Riding strong starting pitching, the Reds have turned up the heat in the National League Central, winning seven of their last eight, including a series victory over the Cardinals which put them in first place for the first time dating to April 17, 2007.
"Hopefully this weekend showed the fans there is something here to watch and we'll be a fun team to keep up with," Reds outfielder Jay Bruce said.
The Brewers on the other hand, after sweeping the D-backs last weekend, have lost six in a row. The skid prompted manager Ken Macha to speak to his team behind closed doors on Saturday.
"I think our guys are resilient. I just gave them a reminder," Macha said. "It took all of 30 seconds. That's it. I hate meetings. They know how they're playing, as far as results are concerned. I talked to some guys individually and they want to get it turned around. I just wanted them to know that I'm watching their effort."
The Reds' success, at least in recent games, has been led by the starting pitchers who have been churning out impressive outings. In their last eight games, the starters have gone 7-1 and have allowed 15 earned runs in 72 innings. Bronson Arroyo continued that trend on Sunday, with a complete-game effort, holding the Cards to just two runs.
Monday's starter, Johnny Cueto, has been no exception. In his last outing against the Pirates, Cueto pitched his first Major League complete game, a one-hit shutout.
"Cueto had an electric fastball and he was throwing in and out and up and down," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He'd get behind and then he'd come in there with that fastball. He and the catcher, [Ramon] Hernandez, were on the same page big time and he minimized his pitches that was the big thing."
While he's struggled repeatedly with pitch control in his career, Cueto was masterful against the Bucs, allowing just a third-inning single and finishing with just 102 pitches.
He'll look to continue his efficient work on the mound and keep the Brewers' bats struggling.
Milwaukee's pitching plans have shuffled after Dave Bush, Monday's scheduled starter, was pushed up to Sunday night's finale against the Phillies. Yovani Gallardo, who has won four in a row, will subsequently be moved up to start Monday, leaving Tuesday's starter still up in the air.
Sunday's scheduled starter, Doug Davis, was placed on the 15-day disabled list before the game with a chest condition the team deemed non-life threatening. Nonetheless, he has an acute inflammation around the heart. Club officials are hopeful Davis will not miss much time.
Brewers: Hitting the road
Milwaukee might be content just to hit the road and hope a change of scenery will do them well. The Brewers have lost eight straight at Miller Park and have the fewest home wins of any team in the Majors. "I don't think anybody is pleased with the results we've had at home," manager Ken Macha said. "To put our product on the field, we rely on putting people in the seats, and the fans want to see a good outcome. We're working toward that end."
Reds: Sitting in first
With their win on Sunday against the Cardinals, the Reds are now a half-game in front of St. Louis in the Central Division, a position they have not held this late since June of 2006. The Reds have now gone 13-5 in a stretch that features 17 of 20 games against intra-divisional foes.
Cincinnati is now a season high five games over .500. ... The Reds have won 12-of-19 contests at Great American Ballpark. ... Brewers outfielder Jim Edmonds remains day-to-day with a strained left rib-cage muscle sustained on Saturday.
Mon, 5/17 7:10 PM ET
Johnny 5: Reds come alive, short-circuit Crew
Johnny Cueto and Yovani Gallardo dueled for six, but Cueto went an extra frame, and the Reds capitalized in a five-run seventh vs. the Crew's 'pen. Corey Hart homered twice, but Milwaukee's rally fell short.
|Escobar, A, SS||5||0||2||0||0||1||1||.234|
|Hart, C, RF||4||2||3||2||0||0||1||.287|
|Cabrera, O, SS||5||1||2||1||0||0||2||.275|
|Phillips, B, 2B||3||1||1||0||1||0||0||.265|
|Gomes, J, LF||3||1||1||3||1||1||3||.295|
|Hernandez, Ra, C||3||0||0||0||1||1||5||.288|
2B: Zaun 2 (7, Cueto, Herrera).
3B: Escobar, A (5, Cueto).
HR: Hart, C 2 (7, 4th inning off Cueto, 0 on, 1 out; 9th inning off Herrera, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Escobar, A 4; Braun; Fielder; McGehee; Hart, C 9; Zaun 4; Inglett; Counsell.
RBI: Hart, C 2 (19), Counsell (11).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Gallardo 2; Braun 2.
Team RISP: 2-for-8.
Team LOB: 9.
SB: Escobar, A (1, 2nd base off Cordero/Hernandez, Ra).
Outfield assists: Gerut (Votto at 2nd base), Hart, C (Phillips, B at 3rd base).
2B: Cabrera, O (6, Gallardo), Votto (7, Gallardo).
3B: Heisey (1, Coffey).
HR: Gomes, J (5, 7th inning off Coffey, 2 on, 2 out).
TB: Cabrera, O 3; Phillips, B; Votto 3; Rolen; Bruce; Gomes, J 4; Heisey 3.
RBI: Votto (25), Cabrera, O (19), Rolen (19), Gomes, J 3 (24).
2-out RBI: Gomes, J 3.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Cabrera, O; Hernandez, Ra 2.
SAC: Phillips, B.
Team RISP: 3-for-8.
Team LOB: 8.
E: Phillips, B (1, fielding).
Outfield assists: Stubbs (Zaun at home).
DP: 2 (Stubbs-Hernandez, Ra, Cabrera, O-Phillips, B-Votto).
HBP: Stubbs (by Coffey).
Pitches-strikes: Gallardo 120-66, Coffey 21-10, Suppan 7-5, Cueto 113-67, Masset 10-6, Herrera 20-13, Cordero 15-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Gallardo 5-2, Coffey 0-2, Suppan 1-0, Cueto 6-4, Masset 1-0, Herrera 1-0, Cordero 0-2.
Batters faced: Gallardo 26, Coffey 9, Suppan 3, Cueto 29, Masset 3, Herrera 4, Cordero 3.
Inherited runners-scored: Cordero 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Brian Gorman. 1B: Ted Barrett. 2B: Tony Randazzo. 3B: Paul Nauert.
Weather: 59 degrees, cloudy.
Wind: 4 mph, Out to LF.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media