CINCINNATI (AP) — Michael Lorenzen learned to throw strikes during a demotion to Triple A and put the lesson to work against the Brewers.
Lorenzen won for the first time in more than two months and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 Sunday to avoid a sweep. He had three quality starts for the Bats to earn a return to the Reds’ all rookie rotation.
“Getting ahead and throwing strikes is what I was working on,” Lorenzen said. “I had to stop worrying about what the batter was going to do with the pitch.”
Lorenzen had been 0-5 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.
“Lorenzen mixed all four of his pitches and kept the Brewers off balance,” said Reds’ manager Bryan Price, who removed his rookie when he got into trouble the third time through the lineup. “It is part of growing to be managing the lineup the third time through.”
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.
Jay Bruce homered and drove in three runs. 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.
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.
The Reds pushed their first run across with a two-out rally in the first when Joey 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.
“That game was all about the middle of their lineup,” Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell said.. “They have a formidable middle of the lineup. They gave us trouble every time around today.”
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.
“Brandon puts the ball in play at a high level,” Price said. “He’s picked up a few walks which is not his MO. He’s taken some tough 3-2 pitches and when he gets a pitch to hit, he doesn’t miss it.”
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.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
Ramon Cabrera became the ninth player to make his Major League debut for the Reds this season on Saturday and made his first start on Sunday. Cabrera was the Bats Most Valuable Player.
The Brewers failed to score four or more runs for the first time in nine games.