Braves homer three times, beat Reds

ATLANTA (AP) -- Keith Lockhart hasn't found his groove yet as a

pinch-hitter. Maybe a day in the starting lineup will do the trick.

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Lockhart made the most of a rare start Sunday, hitting a

three-run homer to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 7-5 victory over

the Cincinnati Reds.

Ken Griffey Jr., making his second start since returning from a

seven-week stint on the disabled list, went 0-for-4 for the Reds.

Lockhart was one of baseball's best pinch-hitters last year,

going 15-for-42 (.326), but he's only 2-for-28 in that role in

2002. Making just his second start in two weeks, Lockhart went

2-for-3 in place of second baseman Marcus Giles.

"When you come off the bench, all you really see is

batting-practice fastballs, at batting-practice speeds,'' Lockhart

said. "It's good to get some starts.''

Vinny Castilla and Wes Helms also homered for Atlanta to back

starter Greg Maddux (5-2), who struggled through 5 2/3 innings.

Maddux allowed three runs and seven hits, leaving after giving up

three straight two-out hits, including Corky Miller's two-run

homer.

Mike Remlinger relieved and retired pinch-hitter Brady Clark on

a groundout to end the inning.

"I made three bad pitches and they hit all three really hard,''

Maddux said. "I thought I threw pretty good. I thought I located

well.''

After Miller's home run cut the Braves' lead to 5-3, Castilla

and Helms homered to lead off the sixth against Reds reliever Luis

Pineda. Castilla hit a 1-0 curve into the seats down the left-field

line, and Helms followed by driving a 1-2 fastball over the wall in

left-center, a 421-foot shot.

Helms, who entered the game in a 9-for-62 slump, finished

3-for-4. He struck out in his last at-bat, when he needed a triple

to hit for the cycle.

"I didn't really think about it until somebody in the stands

behind the on-deck circle yelled,'' said Helms, who admitted

swinging for the triple. "We had a five-run lead. I wouldn't have

done it with a one-run lead.''

Lockhart also started a first-inning rally with a walk off Chris

Reitsma (3-1), and scored on Darren Bragg's triple.

"You want to get four or five hits. You want to be in there the

next day,'' Lockhart said. "You have to try to be patient, and

focus and learn from it, even if you're on the bench the next

day.''

Although he wasn't sharp, Maddux held the Reds scoreless until

the sixth. With two outs, Barry Larkin doubled down the left-field

line. Aaron Boone hit one off the wall for another double -- his

third straight hit -- that scored Larkin, and Miller hit his third

home run of the season.

"He had gotten me on the first pitch with a changeup, so I was

looking for it again,'' Miller said. "He left it up, probably

where he didn't want it, and I was able to hit it pretty well.''

An error by Cincinnati first baseman Adam Dunn led to four

unearned runs in the second. Helms led off with a single, then

moved to third on Henry Blanco's ground-rule double. Helms was

thrown out at the plate trying to score on Maddux's grounder, and

it looked as if the Reds might get out of the inning.

But after Dunn moved to his right to field Rafael Furcal's

grounder, he made a wild throw to Reitsma, who was covering first.

Lockhart then hit his second homer.

"It a tough play, because you know Furcal's running down the

line and he's fast,'' Reitsma said. "I had to get to the bag, and

the ball was on the ground. I tried to plant my foot and grab it,

but it hit off my glove.''

Austin Kearns hit a two-run homer for the Reds in the ninth off

John Smoltz.

Game notes

Cincinnati 1B Sean Casey was the odd man out of the Reds

lineup Sunday. With Griffey back, manager Bob Boone has said he

would rotate a day off between Casey, Kearns and Dunn. ... Griffey

is 1-for-8 since coming off the DL on Friday. ... Larkin's double

in the sixth moved him into a tie with Johnny Bench for third on

the Reds' career list with 381. ... Atlanta LF Chipper Jones was

2-for-4.