Hale dominates as Braves shut down Reds 4-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm •  Published: April 26, 2014
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ATLANTA (AP) — David Hale made things difficult on the Reds by facing the minimum 21 batters over his last seven innings.

That performance leaves Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez with a tough decision.

Hale allowed only two hits over eight innings in a performance that may not be enough to save his spot in Atlanta's rotation and the Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 on Saturday night.

Hale (1-0) has a 2.31 ERA in four starts but could lose his spot in the rotation next week, when left-hander Mike Minor is expected to come off the disabled list.

Hale, a rookie right-hander, had good command of his sinkerball as he made it difficult for the Braves to send him back to Triple-A Gwinnett.

"I mean, obviously that stuff runs through my head," Hale said of keeping his spot in the rotation. "I try not to let it get too deep in there. My goal is to be here and do the best I can and let things fall the way they will, so we'll see what happens."

Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton and Evan Gattis each homered off Cincinnati's Mike Leake (2-2).

Hale gave up a walk and two hits, including Ryan Ludwick's run-scoring double, in the first inning. He didn't allow another hit over the next seven innings.

"So he threw a no-hitter after that," Ludwick said.

"He did an outstanding job. What did we have? Two hits? ... Not a whole lot of offense."

Reds manager Bryan Price said Hale "just never really gave us a chance. He pitched really well. It was very impressive."

Cincinnati's only other baserunner against Hale came on Jay Bruce's leadoff walk in the fourth, and the Braves ended that inning with a double play.

Craig Kimbrel closed the combined two-hitter — a season low for the Reds — for his eighth save.

Kimbrel gave up a one-out walk to Joey Votto in the ninth before striking out Brandon Phillips and Bruce to end the game.

Freeman hit a two-run homer in the first inning. Upton and Gattis hit back-to-back homers in the third. Upton, who also hit a homer in the Braves' 5-4 win on Friday night, leads the team with seven.

Ludwick reached over the left-field wall to take another homer away from Freeman in the third inning.

The three homers matched the most allowed in a game by Leake, who gave up four runs and eight hits in seven innings.

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