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Harang mental lapse costs Braves

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm •  Published: August 24, 2014
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CINCINNATI (AP) — Aaron Harang figures he's covered first base thousands of times in his career.

The one time he didn't sent the Atlanta Braves to a 5-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

Cincinnati had runners on first and second with one in the fourth inning of a scoreless tie when Jay Bruce hit a chopper up the line to first baseman Freddie Freeman. Harang started to come off the mound, then stopped as he thought the ball was going foul. Bruce was safe, opening the door for a three-run inning.

"Something as small as covering first base, which I've done thousands of times in my career," Harang said. "The one time I don't do it, the inning unravels. If I cover first, the next guy flies out to right field and the inning's over."

Alfredo Simon pitched seven strong innings to earn his first win in eight starts since the All-Star break and Todd Frazier homered as the Reds held on to salvage a split of the four-game series after losing the first two games.

Simon (13-8) opened with six shutout innings before yielding a run in the seventh. He allowed five hits with one walk and six strikeouts over seven innings.

Evan Gattis led off the ninth with his 20th homer and Jonathan Broxton gave up Jason Heyward's RBI single before coaxing Justin Upton into grounding into a base-loaded forceout to end the game. That left Atlanta 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the game and a combined 3-for-22 while scoring a total of six runs over the last three games, which didn't concern manager Fredi Gonzalez.

"What were we before that?" he wondered. "When you're not scoring runs, you're going to get that."

The Braves hadn't lost two straight games since Aug. 11-12 against the Dodgers.

The Reds strung together five hits in their three-run fourth. After Ryan Ludwick came up with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly, Brayan Pena and Zack Cozart added RBI singles while sending Harang to his first loss in four career starts against his former team.

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