Fielder apologizes, homers as Brewers win 8-1
The Brewers were on their best behavior a day after Fielder shoved pitcher Manny Parra in the dugout during a series-opening loss. Fielder apologized before the game on Tuesday, then helped Milwaukee's uptight offense relax by hitting his sixth homer in his last nine games.
Right-hander Dave Bush (6-9) was among those who pulled Fielder away from Parra on Monday night, and ended up pinned underneath the bulky first baseman and several teammates. One night later, he was on top of his game.
Bush allowed only three hits in seven innings, retiring 17 consecutive batters after Edwin Encarnacion drove in a run with an infield single in the first inning. It was a breakthrough performance for Bush, who was 0-2 with a 14.24 ERA in five previous starts at Great American Ball Park.
Since they were tied with the Cubs for first place in the NL Central on July 26, the Brewers have lost seven of 10. The victory on Tuesday left Milwaukee five games behind the Cubs, but still leading the NL wild-card standings.
The Brewers' biggest problem has been their inability to get a clutch hit — only a .096 batting average with runners in scoring position over the last 13 games. They broke out against Edinson Volquez (13-5), an All-Star pitcher who hasn't done well since his appearance at Yankee Stadium.
In four starts since the All-Star game, the right-hander has allowed 19 runs — 15 of them earned — in 20 1-3 innings. The Brewers extended his slide with one clutch hit after another.
Corey Hart, who was in a 4-for-23 slump, hit a two-run triple off the wall in center to get the Brewers relaxed and rolling in the first inning. Hart later added a double and a sacrifice fly. Slumping Jason Kendall drove in a pair of runs with a double and a single. Even J.J. Hardy got a hit and scored a run, snapping his 0-for-28 slump.
Ryan Braun, who was the NL's player of the month for July, had a double and a pair of singles. Fielder's homer in the eighth off Nick Masset extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Notes: Milwaukee is 5-6 against the Reds this season. ... Reds reliever Jared Burton, on the DL with a strained muscle in his right side, felt tenderness when he threw off a bullpen mound on Monday night. "I had a little setback yesterday," Burton said. "I tried to let it out, and it didn't cooperate, so I had to back off a little bit. I had been feeling great all week." Burton is eligible to return from the DL at any time. ... Reds OF Jay Bruce extended his hitting streak to nine games.