Braves starter Kris Medlen turned in one of his best outings of the season on May 7 against the Reds, allowing two runs and four hits in seven innings, but he did so in what turned out to be a heartbreaking loss. On Friday at Turner Field, he'll look to duplicate that performance and also get his record (7-8) back to .500 on the season.
Medlen was in line for the win when he left his first start against the Reds, but the bullpen gave up three runs, including back-to-back homers to end the game. In the first four innings, Medlen gave up one hit -- a homer -- and said afterward it was the best he felt all season to that point.
The 27-year-old right-hander couldn't say the same after his most recent start, in which he gave up a career-high seven runs (six earned) to the Phillies. Six of those runs came with two outs, with the other coming by way of a home run.
"It was one of those days for me," Medlen said. "I felt like I jumped ahead OK and I was ahead of guys. But putting guys away was a different story. I threw balls off the plate and they hit them."
The Braves took two of three from the Reds in that three-game series in early May, including one win over right-hander Bronson Arroyo, who will take the mound on Friday. Arroyo went just five innings against Atlanta -- his second-shortest outing of the season -- giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks along the way.
"That was definitely a battle," Arroyo said after his May 6 appearance against the Braves. "Top to bottom, that's a really powerful lineup. A lot of threats are in there. You have to be a little bit more nitpicky. I wound up getting guys on base early in almost every inning. When you do that, it forces you to throw more pitches, especially against a lineup as deep as these guys were."
Atlanta's lineup might not be as strong as usual on Friday. Braves right fielder Jason Heyward exited Thursday's series opener in the second inning with a strained right hamstring, which he appeared to sustain as he rounded second going from first to third on a Justin Upton infield single. The Braves announced that Heyward, who walked off the field on his own power, would be re-evaluated on Friday.
Heyward missed the first series against the Reds, as he was on the disabled list following an emergency appendectomy. In seven career at-bats against Arroyo, Heyward has just one hit -- a solo home run.
Braves: Freeman earns All-Star nod
Before Freddie Freeman drilled a two-run double in his first at-bat on Thursday, the Braves first baseman received an ovation from the hometown crowd. Thanks to those fans and many others, Freeman will make his first All-Star appearance on Tuesday.
As part of a record-setting turnout, Freeman earned the National League's Final Vote selection, collecting more votes (19.7 million) than any player ever has in the process. He beat out heavy favorite Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers. Freeman returned the favor on Thursday by driving in four runs and going 3-for-4 at the plate.
"It's just an amazing thing," Freeman said. "I didn't even know fans knew about me. I just try to stay low and play baseball. To get this much love and support from everybody is just unimaginable."
• Chris Johnson extended his season-best hit streak to 12 games with a 1-for-4 performance on Thursday. Johnson is batting .396 (19-for-48) during the streak, with six multi-hit games.
Reds: Hanigan hits DL with strained left wrist
With fellow catcher Devin Mesoraco battling back spasms, Ryan Hanigan did his best to fight through his own injury issues. But the only way Hanigan's strained left wrist is going to get any better is if he gives it some rest, leading to the Reds' decision to put him on the disabled list before Thursday's game against the Braves.
"We tried to gut it out and he tried to gut it out and we tried to wait as long as possible," manager Dusty Baker said. "It got to a point where it wasn't going to get well if he kept swinging and kept diddling with it. So we thought we'd use the DL. With four days off and the All-Star break, he'll probably miss no more than 10 games instead of 15."
To replace Hanigan, the Reds called up 37-year-old veteran Corky Miller from Triple-A Louisville. Miller played in six games for Cincinnati at the end of April and early May and batted .125.
"A guy like Corky Miller knows our staff," the manager said. "He was Devin [Mesoraco's] mentor, so he'll even make him better by being here. Hopefully he can contribute some while he's here playing."
• The Reds set a franchise record on Thursday when the bullpen notched its 10th straight game without surrendering a run. Logan Ondrusek and Alfredo Simon each pitched two scoreless innings in the series opener, making it 28 2/3 innings without a run off a reliever.
• Brian McCann, the reigning National League Co-Player of the Week with the Reds' Homer Bailey, enters Friday with a .450 average (9-for-20), four home runs and seven RBIs against Arroyo.
• Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo is 7-for-17 (.412) on the current road trip, and he carries a nine-game hit streak into Friday.
• The Braves are the best home team in baseball this season, going 30-13 (.698) at Turner Field.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.