Brewers 11, Reds 0

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CINCINNATI (AP)—Russell Branyan is with his third organization this season. He thinks he has found the right fit.

The Milwaukee third baseman, who played for Cincinnati the last two years, homered twice and drove in three runs to lead the Brewers over the Reds 11-0 Sunday.

“We never expected that type of power production, and he’s played a solid third base,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.

Brady Clark and Geoff Jenkins each added a three-run homer to help the Brewers gain a split of the four-game series.

Branyan responded to a fan’s comment that he was overrated by hitting a solo homer in the second inning and a two-run shot in the fourth to give him 10 this year.

“I didn’t even know I was rated,” said Branyan, who spent time in the Atlanta and Cleveland systems before joining the Brewers in late July. “How can I be overrated? I couldn’t even find a job in the offseason.”

Ben Sheets (11-11) struck out 11 in seven innings, allowing three hits and no walks for his second win in three starts. He had 10 or more strikeouts for the eighth time in his career, all this season.

“It was nice to get Ben an easy game,” Yost said. “He’s had so many dadgum games when he’s gotten no run support.”

The Brewers averaged 3.2 runs per game while Sheets went 1-6 with a 3.99 ERA in his previous 11 starts.

“It was nice to get out there and not have to worry about the home run, like I do sometimes,” said Sheets, who will try for a career-high 12th win in his next start.

He’s won 11 in each of his four big league seasons.

“You knew it was going to be tough to score runs against a guy like that,” Reds manager Dave Miley said. “If you’re only down 1-0 or 2-0, you’ve got a chance, but you can’t give him that much to work with.”

Branyan’s multihomer game was the ninth of his career and second this season. He also hit two against the Chicago Cubs in Milwaukee on Aug. 18. He hit three home runs while starting the last three games of the series.

“I feel if I can get some consistent at-bats, I can produce,” Branyan said.

Clark, who spent 2001-02 with Cincinnati, added a three-run shot, his career-high seventh overall and second of the series, to give the Brewers a 7-0 lead in the fifth.

Jenkins hit his three-run homer off Todd Van Poppel, his 23rd, to make it 11-0 in the sixth.

One day after the Reds beat the Brewers 9-0, Luis Vizcaino and Dan Kolb pitched the last two innings to complete the four-hitter for Milwaukee’s ninth shutout of the season. The Reds have been blanked nine times.

“They killed us yesterday, and we responded,” Branyan said.

Aaron Harang (8-9) was handed his third straight loss since throwing a three-hitter against St. Louis on Aug. 26. He gave up nine hits and seven runs with no walks and two strikeouts. He’s given up 11 homers in his last three starts, including three on Sunday, after allowing a total of 11 in his first 22 starts.

“If you look at the St. Louis game, there’s no question he’s capable of doing it,” Miley said. “Everything is the same. It’s just his location and command. I just think he’s making bad pitches.”

Harang allowed a season-high four homers in each of his previous two starts.

“I can’t explain it,” he said. “It feels like when I’m throwing the ball, there’s nothing there. It’s like a dead arm. We’ll look at video and look at it in my next side and try to figure out if there’s something wrong and try to end the season on a positive note.”

Reds pitchers have allowed a major league-high 209 homers, tying the club record set last season.

“Harang has been tough on us all year,” Yost said. “To score that many runs is big, and Branyan had a lot to do with it.”

Lyle Overbay gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead in the first, driving in Bill Hall from second with a double.

Branyan led off the second with a home run to right to give Milwaukee a 2-0 lead. He made it 4-0 by following Clark’s single with a homer to center in the fourth.

Notes

Overbay has 46 doubles, three shy of the team record set by Hall of Famer Robin Yount in 1980. … Ryan Freel’s 10th start at second base for Cincinnati made him the first player to make at least 10 starts at five different positions since Tony Phillips did it for Detroit in 1991 and 1992. … Reds INF Juan Castro was expected to be available after having four wisdom teeth removed Friday, but Miley said Castro probably wouldn’t be back until Wednesday.

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