CINCINNATI -- Despite Great American Ball Park's reputation of being a home run haven, Dan Straily will allow opposing hitters to take aim at the inviting outfield walls. "When I was younger, I tried to miss bats," the Cincinnati Reds right-hander said. "Now, I just want contact. I want the weakest contact, or contact right at someone." On Tuesday night, Straily allowed several deep fly balls, including a couple that went for solo homers. The result was career-high eight innings in the Reds' 6-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. "You can't pitch in this ballpark if you're trying to defend the homer," manager Bryan Price said. "He attacks the zone. He has no fear throwing the ball over the plate." Joey Votto homered and Adam Duvall doubled twice and drove in two runs, helping Cincinnati win its fifth consecutive game, matching a season high. Votto went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs, raising his batting average to .318 after a slow start to the season. Cincinnati (62-82) improved to 30-25 since the All-Star break and is within 1 1/2 games of catching the Brewers (64-81) for fourth place in the National League Central. "Nobody wants to finish in last place," Price said. "Our expectations were to get better from the first half to the second. We've done that." Chris Carter, Keon Broxton and Jonathan Villar homered for Milwaukee, which has dropped five of its past six meetings with the Reds. The solo homers by Broxton and Villar accounted for two of only three hits off Dan Straily, who didn't allow a hit over his final three innings. "I had a couple close to the wall, and a couple over the wall," Straily said. "Something I've been preaching to the other guys around me is don't walk people. You can't get hurt by solo home runs." Straily (12-8) walked only one and struck out eight. Duvall doubled and scored in the eighth for a 6-2 lead. That provided some needed insurance for left-hander Tony Cingrani, who allowed Carter's two-run home run in the ninth in a non-save situation. Brewers starter Matt Garza (5-7) allowed five runs, but only one was earned, over five innings. He was hurt by a few defensive miscues. "You just have to pitch," Garza said. "Some days the balls find gloves. Some days, they don't. We're a young team, and that's where we're at. I've learned that you can't come down on guys and harp on it. For a lot of these guys, this is their first September." The ball was sailing out of Great American Ball Park early in the game. Votto launched his 24th home run of the season on a 3-1 pitch from Garza in the first inning to put Cincinnati ahead 1-0. Broxton tied the score in the second when he connected for his eighth home run. Villar put Milwaukee ahead 2-1 with his 16th home run, coming on an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the third. Still, Straily was undeterred. "He's able to get pitches off the middle of the barrel," Price said. "We talk about his deception and ride of the fastball. You just need to make sure (fly balls) are higher than they are farther." Two errors and a hit batsman loaded the bases for the Reds with one out in the third. After Votto tied the score 2-2 with a single to right, Duvall ripped a double down the left field line, driving in two more runs to make the score 4-2. Brandon Phillips' sacrifice fly to right drove home the Reds' fifth run. Duvall was thrown out at home trying to score when center fielder Broxton and right fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis collided on the play. "We were sloppy again defensively tonight," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Frankly, it's unacceptable. It's time for us to finish the season. It's 162 games, and it's not over. There's still time for guys to make an impression. These are important games for those guys." NOTES: Reds RHP Dan Straily allowed three hits or fewer in a game for the 11th time this season, a single-season franchise record. ... Reds RHP Homer Bailey threw 44 pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday. He plans to throw again on Friday, and if all goes well, will then rejoin the rotation. He hasn't pitched since Aug. 28 due to right biceps soreness. ... Reds SS Zack Cozart missed his third consecutive game because of right knee soreness. ... INF Jonathan Villar made his first start at second base for the Brewers. Manager Craig Counsell said he wants to get a look at him playing second over the final three weeks, but Villar mostly will play third base.
Reds dump Brewers for 5th win in row
The Sports Xchange | Sep 13