CINCINNATI (AP)—Jose Acevedo pitched well enough to win a spot in the NL’s least-productive rotation.
The Reds ended a seven-game losing streak at home by beating the one team they’ve handled easily. They’ve won their last five against Milwaukee, going 7-3 this season against the Brewers.
Jose Guillen also homered and drove in three runs as the Reds got the better of a matchup of the NL Central’s bottom two teams.
Acevedo (1-0) was given the start as the Reds shifted their four-man rotation back to a standard five-man set. The right-hander pitched an inning in relief last Saturday after his promotion from the minors.
He held the Brewers to two hits—a pair of doubles—and struck out six on a muggy night, throwing 102 pitches. It was one of the best performances all season by a Reds starter, and equaled the longest outing of his career.
Manager Bob Boone said he earned at least one more start.
“He was terrific, really terrific,” Boone said. “He had some life in the strike zone and he had a real good breaking ball.”
Acevedo was considered one of the Reds’ up-and-coming stars in 2001, when he was promoted directly from Double-A. He fell out of favor because of inconsistency and spent most of last season in the minors.
Acevedo is 10-9 in 26 major league appearances. He’ll get a chance to hold onto the fifth spot in the revamped rotation, which has only 19 wins in 98 games.
“I didn’t feel any pressure,” Acevedo said. “I’m 25 years old. I’ve been here for a little while. There was nothing to be nervous about. I was ready to rock.”
Acevedo, who has his hair dyed blond, was congratulated by teammates as Branyan came to bat in his place with the bases loaded and the Reds ahead 7-0 in the bottom of the seventh.
Branyan hit the first pitch from reliever Brooks Kieschnick into the seats in left-center for the first pinch-hit slam of his career. The Reds have eight pinch-hit homers this season, including two grand slams.
“The little number of at-bats I’ve had lately makes it that much more difficult,” said Branyan, who hasn’t started since July 9. “I’ve never faced Kieschnick, but I’ve seen him pitch. I was just looking for something over the plate and down and I got it.”
Matt Kinney (6-8) gave up 12 hits and eight runs in six-plus innings, struggling from the outset. The Reds had at least one runner in every one of his innings.
Several of the hits came when Kinney got ahead in the count, then left a ball over the plate.
“I pretty much buried us,” Kinney said. “I probably feel worse than anybody. Not even giving your team a chance—that’s horrible.”
Manager Ned Yost tried to get Kinney to slow down, without much success.
“He just seems to get the signal, rear and fire,” Yost said. “He gets into a robot phase every once in a while.”
Guillen singled home two runs in the first, and Ruben Mateo led off the second with his third homer. Jason LaRue tripled home a run in the fourth, and Sexson’s throwing error at first base led to another run in the fifth.
The Reds sent nine batters to the plate in the seventh, which opened with Guillen’s 19th homer off Kinney. After an intentional walk to Adam Dunn loaded the bases, Kieschnick hit LaRue with his first pitch to force in a run. Branyanhit the next pitch for his third career grand slam.
Brewers LHP Matt Ford went on the 15-day DL after a medical test found that he had a sprained left elbow. The Brewers called up infielder Bill Hall from Triple-A Indianapolis to take his place. Ford hadn’t lasted longer than 4 1-3 innings in any of his four starts. … Dunn took 25 minutes of batting practice on the field before the rest of the team arrived. He singled in three at-bats, leaving him in a 3-for-36 slump. … The Reds honored Dayton Daily News beat writer Hal McCoy, who threw a ceremonial pitch to team captain Barry Larkin. McCoy will be inducted into the writers’ wing of the Hall of Fame onSunday.