Wily Mo Pena is feeling very comfortable at the plate these days.
Pena missed seven games after bruising his left chest when he slammed into the wall while making a catch on Aug. 31. But he has homered in each of his first two games back. He hit his 24th of the season Friday, helping the Reds snap a four-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the Brewers.
“I feel good,” Pena said. “Sometimes, I feel it if I have to turn on inside pitches, but I just have to try to keep going.”
Pena homered on the first pitch he saw from Ben Hendrickson in the second inning Friday to give the Reds a 2-1 lead.
“I know they throw inside a lot, so I was looking for something inside,” Pena said. “The last time I played against them, they were throwing me away. Now, they’re throwing inside. You have to be quick with your hands. You have to be ready and get quick.”
Adam Dunn stole home on a double steal in the fifth inning, and Anderson Machado had the first two hits of his major league career for the Reds, who had lost nine of their previous 10 games.
They’ll now look for another strong start from Luke Hudson as they try to win consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 22-24.
Hudson pitched his best game of the season Sunday, allowing one hit over six scoreless innings in a 9-2 win over the Brewers at Miller Park. He has given up two earned runs or fewer in four straight starts.
“I felt a little better out there today,” Hudson said Sunday. “I fell behind in the count too often. But we got the win, which is the most important thing.”
The Brewers, who won Thursday’s series opener 7-2, had won five of their previous seven. They trail the Reds by 2 1/2 games for fifth place in the NL Central
STANDINGS (through Sept. 9): Brewers - 6th place, 31 1/2 GB, NL Central. Reds - 5th place, 30 GB, NL Central.
BREWERS PROBABLE STARTER: Victor Santos (10-9, 4.25 ERA). Santos has not earned a decision in any of his past three starts, going 0-1 with a 5.19 ERA in that span. The 27-year-old right-hander allowed one run and eight hits over six innings in a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 1. In four career games against the Reds, including two starts, Santos is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Hudson (2-1, 2.96 ERA). Hudson has pitched into the sixth inning in four of his five starts this season.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Brewers - Lyle Overbay, .310 avg.; Geoff Jenkins, 22 HRs, 79 RBIs and 76 runs; Scott Podsednik, 55 SBs. Reds - Sean Casey, .334 avg. and 90 RBIs; Dunn, 41 HRs and 92 runs; Ryan Freel, 31 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Reds, 9-7.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Brewers - 1B Overbay needs four doubles to tie Robin Yount’s single-season club record of 49, set in 1980. … CF Podsednik needs four steals to tie B.J. Surhoff for eighth on the team’s career list with 102. … The Brewers recalled RHP Travis Phelps from Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday. Reds - INF Juan Castro did not play Friday after having four wisdom teeth removed during the afternoon. … 2B D’Angelo Jimenez is batting .429 (12-for-28) during an eight-game hitting streak. … LF Dunn is two strikeouts short of his own franchise single-season record of 170, set in 2002.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Brewers - 27-41 on the road; Reds - 35-34 at home.
INJURIES: Brewers - INF Junior Spivey (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Chris Capuano (elbow), 15-day DL. Reds - OF Ken Griffey Jr. (hamstring), 60-day DL; OF Jason Romano (hamstring), 60-day DL; RHP Josh Hall (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP D.J. Mattox (elbow), 60-day DL.