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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, May 23rd (All times Eastern)

Atlanta Braves (26-18) at Cincinnati Reds (23-19), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - Tommy Hanson (5-3, 3.31) Cincinnati - Bronson Arroyo (2-2, 3.46)

(Sports Network) - Two of the elite teams in the National League's East and Central divisions - the Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds - square off tonight in the third test of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.

The Braves enter the night second in the East, trailing the Washington Nationals by a half-game after a 4-3 loss to the Reds in game two on Tuesday.

Cincinnati, meanwhile, is also second in the Central, where it trails the defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals by a half-game as well.

On Tuesday, Brandon Phillips hit two home runs and Zack Cozart added a solo blast for the Reds. Mat Latos (3-2) gave up two runs on five hits and fanned eight over seven innings as Cincinnati won its fourth straight.

"I've been throwing a lot of pitches just to get to five innings," Latos said. "I was just ready to go. I was tired of just going five innings so it was good to go seven for once."

Aroldis Chapman struck out two and stranded a runner in the ninth to pick up his second save of the season.

Michael Bourn had a pair of solo homers and Jason Heyward had a RBI double for the Braves, losers in three of four.

Brandon Beachy (5-2) took the loss after giving up four runs on six hits over seven frames.

"I guess you have to tip your hat to their starting pitching," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "You hand the ball off to their bullpen and you're going to be in trouble."

Atlanta starts game three with right-hander Tommy Hanson, an Oklahoma native who's won his last two starts and is 12 games above .500 in his career.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder was 3-3 after losing to the Chicago Cubs on May 7 at Wrigley Field, then won at St. Louis and Tampa Bay while combining to allowing three runs on 11 hits in 12 innings of work.

The former 22nd-round draft pick has won 11, 10 and 11 games in three big- league seasons while posting consecutive earned run averages of 2.89, 3.33 and 3.60.

He's 1-2 in four career starts against the Reds.

Cincinnati replies with right-hander Bronson Arroyo, who's facing the Braves for the 15th time in his 300th big-league start.

The 35-year-old Key West, Fla. native is seven games over .500 in 335 career appearances, which have yielded 114 wins, a save and a 4.26 ERA.

He last won on May 7 at Milwaukee with 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, but was a 4-0 loser in New York against the Yankees in his last start on May 18.

Arroyo was a hard-luck loser in that game, entering the eighth inning with a 1-0 deficit before giving up a pair of home runs with two outs.

The Reds are 5-3 in his eight starts and Arroyo is 6-3 with a 5.68 ERA in 77 2/3 innings against the Braves.

The Braves and Reds split six games in 2011 and were 1-1 this season in a pair of games in Atlanta on May 14-15.

05/23 10:44:43 ET

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