Fielder apologizes, homers as Brewers win 8-1

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CINCINNATI (AP)—Prince Fielder knows the best way to say you’re sorry.

The first baseman made amends by apologizing for his dugout outburst the previous night, then hit a two-run homer Tuesday that helped the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-1 and quickly move beyond the ugly altercation.

The Brewers were on their best behavior a day after Fielder shoved pitcher Manny Parra in the dugout during a series-opening loss. Fielder apologized before the game on Tuesday, then helped Milwaukee’s uptight offense relax by hitting his sixth homer in his last nine games.

“Today I think we did come through a little bit,” Fielder said. “It was a lot of fun.”

The innocent bystander caught at the bottom of the pileup had a lot to do with it, too.

Right-hander Dave Bush (6-9) was among those who pulled Fielder away from Parra on Monday night, and ended up pinned underneath the bulky first baseman and several teammates. Fortunately for Bush, he didn’t get hurt.

“I was sitting there keeping the (pitching) chart like we always do before we pitch. It caught me off-guard,” Bush said. “I didn’t have much time to think about all the stuff going on. I just tried to separate it and keep things as cool as possible. I didn’t think much of it.

“You’re in a pennant race and sometimes things kind of boil up a little bit. I just kind of ended up there.”

One night later, he was on top of his game.

Bush allowed only three hits in seven innings, retiring 17 consecutive batters after Edwin Encarnacion drove in a run with an infield single in the first inning. It was a breakthrough performance for Bush, who was 0-2 with a 14.24 ERA in five previous starts at Great American Ball Park.

He made quick work of the Reds.

“Baseball is the only sport where you don’t want to have the time of possession,” Fielder said. “He pitched a great game and kept us in the dugout.”

Where, on this night, they got along.

“When the game began, it was business as usual,” manager Ned Yost said. “We were not making up for what happened yesterday.”

Since they were tied with the Cubs for first place in the NL Central on July 26, the Brewers have lost seven of 10. The victory on Tuesday left Milwaukee five games behind the Cubs, but still leading the NL wild-card standings.

The Brewers’ biggest problem has been their inability to get a clutch hit— only a .096 batting average with runners in scoring position over the last 13 games. They broke out against Edinson Volquez (13-5), an All-Star pitcher who hasn’t done well since his appearance at Yankee Stadium.

In four starts since the All-Star game, the right-hander has allowed 19 runs — 15 of them earned—in 20 1-3 innings. The Brewers extended his slide with one clutch hit after another.

“They made a pretty good adjustment tonight,” said Volquez, who beat them 8-2 in Milwaukee on July 12. “They were taking pitches and taking good swings. I was in the same sequence on every batter—hard, soft, hard, soft. That won’t happen again.”

Manager Dusty Baker said Volquez uncharacteristically had trouble putting batters away.

“They hit some two-strike pitches over the heart of the plate that usually are on the corners,” Baker said.

Corey Hart, who was in a 4-for-23 slump, hit a two-run triple off the wall in center to get the Brewers relaxed and rolling in the first inning. Hart later added a double and a sacrifice fly. Slumping Jason Kendall drove in a pair of runs with a double and a single. Even J.J. Hardy got a hit and scored a run, snapping his 0-for-28 slump.

Ryan Braun, who was the NL’s player of the month for July, had a double and a pair of singles. Fielder’s homer in the eighth off Nick Masset extended his hitting streak to nine games.

Notes

Milwaukee is 5-6 against the Reds this season. … Reds reliever Jared Burton, on the DL with a strained muscle in his right side, felt tenderness when he threw off a bullpen mound on Monday night. “I had a little setback yesterday,” Burton said. “I tried to let it out, and it didn’t cooperate, so I had to back off a little bit. I had been feeling great all week.” Burton is eligible to return from the DL at any time. … Reds OF Jay Bruce extended his hitting streak to nine games.

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