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DeSclafani allows big hits after rare walks

Special to MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Anthony DeSclafani allowed six walks in his first four starts of the season, and he hadn't issued more than two in a game.

The young right-hander issued a career-high five walks on Friday night at Turner Field, and two of them, in consecutive innings, came back to hurt the Reds, who let a three-run lead slip away in a 4-3 loss to the Braves.

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ATLANTA -- Anthony DeSclafani allowed six walks in his first four starts of the season, and he hadn't issued more than two in a game.

The young right-hander issued a career-high five walks on Friday night at Turner Field, and two of them, in consecutive innings, came back to hurt the Reds, who let a three-run lead slip away in a 4-3 loss to the Braves.

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"I fell behind a lot of guys and didn't get back in the count," said DeSclafani, who dropped his second straight decision and saw his record fall to 2-2. "I don't remember the last time I walked five guys. I have to do a better job, for sure."

The first of those walks came in the fourth, to Atlanta's eighth-place hitter, Eric Young Jr., who he had at 2-2 but was unable to put away. In the second inning, Young was walked, that time intentionally, and DeSclanfani retired rookie pitcher Mike Foltynewicz (1-0) on a comebacker. But in the fourth, Foltynewicz jumped on a first-pitch fastball, lining it into the gap in left-center, scoring two runs, including Young, to cut the Reds' lead to 3-2.

Video: CIN@ATL: Foltynewicz's first hit is a two-run double

"Obviously, I didn't know if he was swinging first pitch or taking first pitch, so I just tried getting a strike in there," DeSclafani said. "It was too good of a strike.

"It was just a couple of pitches that got away and then probably trying to make too good of a pitch instead of attacking. You obviously have the pitcher right there and you don't want to give in to Young, but looking back at it, I probably should have attacked him a little bit more with my fastball instead of trying to chase something."

"The walk to Young and then making a center mistake to the pitcher, you certainly couldn't have anticipated that guy hitting a two-run double," Reds manager Bryan Price. "With a runner at first and two outs, going after Young was big. He just couldn't get that final strike, and the kid did a nice job hitting a double on a first-pitch fastball."

The other key walk came with one out in the fifth, to Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman. DeSclafani bounced back and struck out catcher A.J. Pierzynski, but then grooved an 0-1 pitch that left fielder Kelly Johnson hit out for his fourth homer of the season, giving Atlanta the lead for good.

Video: CIN@ATL: Johnson's two-run homer gives Braves lead

"That was the catalyst of their offense, for sure," Price said. "He really got hurt by the walks that led into the double and the home run. But he competed well. He went after them. They threw a bunch of lefties out there, and you have to tip your hat to them, sometimes too."

"He just made one mistake," said second baseman Brandon Phillips, one of three Reds with two hits. "That's the thing about this game. You make one mistake and it will hurt you. Kelly just took advantage of it. Other than that, he pitched a real good game."

DeSclafani refused to admit he was thrown by the Braves throwing seven lefty hitters at him and said he is confident he'll handle future teams that try a similar strategy.

"I think I know how to pitch to lefties," said DeSclafani, who is allowing lefties to hit .263 with a .333 on-base percentage; righties are hitting .075 with a .125 OBP. "I was going into the lefties early. I think they kind of saw that and made an adjustment. Right there is where I have to make an adjustment and start throwing fastballs away to make the inner half effective. Obviously, I caught that too late."

Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com.

Cincinnati Reds, Anthony DeSclafani