WP: Jimmy Nelson (1-0); LP: Bronson Arroyo (0-2); Save: none; HR: Milwaukee, Ryan Braun (3), Eric Thames (2)
The Milwaukee Brewers won their third straight game tonight, beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-1 in Cincinnati. The Brewers have won their first three games on their current nine game road trip, following the two game sweep in Toronto. The win pulls the Brewers (5-5) to within two games of the first place Reds (7-3), who are now tied for first with Chicago Cubs, 4-0 winners over the LA Dodgers.
The Brewers received their third straight strong start, this time from Jimmy Nelson. Nelson worked seven innings, allowing five hits, an earned run, NO WALKS, and five strikeouts. The Reds scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first when Billy Hamilton blooped a single to left, easily stole second, went to third on a flyball to center, and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Joey Votto. The Reds would only move two more runners to second base the rest of the game, never threatening again. Carlos Torres and Jared Hughes had perfect eighth and ninth innings respectively, giving the Brewers a no walk game.
The Brewers played solid defense, but only one play was tough - a two out stab of a hot smash from Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart by second baseman Jonathan Villar, with Villar’s throw easily beating Barnhart to end the inning. Keon Broxton made a nice running catch on a liner into right center by Hamilton in the eighth, but it wasn’t a particularly difficult play.
The Reds’ 1-0 lead lasted until the top of the third. The Brewers hit a few balls well in the first two innings against Reds’ starter Bronson Arroyo but were retired six up and six down. Not so in the third; Manny Pina and Orlando Arcia singled to lead off the inning, and a nice sacrifice bunt by Nelson moved the runners up. An RBI groundout by Villar tied the game, and Eric Thames pulled a single through the shift to put Brewers ahead. Nice small ball! Then, Ryan Braun homered to left for a four run inning and a little breathing room for Nelson. File that inning away and use it every night, gentlemen.
Thames lofted a two out solo homer with two down in the top of the fifth, just over the fence in right. Eric ended the night 2-3 with a HBP, two runs scored and two driven in. (Thames was replaced at first base in the bottom of the ninth after being hit in the back of the left calf. It is hard to see that as a straight up defensive substitution, so perhaps Thames was suffering some discomfort.) Arcia posted a welcome three for four night, bumping his season average to .231.
If there was any negative to the game tonight, it was an 0 for 2 performance in stolen base attempts. Arcia singled leading off the seventh, and with Nelson squaring he took off on a steal attempt, trying for two bases in Nelson’s at bat. Barnhart threw him out by plenty. Keon Broxton singled leading off the ninth and went on the first pitch, making it in on a safe call. That call was overturned on appeal.
Tomorrow night’s match-up has lefty Tommy Milone (0-0, 9.00) going for Milwaukee against Scott Feldman (1-1, 2.53). Game time is 6:10 pm.