Reds middle too much for Brewers
CINCINNATI (AP) — Jimmy Nelson didn’t have what he needed, turning the middle of Cincinnati’s lineup into Murderer’s Row — at least for a day.
Jay Bruce homered and drove in three runs against Nelson, Michael Lorenzen won for the first time in more than two months and the Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 Sunday to avoid a sweep.
Brandon Phillips also homered and had three hits for the Reds, who overcame Ryan Braun’s 25th homer of the year in the eighth inning to end Milwaukee’s six-game winning streak.
“That game was all about the middle of their lineup,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. They have a formidable middle of the lineup. We’ve kept them in check some this season, but I counted and they were on base 13 time today — (Todd) Frazier, (Joey) Votto, Bruce and Phillips. They gave us trouble every time around today.”
Bruce hit his 20th homer into the right-field seats with Phillips on in the fifth to give the Reds a 5-0 lead against Jimmy Nelson (11-11). Nelson lasted five innings, giving up nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
“I didn’t have anything,” Nelson said. “The only thing that was working was my sinker. That’s why I was able to get some groundballs, but we didn’t even try the changeup, and my fastball and slider weren’t there.”
Lorenzen had been 0-6 in nine starts since a win over Miami on June 21. He pitched five shutout innings before Adam Lind drove in one run with a fielder’s-choice grounder and Shane Peterson added an RBI single in the sixth. The rookie right-hander (4-8) allowed eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
Sam LeCure got the final two outs of the sixth and Ryan Mattheus pitched a perfect seventh. J.J. Hoover gave up Braun’s homer before Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 28th save.
The Reds pushed their first run across with a two-out rally in the first when Votto scored from third base on Bruce’s grounder that was speared by diving second baseman Scooter Gennett in short right field. Bruce and Nelson collided as the pitcher grabbed Gennett’s throw. Bruce was ruled safe, a call that was upheld after a replay review of just more than three minutes.
Phillips, who had four hits in the opener of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader before going 0-for-4 in the nightcap, followed Votto’s second walk of the game in the third inning with his 11th homer of the season.
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Catcher Ramon Cabrera became the ninth player to make his first major league start for the Reds this season. Cabrera, who was named the Louisville Bats Most Valuable Player, was 0-for-4 but scored the first run of his career.
The Brewers failed to score at least four runs for the first time in their last nine games. They were 7-1 over the previous eight games, including the six-game win streak that was snapped on Sunday.
Brewers: Rookie RHP Tyler Cravy pitched one inning in his first appearance since Aug. 18 after being activated from the disabled list before Sunday’s game. Cravy was placed on the disabled list Aug. 19 with a right elbow impingement.
Reds: OF Billy Hamilton went 1-for-3, scored a run and handled one fielding chance without incident in the first game of his rehab assignment with Double-A Pensacola on Saturday. Hamilton has been on the disabled list since Aug. 19 after spraining his right shoulder while trying to make a diving catch a day earlier.
Brewers: Rookie RHP Zach Davies (0-0, 8.31) makes his second career start when Milwaukee opens a three-game series in Miami.
Reds: Rookie RHP Anthony DeSclafani (7-10, 3.87) makes his team-high 27th start of the season in the opener of a three-game series against Pittsburgh. That is the first of seven straight games for the Reds against the top two teams in the NL Central.