MILWAUKEE (AP) — Tanner Roark finally got some early run support and made the most of it.
Roark allowed one run — a homer by major league leader Christian Yelich — over six solid innings and Jose Iglesias homered and drove in four runs as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-1 on Thursday night for their fifth straight victory.
“It’s just one run,” said Roark, who was staked to a 3-0 lead in the first. “You can’t let it bother you or let it sink in. Who cares? On to the next one. I got the next three guys out, I believe. I wasn’t worried about it. We still had the lead.”
Iglesias followed a two-out triple by Yasiel Puig with his fifth homer to put the Reds up 5-1 in the fifth. He also singled in two runs in the first.
Roark (5-6), who had lost three consecutive starts and five of his last six, allowed three hits, struck out seven and hit three batters. Jared Hughes followed with two scoreless innings and Zach Duke finished.
“Offensively, it was a quiet night, there wasn’t much there,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I thought Roark did a good job against our left-handed hitters. He made some good pitches, he stayed in, he stayed up.”
The Reds had scored a total of six runs in Roark’s previous three starts.
“It’s definitely a good feeling going out there with a 3-0 lead behind you,” said Roark, who has allowed just two runs in his last four starts at Miller Park, spanning 28 innings. “Go up there and put up a quick zero and get the guys back in the dugout to hit again.”
Yelich, the reigning NL MVP, opened the fourth with his 28th homer, sending a 2-2 pitch from Roark 462 feet to right to extend his hitting streak to 17 games, matching his career high.
Nick Senzel hit his seventh homer for the Reds, a two-run shot off the left-field foul pole against Freddy Peralta, to make it 7-1 in the seventh.
Jimmy Nelson (0-2) continued to struggle in his comeback after missing all of last season following right shoulder surgery. Nelson allowed five runs and seven hits with four walks and a hit batter in five innings, the longest of his three starts since being called up June 5.
Nelson, 3-0 in five starts at Triple-A San Antonio, has allowed 13 earned runs and 16 hits in 12 innings with 10 walks in three outings with Milwaukee.
“Words can’t explain how frustrating and upsetting and disappointing it is,” said Nelson, who was 12-6 in 2017 before he suffered a season-ending injury diving back into first base. “There’s nobody that’s more frustrated about it than I am, I promise you that. And I’m also doing everything, along with our coaching staff and even some of the guys here in the clubhouse, in between starts to figure things out, whether it’s a physical standpoint or a mental standpoint, whatever it may be.”
The Reds capitalized on Nelson’s early lack of command for three runs in the first. Cincinnati loaded the bases with one out when Joey Votto walked, Eugenio Suarez singled, and Derek Dietrich was hit by a pitch. Senzel walked to force in a run. Iglesias’ two-out single up the middle made it 3-0.
Cincinnati loaded the bases in third on a pair of infield singles and an intentional walk, but Nelson escaped by striking out Roark to end the inning.
Milwaukee, coming off a 2-6 road trip, has lost four straight.
“A good day offensively, all the way around,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Getting off to a good start and then adding on.”
Reds: LHP Wandy Peralta (right hip flexor strain), who went on the 10-day IL on June 15, is “recovering rapidly,” but the Reds “don’t have an exact timetable for his return,” Bell said before the game.
Brewers: LHP Gio Gonzalez (left arm fatigue), who went on the IL on June 1, will throw a bullpen session Friday and will get a minor-league starting assignment before returning to the team, possibly before the All-Star break.
YELICH REMAINS HOT
During his 17-game hitting streak, Yelich is hitting .457 (32-for-70) with seven homers, seven doubles, a trip and 14 RBIs, along with scoring 15 runs. His 28 homers are one shy of the franchise record before the All-Star break, which was set by Prince Fielder with 29 in 2007.
Reds: RHP Sonny Gray (3-5, 3.77 ERA) is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in his last five starts. He picked up his first win of the season vs. Milwaukee on May 21, allowing five hits in six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts.
Brewers: RHP Chase Anderson (3-1, 4.05 ERA) has lasted six innings in just one of eight starts after opening the season with five relief appearances. He has allowed eight homers in 46 2/3 innings, after giving up a career-high 30 home runs last season.
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