Singles pay off for Reds in victory

Andrew Wagner, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- The best offense isn t always the most powerful. It's often just the most opportunistic.
The Cincinnati Reds put that theory to the test Sunday, knocking out 10 hits -- all of them singles -- and taking advantage of nine walks in a 9-1 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park, leaving Milwaukee with a split of their four-game series.
"The key is getting hits; consecutive hits, and two out hits," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We got all of those."
Cincinnati did its damage in two innings, opening the second with four straight singles and taking a 5-0 lead on Brandon Phillips' two-run single off Brewers starter Wily Peralta.
Peralta (8-13) retired six of the next seven but got into trouble in the fifth, opening with a leadoff walk to Phillips, who moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on Jay Bruce s fly ball to right.
Chris Heisey made it a 6-0 game on a line drive to left and Peralta gave way to Tyler Thornburg after allowing eight hits and walking four with four strikeouts.
"They just were ground balls that found a hole," Peralta said. "That kind of thing happened to me earlier. If I had a better command with the fastball today, those things wouldn't happen. But I didn't have that much command of my pitches."
Peralta, one of Milwaukee s better pitching prospects, had turned a corner of late, and was 4-4 with a 2.10 ERA in his last 10 starts.
"He s pitched well lately, and he's pitched well against this club lately" Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "You just don't expect that, for him to come out and struggle like that but it's going to happen with a young pitcher."
Thornburg didn't fare much better. Moved to the bullpen after a strong, six-inning effort Wednesday at Texas, the young right-hander allowed just one hit but surrendered five walks in his 1 1/3-inning stint Sunday.
He took over with one on and one out, but immediately walked his first batter, Jack Hannahan and allowed another run on Ryan Hanigan's single to center. Bailey's sacrifice bunt moved runners to second and third and Shin-Soo Choo's walk loaded the bases with two out.
Thornburg walked the next two batters, each driving in a run, before ending the inning on Phillips' fly ball to center.
"You play for the big inning, and if not you play for one," Baker said. "To get big innings like that is huge. The guys had that killer instinct today. It was nice to give a couple guys at-bats and they came through."
All that offense made Homer Bailey's eight-inning day all the easier. Bailey (8-10) had struggled against Milwaukee during his career, going 1-7 with a 6.03 ERA in 13 meetings with the Brewers.
He was knocked around in two previous meetings this season, allowing 10 runs in 12 2/3 innings but got into a groove early Sunday and allowed just three hits while walking one to win his third consecutive decision.
"For some reason this team has usually done pretty well against me," Bailey said. "I never really thought about it, so I just kinda went out there and tried to pitch a little bit."
Milwaukee's only run came in the fifth, on Khris Davis' sixth home run of the season.
After splitting a four-game series in Milwaukee, the Reds prepare to open a four-game set with the Diamondbacks, who are looking to catch Cincinnati for the second National League wild card spot.
The Reds, meanwhile, are still hoping to close the gap and catch NL Central leading Pittsburgh.
"Every game is important at this point in the season, especially with the way the Central is looking," Bailey said. "It is nice to have a road trip like that but we are running out of time now. If we aren't playing our best baseball we will be at home watching everybody else."
NOTES: Carlos Gomez was able to resume baseball activities Sunday, three days after spraining his knee in a collision with the center field wall at Miller Park. Gomez took part in pre-game workouts, played catch and took dry swings in the batting cage but likely won t take regular batting practice until later in the week. ... Hanigan was back behind the plate Sunday for Cincinnati, his fourth start at catcher since returning from the disabled list August 9. ... Aramis Ramirez was not in the lineup for the first time since returning from the disabled list Tuesday. In five games, Ramirez went 1-for-16 at the plate. ... Reds left-hander Sean Marshall, out since May 24 with tendonitis in his left shoulder, will resume a throwing program Monday. Right-hander Johnny Cueto, meanwhile, is still not ready to throw. An MRI revealed his strained right lat is only about 75 percent healed. He ll continue working on strengthening the muscle and get reexamined in about a week. Cueto has been on the disabled list since June 29.

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