Reds third baseman Scott Rolen, right, presents Braves third baseman Chipper Jones with a framed base during a ceremony honoring Jones before Thursday’s game — Jones’ final in Riverfront Stadium.
Reds send Chipper out with classy celebration
CINCINNATI — Braves third baseman Chipper Jones received a base as a memento of his final trip to Cincinnati.
The Reds honored Jones before the final game of their series on Thursday. They’ve used bases with Jones’ name on the side in all four games.
Reds third baseman Scott Rolen presented Jones with one of the bases in a frame.
The Reds also showed a montage of Jones’ highlights on the video board. He got a standing ovation from the fans. Jones has already said he’s going to retire after the season.
He wanted to play in the series but had been limited to one pinch-hit appearance. He took a grounder off his left calf last Friday and has been out of the starting lineup since then, unable to move well because of swelling in the leg.
CINCINNATI — The beat-up Braves just wanted to leave.
Reds rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco capped a series full of homers with his first career grand slam Thursday night, leading Cincinnati to a 6-3 victory and a four-game sweep.
Atlanta has played 16 of its last 20 games on the road. The Braves won nine of those first 12 road games, then fell apart in Cincinnati, where they hadn’t been swept in a four-game series since 1980 at Riverfront Stadium.
“Oh, I’m so ready to go home,” said reliever Kris Medlen, who gave up the slam in the sixth. “It’s been a super-long month on the road.”
Now, the Braves have their first four-game losing streak since they dropped the first four games of the season. They’ll remember this one as four bad days in one of the majors’ most homer-friendly ballparks.
In a free-swinging series, they couldn’t keep up.
It didn’t help that they were missing two of their top hitters. Third baseman Chipper Jones was limited to one pinch-hit appearance because of a bruised left calf. Catcher Brian McCann missed the last three games with an illness.
“They’re definitely rolling right now,” catcher David Ross said of the Reds. “They’ve got a lot of confidence. Their pitching staff is better than I think people give them credit for. And we’re a little banged up right now, not 100 percent.”
The Reds have won six straight, their longest winning streak since August 2010 when they started their push toward the NL Central title by taking seven in a row.
The teams combined for 16 homers — 13 solo shots — accounting for 21 of the 24 runs in the series.
Mesoraco connected after Medlen relieved Randall Delgado (2-5) with the bases loaded in the sixth. Drew Stubbs added a solo shot for Cincinnati.
Homer Bailey (3-3) gave up four hits in six innings, including Michael Bourn’s two-run homer. Bailey got back-to-back wins for the first time this season, coming off a victory in Yankee Stadium on Saturday.
Logan Ondrusek pitched the ninth for his second save in three chances, giving up a pair of singles before getting a double play.
Cincinnati won the series opener with four solo homers, three of them in a row. Todd Frazier’s solo shot in the ninth on Wednesday night sent them to a 2-1 win, the first game-ending homer of his career.
Frazier also doubled home the first run off Delgado, who gave up seven hits and three walks in 5 1-3 innings. Delgado hasn’t won since April 17, going 0-5 with two no-decisions.
“I just thought that one inning unraveled on him a little bit,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Cincinnati’s third grand slam of the season provided the finishing touch.
Mesoraco, who hadn’t homered since April 27, pulled a 2-0 fastball that stayed just inside the left-field foul pole. He walked a few feet down the line, holding his bat while watching to see if the ball stayed fair, then put his head down and rounded the bases on his fourth major league homer.
He wasn’t the only one watching to see if the ball would slice foul.
“I was standing there (in suspense) just as long as he was,” Medlen said. “I saw it was 10 feet to the right of the pole before it got there.”
The 23,312 fans also made Mesoraco come out for a curtain call.
Bourn hit a two-run homer in the fifth off Bailey, his third homer of the series. He also had his first multihomer game during the series. Juan Francisco added a solo homer.
The Reds honored Jones before the game, presenting him with one of the bases as a memento of his last trip to Cincinnati. Jones plans to retire after the season. He got a standing ovation from the crowd after highlights of his career were shown on the video board.
NOTES: The Braves return home for a six-game series against Washington and St. Louis. The Reds conclude a weekend homestand with a weekend series against Colorado. … Reds reliever Nick Masset made about 30 throws before the game, the first time he’s thrown a ball while recovering from an inflamed right shoulder. He’s scheduled to throw again on Friday. The setup man has been on the DL since spring training.