ATLANTA (AP) — Through five innings, R.A. Dickey's knuckleball looked almost unhittable.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Sal Romano works in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
The Reds changed that perception quickly with a sudden barrage of home runs.
Cincinnati hit three homers in the sixth, including a two-run shot by Adam Duvall , Sal Romano threw seven strong innings and the Reds beat Dickey and the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Friday night.
Matt Adams' homer in the second inning gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead that Dickey held until the four-run sixth.
"(Dickey) looked like he was on his way to throwing one of those classic nine-inning games or at least getting to the closer," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Duvall's homer drove in Joey Votto, who hit a leadoff single, to give the Reds the lead.
Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker added back-to-back homers with one out for Cincinnati's first three-homer inning of the season.
Winker said seeing Duvall and Suarez hit homers boosted his confidence against the fluttering pitch.
"Seeing (Duvall and Suarez) go deep in front of me, as a hitter you're thinking maybe it didn't move as much," Winker said.
Dickey (8-8) said the Reds' sudden power surge was a surprise on a night his knuckleball "was moving well."
"It was kind of an odd night," Dickey said after allowing four runs in six innings. "I didn't expect a linescore like that for sure. ... It was just a cluster of four or five hitters there in sixth inning that was kind of funny."
Romano (3-5) snapped a streak of three straight losses in August. The rookie right-hander was dominant after giving up a second-inning homer to Adams. He allowed one run and five hits in his longest of nine starts in the majors and lowered his ERA from 6.05 to 5.32.
"Everything is here," Romano said. "I think I've got the tools to be able to pitch up here."
Tyler Flowers had a run-scoring double off Kevin Shackelford in Atlanta's two-run eighth. With Flowers on second base, Adams just missed another homer on a drive to right field that curved foul. Shackelford walked Adams before Blake Wood ended the inning on Ozzie Albies' fly ball to left field.
Rasiel Iglesias pitched the ninth for his 23rd save in 24 chances.
Reds: RHP Scott Feldman was placed on the 10-day DL with right knee inflammation. He will be examined in Cincinnati and could be shut down for the season. The injury affected his velocity and his ability to field his position in Thursday's 13-10 win over the Cubs, in which he allowed five homers and six runs in 3 2/3 innings. OF Scott Schebler (strained left rotator cuff) came off the DL. ... SS Zack Cozart was hit by a pitch on his lower left leg in the seventh. Jose Peraza replaced Cozart in the bottom of the inning.
Braves: OF Danny Santana (left quad strain) was placed on the 10-day DL. IF Micah Johnson was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. ... Manager Brian Snitker said OF Matt Kemp (right hamstring strain) should come off the DL on Saturday after having no problems in an extensive workout.
THROWBACKS FOR AARON
The Braves wore 1974 throwback uniforms to launch their Hank Aaron Heritage Weekend. The 83-year-old Aaron and his wife, Billye, took an open-convertible ride around the field in a pregame ceremony.
The return of Schebler from the DL left Price with six outfielders. Hamilton, Duvall and Winker started and Schebler, Phillip Ervin and Patrick Kivlehan were on the bench. Price said finding playing time for all the outfielders "is going to be the challenge of the remaining six weeks."
Reds: RHP Robert Stephenson (0-4, 6.64) is expected to come off the DL to start on Saturday night. Stephenson went on the DL with a bruised right shoulder on Aug. 6.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (7-10, 4.98) is 3-2 with a 3.62 ERA in six starts against the Reds. He allowed seven runs and 11 hits in five innings in a 13-8 win at the Reds on June 4.
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