Reds 6, Brewers 4
CINCINNATI (AP)—Wily Mo Pena did more than just recuperate during his eight-day layoff. He also found his home run stroke.
Pena homered for the second straight night after not hitting one since Aug. 18, Adam Dunn stole home on a double steal and the Cincinnati Reds snapped a four-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.
“I feel good,” said Pena, who left the Reds’ game on Aug. 31 after bruising his left chest when he slammed into the wall while making a catch. “Sometimes, I feel it if I have to turn on inside pitches, but I just have to try to keep going.”
Pena connected on the first pitch he saw from Ben Hendrickson with Austin Kearns on first base in the second inning, lining a drive into the left-field stands and wiping out a 1-0 Brewers lead with his 24th homer.
“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.”
Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said: “He’s come a long way. He’s made the most improvement in the shortest period of time of any player I can remember.”
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.
Cincinnati starter Josh Hancock (4-2) went six innings for his first win in four starts since Aug. 18. Hancock allowed seven hits, including three solo homers, and one walk with three strikeouts.
“The solo homers I’d like to have back, but at least they were solo homers,” Hancock said. “I was able to keep guys off base, and that minimized the damage.”
John Riedling and Joe Valentine each pitched an inning of scoreless relief, and Danny Graves gave up an RBI groundout to Scott Podsednik in the ninth before finishing for his 38th save in 47 opportunities. The save was his first since Aug. 18 for Graves, who was on the disabled list from Aug. 19-Sept. 2 with lower back spasms.
Hendrickson (1-7), working with a limited pitch count, gave up four hits and three runs. He walked three and struck out one before leaving the game after three innings and 67 pitches. The Brewers restricted Hendrickson’s pitch count because he has thrown 158 2-3 innings this season, splitting time between the minors and majors.
“His first inning was OK, but he labored in the second and third innings,” Yost said. “At this time of year, if you’re laboring, you’re not getting anything out of it.”
Brady Clark, who went 4-for-4 Thursday, made it five straight hits with a home run leading off the second to put Milwaukee up 1-0. It was his sixth homer of the season, tying his career high. Clark grounded to second in his next at-bat.
The Reds responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Pena’s homer put the Reds up for good, 2-1. One out later, Machado hit a double into the right-field corner and scored on Ryan Freel’s two-out single to right.
Russell Branyan cut Cincinnati’s lead to 3-2 with a two-out homer in the fourth, his eighth.
The Reds took control with a three-run fifth. Freel and D’Angelo Jimenez led off with back-to-back doubles. After Sean Casey struck out, Dunn walked and Kearns grounded a single up the middle to drive in Jimenez from second. Dunn went around to third on the hit and scored on a double steal. Second baseman Bill Hall’s throw beat Dunn to the plate, but Dunn bowled over catcher Mark Johnson to knock the ball loose.
Geoff Jenkins made it 6-3 when he led off the sixth with his 22nd homer of the season. ^Notes: Reds INF Juan Castro missed the game after having four wisdom teeth removed on Friday afternoon. … Jimenez extended his hitting streak to eight games, Cincinnati’s longest current streak. … Wes Obermueller’s three innings of relief for Milwaukee were his longest relief stint of the season. His seven strikeouts in relief were a Milwaukee season high. … Branyan’s homer was his first since hitting one against the Reds in Milwaukee on Sept. 4 … Graves’s save was the first for Cincinnati since Joe Valentine saved a 2-0 win at Arizona on Aug. 20. The Reds bullpen had blown three straight opportunities.