Created on Friday, 12 July 2013 Written by CHARLES ODUM,AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Mat Latos said he picked a bad night to keep throwing the ball over the middle of the plate.
Latos gave up six runs and the Reds struggled to contain new All-Star Freddie Freeman in a 6-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
Latos (8-3) lasted only four innings in his shortest start of the season. He gave up nine hits and walked two. The six earned runs allowed matched his season high.
"He got a few balls in the heart of the plate," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "That's probably the worst outing Mat's had since he's been here."
Latos agreed he was hurt by "laying the ball right down the middle." He said the Braves' lineup is imposing.
"That lineup's stacked, one through eight," Latos said. "It's tough not to give up runs and give up hard-hit balls whenever you're throwing the ball down the middle. I just couldn't make the adjustment.
"I made a couple good pitches when I needed to but all in all, I mean the ball was right down the middle of the plate."
Brandon Phillips had two hits and drove in two runs for Cincinnati.
Freeman, who held off Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig to win the fan voting for the final spot on NL All-Star roster, drove in four runs with three hits. He received more than 19 million votes, a record.
The support from the fans continued into the game.
Freeman received a long ovation before his first at-bat. After backing out of the batter's box, he approached the plate again. With fans still chanting "Freddie! Freddie!" he hit a two-run double to center field on the first pitch from Latos to drive in Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton.
"A load off the shoulders," Freeman said. "They voted for you. You want to go out and deliver for them."
The first baseman added run-scoring singles in the second and fourth innings.
Baker said it was Freeman's day.
"He's riding high," Baker said. "The All-Star selection, he has everything going for him right now. It's probably a pleasure and a joy to be Freddie Freeman right now."
Justin Upton also had three hits to help Tim Hudson (6-7) earn his second straight win. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 25th save.
Braves right fielder Jason Heyward left in the second inning with a strained right hamstring and said he won't play on Friday.
Devin Mesoraco led off the Cincinnati ninth with a single. Kimbrel struck out pinch hitter Xavier Paul and Shin-Soo Choo, who had two hits and scored three times. Kimbrel ended the game on Zack Cozart's fly ball to left field.
Simmons walked to lead off the fourth and scored on Reed Johnson's triple to the left-field corner. Upton doubled in Johnson and scored on Freeman's single for a 6-3 lead.
Hudson gave up four runs, three earned, and eight hits in seven innings. His two straight wins came after six consecutive losing decisions.
Choo led off the game with a single. Hudson issued a one-out walk to Joey Votto before giving up run-scoring singles to Phillips and Jay Bruce.
Choo doubled in the third inning and scored on Votto's sacrifice fly. He walked in the fifth and scored on Votto's infield hit and third baseman Chris Johnson's throwing error.
The Reds cut Atlanta's lead to 6-5 with a run off Jordan Walden in the eighth. Cozart reached on Simmons' throwing error and scored on Phillips' double.
With runners on first and second, Walden struck out Todd Frazier and ended the eighth on Chris Heisey's fly.
NOTES: Latos also gave up six runs against Milwaukee on May 11. ... The Reds placed C Ryan Hanigan on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left wrist and recalled C Corky Miller from Triple-A Louisville. ... Braves C-OF Evan Gattis, recovering from a right oblique strain, will begin an injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday. ... Former Braves star Dale Murphy, honored in a pregame ceremony, wore his 1980s-era light blue Braves jersey as he threw out the first pitch to Freeman. ... Atlanta's Kris Medlen (6-8) will face Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo (5-6) in a matchup of right-handers with losing records on Friday night.