CINCINNATI - Jeff Francoeur hit a solo homer for one of Atlanta's four hits, and the Braves took advantage of the wildest performance in Edinson Volquez's career Friday night, walking their way to a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Javier Vazquez (2-1) went six innings for the slumping Braves, who had lost seven of nine heading into the weekend series. They emerged from their rut with a lot of help from Volquez (2-2), who gave up only one hit in five innings - Francoeur's homer - but couldn't throw a strike when he needed.
The right-hander has struggled with his control since spring training, and reached a new low against Atlanta. He walked a career-high seven batters and hit another in only five innings, helping the Braves pull ahead 3-2.
The crowd booed last year's All-Star as he walked the bases loaded with two outs in the fourth, then walked Vazquez - who hasn't had a hit since 2006 - and Kelly Johnson to force in a pair of runs. The 40-pitch inning was the wildest by a Red since Ryan Dempster walked six in the second inning at Colorado on April 30, 2003.
Volquez's wildness got under the Braves' skin in the third, when he hit Yunel Escobar in the side. The shortstop dropped his bat, took a few steps toward the mound and pointed at Volquez, who raised his arms in a puzzled gesture.
Plate umpire Tim Tschida stepped in front of Escobar and blocked his way, preventing it from escalating. Both benches and bullpens emptied, but it was mostly for show. Several players laughed as they milled around the infield.
The Reds were coming off one of their best road trips in the last five years - they won all three series - but couldn't keep the momentum going because they couldn't throw strikes. Cincinnati pitchers walked a season-high 10 batters.
Vazquez has been solid since the Braves got him from the White Sox in a six-player deal last December. The right-hander has gone six innings in each of his four starts and allowed no more than three runs. Joey Votto and Alex Gonzalez had RBI singles off Vazquez, who struck out nine.
Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth, the first run allowed by Rafael Soriano this season. Left-hander Mike Gonzalez pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in three chances.
Atlanta's Chipper Jones went 0-for-5 on his 37th birthday. The third baseman had been a .500 career hitter with four homers on his birthdays.
Notes: The Braves placed OF Garret Anderson on the 15-day DL retroactive to Monday with a strained left thigh. Anderson had missed the last three games. ... OF Brandon Jones was called up from Triple-A. Jones batted .267 in 41 games with Atlanta last season. ... Atlanta C Brian McCann was a late scratch with blurriness in his left eye, which has bothered him the last few days. ... Reds 3B Edwin Encarnacion snapped an 0-for-15 slump.