Brewers lose again to Reds
Cincinnati’s lone representative for Tuesday’s festivities at Yankee Stadium, Volquez struck out 10 in seven sharp innings to lead the Reds past the Milwaukee Brewers 8-2 on Saturday night.
Volquez (12-3) lowered his NL-leading ERA to 2.29 and made a strong case to earn starting honors for the National League in New York.
“Edinson was outstanding,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I wanted him to go there on a high, on a positive. He’s going there with quite a few pitches. Two days’ rest, that’s not very long, so we’ll see.
“I wouldn’t mind if he started the game and just pitched only one inning.”
Adam Dunn homered twice in Cincinnati’s seventh victory in nine games, and Milwaukee dropped to 2-4 since acquiring CC Sabathia in a trade with Cleveland on Monday. Sabathia makes his second start Sunday for the Brewers, who fell six games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.
Volquez gave up six hits and two runs, one earned. The right-hander walked two in his fourth double-digit strikeout game this season.
“I think it was one of the great nights for me,” said Volquez, who threw 114 pitches. “All my pitches were there tonight. This is my No. 12. It’s what I was looking for before the All-Star game.”
Seth McClung (5-5) took the loss despite striking out a season-high seven. He gave up three hits and three runs — all on Dunn’s first-inning shot. Jerry Hairston singled, Ken Griffey Jr. walked and Dunn hit his 25th homer with two outs.
Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion then went back-to-back in the ninth inning off Eric Gagne, drawing boos from the crowd for the former Brewers closer. More boos followed as Gagne was removed from the game after giving up a two-out single to Corey Patterson and a double to Hairston. Both scored on a single by Jay Bruce off Guillermo Mota.
Dunn, with five homers in six games and eight in his last 13, moved into second in the NL in homers behind Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard (28).
“I go on these ruts where I can’t swing — I take pitches that I should be hitting,” Dunn said. “Right now I’m in one of those things where it’s the opposite. I am swinging at pitches I should be swinging at, seeing the ball pretty good and getting some good results.”
Baker said Dunn is being more aggressive.
“He’s centering balls, not fouling off balls sometimes like he does to put himself in the hole,” Baker said. “Maybe a day off yesterday helped him, too. Just keep it coming. What does he have, 26 home runs? That’s Big Dunn. We’ve still got a lot of games to play, so he’s still got a lot of damage to do.”
Milwaukee’s two runs came on Prince Fielder’s homer in the fourth, his 18th and only the fifth home run Volquez has given up this year. Fielder apparently didn’t know it was gone, however, as he stood in the batter’s box for a couple of seconds, looking up and down trying to find the ball as it headed toward the Brewers’ bullpen in left.
“I think I had everything under control after that,” Volquez said. “They hit a home run, but it didn’t bother me.”
Volquez got out of a jam in the fifth thanks to some great defense. McClung and Craig Counsell singled with one out and, following J.J. Hardy’s strikeout, Ryan Braun lined a shot down the third-base line.
Encarnacion stopped it with a dive, saving a run even though he stumbled and couldn’t force McClung at third. Fielder grounded out to end the threat.
“I think Encarnacion’s play was huge,” Counsell said. “That’s two runs right there, and that gives us the lead. That was the play of the game to me. He didn’t get an out, but it’s two runs that were saved.”
Two runs that could have gotten McClung a win.
“He pitched great,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “He just kind of threw a rolling breaking ball in the first inning to Dunn, and besides that he buckled down and did a really nice job.”
Just not quite as good as Volquez.
“He’s the real deal,” Yost said.
Notes:The Reds are expected to place RHP Aaron Harang on the 15-day disabled list Sunday because of a strained right forearm. The Reds will recall top prospect Homer Bailey from Triple-A Louisville to start against the Brewers. Harang’s placement on the DL will be retroactive to Wednesday, and he would be eligible to come back on July 23. ... A tough scoring call from Friday’s game was overturned Saturday. Hairston was awarded a triple for a ball that Brewers CF Mike Cameron lost in the lights. It had been ruled an error, and Yost and others disagreed with the call following the game.