Brewers put hurt on Reds in rout
Cincinnati pitcher Aaron Harang hobbled off after being hit in the leg by a line drive Wednesday night and the NL Central-leading Reds had their magic number cut to three despite losing 13-1 to the Brewers.
“Boy, that was a football game,” Baker said. “It was third-and-9, and the defensive end was coming at your quarterback.”
The Reds moved closer to clinching the division when second-place St. Louis lost to Pittsburgh, 11-6, but Milwaukee certainly put a hurt on three Reds pitchers.
Cincinnati’s surge toward the playoffs hit a bump when Johnny Cueto (12-6) had his shortest start of the season and Harang, normally a starter, was struck in the right ankle by Rickie Weeks’ liner in the fourth inning.
The sound of the ball hitting Harang was audible in the press box.
“It got me right on the ankle bone,” he said.
Harang limped toward the ball as it rolled near the third-base line. He bent over in pain, then spiked his glove before being assisted off the field. X-rays were negative, but he had a bruise.
Craig Counsell homered during Milwaukee’s eight-run second inning. Corey Hart homered the next inning and the Brewers finished with 19 hits.
Milwaukee had struggled against Cueto in his two other starts this season, managing just two earned runs over 13 innings. This time, he was gone after 1 1/3 innings as the Brewers won for just the second time in 11 games this season against the Reds.
“Either he didn’t have it, or they really had it,” Baker said. “He didn’t have his location tonight.”
Counsell remained humble about his personal success.
“Those guys are going to the playoffs,” he said after homering for the first time since his grand slam on April 18 against Washington. “They had a bad night. We’d rather be in their shoes, for sure.”
Randy Wolf (13-11) allowed a two-out walk, a single by Scott Rolen and Johnny Gomes’ RBI single in the first, but then settled down and retired the next 11 batters. Wolf gave up four hits over six innings and struck out seven.
Casey McGehee drove in four runs with two two-run doubles, giving him 99 RBIs.
After scoring just 13 runs in the last five games, the Brewers erupted against the Reds. Counsell’s second homer of the season, a three-run shot off Cueto, highlighted the big inning.
George Kottaras and Wolf each drove in a run, Prince Fielder drew a bases-loaded walk, McGehee doubled and Counsell chased Cueto with his first homer since April 18.
Harang, who made his second relief appearance since Sept. 14 against Arizona, came on and gave up Lorenzo Cain’s second double of the inning. The Brewers ended a 13-game stretch in which Reds starters had not allowed more than three earned runs.
“It was one of those games where everything went they’re way and nothing our way,” Harang said. “We got to chalk it up and just look forward to the next game. The biggest thing now is just not worrying about this, get into San Diego, enjoy the off-day tomorrow and get then after them Friday.”
The Reds visit the Padres for a weekend series before finishing their regular season schedule with a six-game homestand.
McGehee hit a two-run double in the fourth. Hart’s sacrifice fly off Sam LeCure in the fifth gave him a career-high 94 RBIs.
Brewers star Ryan Braun exited in the fifth with a bruised left elbow after being hit by a pitch from LeCure.
Last updated: 2:54 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012