Reds routed by Brewers, but magic number down to 3
Cincinnati pitcher Aaron Harang(notes) hobbled off after being hit in the leg by a line drive Wednesday night and the NL Central-leading Reds had their magic number cut to three despite losing 13-1 to the Brewers.
“Boy, that was a football game,” Baker said. “It was third-and-9, and the defensive end was coming at your quarterback.”
The Reds moved closer to clinching the division when second-place St. Louis lost to Pittsburgh 11-6, but Milwaukee certainly put a hurt on three Reds pitchers.
Cincinnati’s surge toward the playoffs hit a bump when Johnny Cueto(notes) (12-6) had his shortest start of the season and Harang, normally a starter, was struck in the right ankle by Rickie Weeks’(notes) liner in the fourth inning.
The sound of the ball hitting Harang was audible in the press box.
“It got me right on the ankle bone,” he said. “I either got to wear umpire’s shoes or gloves on my feet, one of the two.”
Harang limped toward the ball as it rolled near the third-base line. He bent over in pain, then spiked his glove before being assisted off the field. X-rays were negative, but he had a bruise.
Milwaukee had struggled against Cueto in his two other starts this season, managing just two earned runs over 13 innings. This time, he was gone after 1 1-3 innings as the Brewers won for just the second time in 11 games this season against the Reds.
“Either he didn’t have it, or they really had it,” Baker said. “He didn’t have his location tonight.”
Counsell remained pretty humble about his personal success.
“Those guys are going to the playoffs,” he said after homering for the first time since his grand slam on April 18 against Washington. “They had a bad night. We’d rather be in their shoes, for sure.”
Despite Cueto’s struggles, Counsell thought the Reds right-hander was ready for the playoffs.
“He’s been good this year, really good,” Counsell said. “He’s gotten better this year, for sure. I would say he’s probably got a chance to start the first game of the playoffs for them.”
Randy Wolf(notes) (13-11) allowed a two-out walk, a single by Scott Rolen(notes) and Johnny Gomes’ RBI single in the first, but then settled down and retired the next 11 batters. Wolf gave up four hits over six innings and struck out seven.
After scoring just 13 runs in the last five games, the Brewers erupted against the Reds. Counsell’s second homer of the season, a three-run shot off Cueto, highlighted the big inning.
Harang, who made his second relief appearance since Sept. 14 against Arizona, came on and gave up Lorenzo Cain’s(notes) second double of the inning. The Brewers ended a 13-game stretch in which Reds starters had not allowed more than three earned runs.
“It was one of those games where everything went they’re way and nothing our way,” Harang said. “We got to chalk it up and just look forward to the next game. The biggest thing now is just not worrying about this, get into San Diego, enjoy the off-day tomorrow and get then after them Friday.”
The Reds visit the Padres for a weekend series before finishing their regular season schedule with a six-game homestand.
“They’re hungry right now,” Harang said of the Padres. “They’re scrapping for their lives.”
Brewers star Ryan Braun exited in the fifth with a bruised left elbow after being hit by a pitch from LeCure.
Brewers manager Ken Macha said he didn’t think Braun was hurt too badly and would have pulled him anyway due to the runaway score.
“I think he’s OK,” Macha said. “He came walking out on the bench in the eighth inning.”
Notes: Baker freely subbed with his bench as the game got out of hand. … Cueto’s shortest career start was two-thirds of an inning on July 6, 2009, at Philadelphia. … Reds 1B Joey Votto(notes) missed his second consecutive game with a sinus infection. INF Yonder Alonso(notes), promoted Sept. 1 from Triple-A Louisville, made his major league debut with a start in place of Votto. … Cain had his first four-hit game for Milwaukee.