CINCINNATI - Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto, who was reinstated from the disabled list prior to the game, gave up just one run on five hits over six innings, and Jay Bruce hit a solo home run, lifting Cincinnati to a 5-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in the finale of a three-game series before 39,088 fans Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
Carlos Gomez hit his 12th home run for the Brewers in the first inning. But that was all the offense Milwaukee could muster against Cueto and the Reds bullpen.
Reds manager Dusty Baker said prior to Sunday's game that, as with most injuries, the mental aspect was going to be difficult to overcome for Cueto, who'd been on the disabled list twice this season for right shoulder muscle strains. Cueto (4-0) did start sluggishly on Sunday, but settled down later to remain undefeated.
After retiring the first two batters he faced, Cueto's first pitch to Gomez was hit in the left-field seats, putting the Brewers ahead 1-0. Jonathan Lucroy followed with a double before Cueto got Logan Schafer to fly out to right.
Cincinnati tied the score 1-1 in the second when Xavier Paul scored from third on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Cueto. The run, precipitated by Rickie Weeks' throwing error, was unearned for Brewers starter Wily Peralta.
In the fourth, Zack Cozart doubled and scored on a groundout to put the Reds ahead.
Bruce followed with his 12th home run, a 469-foot blast on a 3-0 pitch from Peralta, to make the score 3-1.
Cueto allowed just two hits over the next four innings. After a 1-2-3 fourth, his pitch count was at 57.
Conversely, Peralta (4-8) needed 77 pitches to get through four innings. He got a much needed 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, but exited after 5 1/3 innings, having allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits.
Donald Lutz's pinch two-run single off Michael Gonzalez increased Cincinnati's lead to 5-1 in the sixth.
Milwaukee had runners on first and third in the seventh, but Alfredo Simon fanned Nori Aoki to end the inning. Simon earned his first save of the season by pitching three shutout innings in relief of Cueto. Simon allowed two hits and stuck out the final five batters he faced.
NOTES: Prior to Sunday's game, the Reds reinstated Cueto from the 15-day disabled list and optioned RHP Pedro Villarreal to Triple-A Louisville. Cueto had been on the DL since June 5. He also was on the DL from April 15 to May 19 with a strained right lat muscle. .. Brewers RHP Alfredo Figaro was named Tuesday's starting pitcher for the opener of a three-game series in Houston. .. Cincinnati is 10 games into a stretch of 17 straight games without a day off. .. 3B Aramis Ramirez will be the Brewers' designated hitter for at least two games during the three-game interleague series at Houston. .. Milwaukee's streak of six straight quality starts ended. .. The Reds now have won 12 of their past 14 games against the Brewers at Great American Ball Park.