The Reds win series opener vs. Braves.

Three home runs carry Cincinnati Reds to victory

The two worst teams in the National League played in front of a crowd of 21,989 at Great American Ball Park on Monday. Home runs by Zack Cozart, Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez — all coming in the fourth inning — carried the Reds to an 8-2 victory, their third win in four games since the All-Star break.

The Reds (35-58) have a three-game lead over the Braves (32-61). The Minnesota Twins (33-59) are also contending for the worst record in baseball.

The Braves struck first in the fourth. A double by Jeff Francoeur scored Adonis Garcia.

A solo home run in the bottom of the fourth by Zack Cozart tied the game. Cozart matched his career high with his 15th home run of the season.

Later in the inning, with Billy Hamilton on third after a single, walk and a stolen base, Votto hit his 15th home run. It was the Reds’ 100th home run of the season.

With two outs, Brandon Phillips continued the rally, singling to right. Suarez followed with his 16th home run. The Reds have hit three home runs in an inning three times this season.

Brandon Finnegan (5-7, 4.66) and three relievers protected the lead. Finnegan allowed two earned runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Finnegan has won two starts in a row for the first time this season, though he hasn’t pitched past the fifth inning in his last three starts.

Blake Wood lowered his ERA to 3.05 with a perfect sixth. Raisel Iglesias allowed one hit in two innings. He has allowed one earned run in 16 1/3 innings of relief since coming off the disabled list.

Ross Ohlendorf pitched a scoreless ninth, extending the bullpen’s season-long scoreless streak to 13 innings.

Notes: Hamilton stole three bases. He has 27 this season. He has been successful on his last 11 attempts. … Votto is hitting .328 since June 1, ranking 11th in baseball during that span. His season average stands at .265.

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