- Associated Press - Monday, July 18, 2016

CINCINNATI (AP) - Matt Wisler got a little tentative with the top of the Cincinnati Reds’ order, and it cost him a game.

Zack Cozart, Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez homered off the right-hander in the fourth inning as the Reds got the better of a matchup between the NL’s two worst teams, beating the Atlanta Braves 8-2 on Monday night.

The Reds (35-58) have taken three of five this season against the Braves, who have the majors’ worst record (32-61). Atlanta is 19-31 all-time at Great American Ball Park, including five losses in its last six games.

Wisler (4-9) has given up five homers in his last two starts. Cozart led off the fourth with his 15th homer, and Votto extended his second-half resurgence with a two-run shot. Suarez’s two-run homer just inside the left-field foul pole made it 5-1.

“The ball started getting up,” Wisler said. “Once the ball started getting up, they started teeing it up on me. I can’t keep having outings like this. It’s frustrating.”

After facing only nine batters in the first three innings, Wisler appeared to get a little tentative with his pitches - a bad thing in a hitter-friendly ballpark.

“He just wasn’t aggressive, I think,” interim manager Brian Snitker said. “The ball kind of ran back over the plate, the ball to Votto. He kind of lost a little aggressiveness in his pitching and it hurt him. You’ve got to be on the attack. You’ve got to be the aggressor.”

Votto later added an RBI single. In four games since returning from the All-Star break, Votto is 8 for 15. His homer came on a 2-2 pitch that wandered over the middle of the plate.

“I had him right where I wanted, and I missed with a pitch,” Wisler said.

Left-hander Brandon Finnegan (5-7) pitched into the sixth and gave up seven hits - three of them by Adonis Garcia, who hit a solo homer in the sixth. Finnegan had lost three of his last four starts, giving up 20 runs in 19 innings.

Wisler won his last start, 11-8 over the White Sox in Chicago on July 8 despite giving up six runs, including two homers. Since the start of June, he is 2-4 in eight starts with a 7.06 ERA.

Billy Hamilton singled three times, scored a run and stole three bases for a total of 27, the third-most in the NL.

STATS

Wisler also gave up three homers in an inning on June 11 against the Cubs. … It was the third time this season that the Reds hit three homers in an inning. They also did it April 23 against the Cubs and May 4 against the Giants. … Garcia has hit safely in all five games against the Reds this season, going 11 for 22 with two homers. … Cozart’s 15 homers match his career high. He most recently hit 15 in 2012. Twelve of his 15 have been solo shots.

MESORACO SURGERY

Reds C Devin Mesoraco had surgery on his right hip Monday, his third major operation in a year. He had surgery on the left hip last season and was back for opening day. He had surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. The right hip started bothering him early this season, and doctors advised that it would require surgery at some point as well.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: RH Shae Simmons threw a simulated game on Monday. He’s recovering from Tommy John surgery in February 2015.

Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips was back in the lineup after missing two games with a strained right calf. He went 1 for 3 - extending his hitting streak to seven games - and left for a pinch hitter in the seventh.

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Tyrell Jenkins (0-1, 4.50) makes his second career start and sixth major league appearance.

Reds: LHP Cody Reed (0-4, 8.39) makes his sixth career start. He has failed to last five innings in his last three starts.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjoekay

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