feldman delivered a 2-1 cut fastball that Adams sent about 430 feet to center field.

It was the fourth career multi-homer game for Adams, who also singled in the fourth inning. In 31 games at Great American ballpark he’s hitting .330 with nine home runs, six doubles and 21 RBIs.

“It’s just a park that I see the ball good at,” Adams said. “That definitely helps with the confidence going out there feeling comfortable in the box.”

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