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Flowers' grand slam guides Braves past Reds

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- After helping Braves' starting pitcher Sean Newcomb escape a pair of bases-loaded threats at SunTrust Park on Sunday afternoon, catcher Tyler Flowers ensured Cincinnati relief pitcher Drew Storen would not encounter the same good fortune. Flowers' grand slam off Storen highlighted a six-run fifth inning that allowed the Braves to cruise toward an 8-1 win over the Reds.

While Newcomb managed to work out of trouble numerous times through five stress-filled scoreless innings, Storen allowed four runs on the first four pitches he threw. Storen replaced Luis Castillo, who struck out eight through four innings, and proceeded to retire just one of the first seven batters faced. The big blow came courtesy of the second career grand slam for Flowers, who has accounted for 11 of the 24 home runs he and backup catcher Kurt Suzuki have combined to hit this season.

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ATLANTA -- After helping Braves' starting pitcher Sean Newcomb escape a pair of bases-loaded threats at SunTrust Park on Sunday afternoon, catcher Tyler Flowers ensured Cincinnati relief pitcher Drew Storen would not encounter the same good fortune. Flowers' grand slam off Storen highlighted a six-run fifth inning that allowed the Braves to cruise toward an 8-1 win over the Reds.

While Newcomb managed to work out of trouble numerous times through five stress-filled scoreless innings, Storen allowed four runs on the first four pitches he threw. Storen replaced Luis Castillo, who struck out eight through four innings, and proceeded to retire just one of the first seven batters faced. The big blow came courtesy of the second career grand slam for Flowers, who has accounted for 11 of the 24 home runs he and backup catcher Kurt Suzuki have combined to hit this season.

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Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

"I told Suzuki today it's hard to keep one of you in there because you're both doing so well," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It's good to see and Tyler did a really good job [catching Newcomb]. We really needed that one. It was good to get it like that because it was good to be able to stay away from some guys in the bullpen today."

Video: CIN@ATL: Markakis plates a pair to open the scoring

Newcomb managed to keep the Reds scoreless and notch his first career home win despite issuing four unintentional walks and allowing nine of the last 17 batters faced to reach safely. The rookie southpaw produced one of the two defensive gems needed to escape the bases-loaded threat in the third inning. He induced a Jose Peraza double-play groundout and then left them loaded again in the fifth when his outing concluded with Scooter Gennett's flyout.

Video: CIN@ATL: Newcomb tosses five frames of scoreless ball

"He did a nice job out there," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "That was our A-grade lineup right there minus Cozart. It was our regular lineup and he pitched us well."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Four pitches and four runs: It didn't look like the Braves were going to have much fun when Castillo struck out six of the first nine batters faced. But after the rookie hurler was limited to 90 pitches over four innings, Brandon Phillips greeted Storen with one of his three singles and Freddie Freeman followed with a ground rule double on the next pitch. Nick Markakis was intentionally walked before Flowers drilled a 1-0 slider a projected 405 feet into the left-field seats.

"In that situation, I was trying to hit a fly ball to right," Flowers said. "It was a good approach to have off that guy. He's a fastball, slider guy. If it was a fastball, I was trying to hit a fly ball to right to get the guy in and get the guy over for the next guy behind me. It was offspeed, so I just caught it out a little bit in front."

Video: CIN@ATL: Flowers powers Braves to six-run 5th inning

Threat-killing gems: It appeared Newcomb was in trouble when a Peraza walk set the stage for Joey Votto to come to the plate with one out and the bases loaded in the third inning. Votto was robbed of a potential extra-base hit when his liner was snared by second baseman Ozzie Albies' leaping grab.

Video: CIN@ATL: Albies leaps to rob Votto of a hit

This gem was trumped moments later when Newcomb rushed toward Adam Duvall's slow roller, dove to the ground and managed to provide an accurate flip to first base to record the out.

Video: Must C Crafty: Newcomb nabs Duvall while lying down

"He was getting ahead and a guy like that with good stuff is tough," Gennett said. "I think if we capitalized a little bit more in those tough situations, it is a totally different outcome."

QUOTABLE
"Tip your hat to the lefty as Newcomb pitched a nice ball game. His fastball was sitting at 93-94 mph and had some jump to it. It was seeing him the first time through that some of the guys had difficulty picking up the fastball. He had a lot of called strikes and well located fastballs that was established the first time through the lineup."-- Price, on seeing Newcomb for the first time

"He's just playing unbelievable third base. It's so relaxing to have him over there because you don't even worry about it now. It's hard to find somebody who plays [the position] any better." -- Snitker on Phillips, who made a quick feed to second base in the process of completing the double play against Peraza in the fifth inning.

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Flowers' grand slam was the third hit by the Braves this season and the first recorded at home by an Atlanta player since Evan Gattis damaged Vance Worley with one during a May 22, 2013 game against the Twins at Turner Field. The Braves tallied six slams on the road in between these two most recent hit at home.

WHAT'S NEXT
Reds: Cincinnati is off on Monday before returning home to start a three-game set against the Cubs Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Homer Bailey will start the series opener at Great American Ball Park and owns a career 4.66 ERA against Chicago.

Braves: Mike Foltynewicz will attempt to halt his recent struggles when Atlanta opens a three-game series at home against Seattle on Monday at 7:35 p.m. ET. Foltynewicz has allowed at least five earned runs in three of his past four starts.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta and covered the Reds on Sunday.