Brewers' Estrada shuts down Reds

Mark Schmetzer, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati Reds knew what Marco Estrada throws.
Doing something with that insight was another story.
A dominant Estrada, depending heavily on changeups and curveballs, allowed one hit over seven shutout innings and Caleb Gindl hit his second home run in less than 24 hours as Milwaukee snapped its streak of five consecutive series losses in Cincinnati with a 3-1 win on Sunday.
The only hit Estrada (6-4) allowed was Shin-Soo Choo's leadoff single to right in the bottom of the first inning. The right-hander, who went into the game with a 1-0 record and a 2.65 earned-run average in three starts since coming off the disabled list, allowed just two walks and had a season-high nine strikeouts. Ten of his other outs were either fly balls to outfielders or popups.
"I threw more curveballs and changeups today," said Estrada, who finished with exactly 100 pitches, 63 of the strikes. "The changeup kept working, so I kept throwing it. I got away with a couple, but I kept it down most of the time."
Estrada's strikeouts included a run of six straight that carried him two outs into the sixth inning.
"Honestly, I had no idea," he said. "When I was in here getting my shoulder stuff done, I heard the commentator say I had six straight strikeouts, and I was like, 'I didn't know that.'"
Estrada pitches did not surprise the Reds.
"We knew what was coming," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We couldn't do anything until they got him out of the game."
"He made his pitches today," said Reds right fielder Jay Bruce, who was 0-for-3 against Estrada. "He's one of those guys that if he makes his pitches, he'll have success. If he doesn't, the ball gets up in the zone. After Choo got that hit, that was generally it. He pitched a really, really good game."
Brandon Kintzler gave up hits to the first two batters he faced in the eighth before escaping undamaged. Jim Henderson allowed Joey Votto's one-out solo homer in the ninth, Votto's 20th homer, and Bruce's two-out single but hung on for his 21st save.
The Brewers, who won on Friday and lost on Saturday, won a set in Cincinnati for the first time since a three-game sweep Sept. 16-18, 2011. The Reds, who went into the game third in the National League Central Division, 21/2 games behind second-place St. Louis, missed a chance to gain ground on the Cardinals, who lost to Atlanta.
"When we lose a series to any team at this point, we feel it's a missed opportunity," Bruce said.
Greg Reynolds, who was called up from Triple-A Louisville before the game to replace injured Tony Cingrani, allowed two runs and five hits with two walks and two strikeouts in six innings. Reynolds (0-2) also hit a batter.
Reynolds, who had allowed eight hits, one walk and five runs in five innings of the second game of a doubleheader at San Francisco in an emergency start on July 23, was significantly better against Milwaukee on Sunday. He was hurt only by Gindl's second-inning home run one out after Carlos Gomez opened the inning by getting hit by a pitch.
Gindl's 397-foot no-doubter into the right field seats on a 1-2 pitch was his third homer of the season and second in a span of five pitches. He led off the eighth inning of Saturday's 6-3 Reds win with a pinch-hit homer.
"It feels great," Gindl said. "It was nice to connect with another one. I was just trying to do what I can to help the team. With a runner on first, we had the hole there, and I was hoping to do something with that, but he gave me a pitch I could handle, and I put a good swing on it."
Milwaukee added a run in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Yuniesky Betancourt led off with a single to right off of Manny Parra, was pushed around to third with a sacrifice and a groundout to second, and scored on Jean Segura's two-out single to left off of Sam LeCure.
The Reds missed a scoring opportunity in the first. With Choo on third base, Votto on second and one out, Brandon Phillips hit a line drive that was caught by Gomez in center field. Choo started to go, held up, then took off when Gomez's throw got past catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Estrada. But Estrada fielded the carom off the wall behind the plate and relayed it to Lucroy, who tagged out a non-sliding Choo.
"Usually, it caroms off one way or another," Baker said. "(Estrada) was in the proper position."
NOTES: Cingrani was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lower back, and RHP Jonathan Broxton was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for Reynolds. ... Xavier Paul got his first start for the Reds since August 13 against the Cubs at Chicago. ... The Reds surpassed 2 million in attendance on their 64th home date of the season, the earliest in the 11-year history of Great American Ball Park. The previous earliest was the 68th date, set last season. The Reds are on pace to break the Great American Ball Park attendance record, set in its inaugural 2003 season. ... Choo stole second and third in the first inning to reach 101 career stolen bases. His next home run will be the 100th of his career.

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