MLB Baseball

5
Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Cincinnati0 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 590
Atlanta0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 380
3
  W: S. Romano (3-5)   L: R. Dickey (8-8)   S: R. Iglesias (23)
4:35 PM PT5:35 PM MT6:35 PM CT7:35 PM ET19:35 ET23:35 GMT7:35 4:35 PM MST6:35 PM EST7:05 PM VEN3:35 UAE (+1)6:35 PM CT, August 18, 2017
SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Georgia  Attendance: 31,174

Phillips faces Reds as Braves' third baseman

ATLANTA -- Brandon Phillips' first games for the Atlanta Braves against his former Cincinnati Reds teammates during early June came with plenty of emotion and a small dose of controversy.

Phillips received a heart-felt standing ovation from Cincinnati fans his first time up in appreciation for his 11 standout seasons with the Reds, and the three-time National League All-Star showed his love back.

Phillips, though, did voice his displeasure that his former team had quickly given his No. 4 to Reds newcomer Scooter Gennett.

Now there is something else to get used to as the Reds and Braves start a weekend series Friday at SunTrust Park.

Phillips, a four-time Gold Glove winner, is no longer Atlanta's second baseman.

The 36-year-old veteran was moved to third base when the Braves brought up 20-year-old second base prospect Ozzie Albies from the minors at the beginning of August.

Phillips wasn't thrilled about having to play a position he had no experience at. He made the move, though, without public complaint and has adapted quickly to the hot corner.

Phillips, who is batting .282 and is 19 hits short of 2,000 for his career, has played 14 games at third base without an error. He has made several dazzling defensive plays while continuing to be a key part of the Atlanta lineup in the No. 2 spot of the order.

"He's just been playing really, really good," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I'm just amazed at how good he plays third base. He's a really good infielder, but just to go over there and having never played it, how good he's done has been phenomenal."

The Braves (54-65) and Reds (51-71) come into the weekend games at SunTrust Park off high-scoring victories on Thursday that gave them splits of four-game road series. The Braves slugged four homers in a 10-4 victory at Colorado, while the Reds blew a nine-run lead but recorded a 13-10 victory over the Cubs in Chicago.

The Braves won two of the three games at Cincinnati earlier this season.

Atlanta will pitch 42-year-old knuckleball veteran R.A. Dickey in the series opener Friday night against 23-year-old right-hander Sal Romano, the first of three rookies scheduled to start for the Reds over the weekend.

Dickey (8-7, 3.89 ERA) has allowed 13 homers in 12 home starts, but he is 6-2 with a 3.30 ERA in the new Atlanta ballpark.

Dickey, who is 2-5 with a 4.59 ERA on the road despite a strong outing at St. Louis on Sunday, walked five and allowed four earned runs over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision at Cincinnati. He is 1-2 with a 4.82 ERA in five careers games against the Reds.

The hard-throwing Romano (2-5, 6.05 ERA) has made eight starts but just one quality start. He allowed three hits and a run over six innings in a victory against the Miami Marlins on July 23.

"I just have to take bits and pieces from every game and get better as the season goes on," said Romano, who is working on a changeup. "I need to be able to have a three-pitch mix up here in order to be successful."

It is Hank Aaron Heritage weekend, and the Braves will wear throwback uniforms from 1974, when the Hall of Fame slugger broke Babe Ruth's career home run record.

Homer No. 715 came in the Braves' home opener after Aaron tied the record on Opening Day in Cincinnati.

Updated August 18, 2017

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