Votto’s RBI double helps Reds beat Brewers

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Johnny Cueto showed he could hold

his own in a duel with one of baseball’s toughest pitchers at home, Zack

Greinke.

Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds then

found a way to give Dusty Baker a milestone

victory.

Votto’s RBI double off John Axford broke a

scoreless tie in the ninth, and the Reds edged the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1

on Wednesday.

“Zack is always a handful,” Votto

said. “John Axford is a very good pitcher in his own right, and then we

stole one from him. I don’t want to use the word surprising, but it’s

great whenever you can sneak out a win against those two

pitchers.”

The Reds won two of three against the

struggling Brewers, leaving Baker with 1,500 victories as a major league

manager.

“Every time you win something, it means

something,” Baker said. “They came and told me that I won my 1,400th

here. Now my 1,500th here. Who knows? Maybe I’ll win my 2,000th here. If

I’m around that long.”

Drew Stubbs singled off

Axford with two outs, and Votto lined a ball over the glove of second

baseman Rickie Weeks to score Stubbs from

first.

“Drew always has a chance to score,” Votto

said. “He’s such a good runner. He’s probably one of the game’s best

runners.”

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he didn’t

have a clear view of the play as it developed, but he wasn’t happy with

the result.

“I don’t think a guy should be able to

score from first base,” Roenicke said.

Brandon

Phillips then hit a bloop single, driving in Votto for a 2-0

lead.

Ryan Braun connected against Sean Marshall in

the bottom of the ninth, trimming the Reds’ lead to one with his 10th

homer. Marshall nearly gave up another homer on a long fly ball by Corey

Hart that was caught at the wall in center, then allowed a pair of

two-out singles to Jonathan Lucroy and Norichika

Aoki.

Baker then decided to replace Marshall with

Logan Ondrusek.

“Aoki blooped one in there and at

that point and time, I figured that was enough,” Baker said. “You hate

to take your closer out, but we needed that

ballgame.”

Ondrusek walked George Kottaras to load

the bases but got Travis Ishikawa to pop out, earning his first

save.

“As a manager, you’ve got to do what you’ve got

to do,” Baker said. “No, I had no reservations about

that.”

Axford (0-2) took the

loss.

“I made a good pitch to Votto, but he put a

better swing on it, got his hands in there and it was literally like an

inch away from Rickie catching it,” Axford said. “The ball after that,

it was just kind of, throw the bat out there and hope you make contact

and it dropped in. It’s just the way baseball goes

sometimes.”

The ninth-inning offense came after

impressive outings from Greinke and Cueto.

Greinke

pitched eight dominant innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter.

He gave up two hits with no walks and had a season-high 11 strikeouts —

his 15th career double-digit strikeout game.

Coming

into Wednesday’s game, Greinke was 13-0 in 18 starts with the Brewers at

Miller Park — making him the sixth player since 1900 to win each of

his first 13 home decisions with a team. With Wednesday’s loss, the

Brewers are now 18-1 in home starts by Greinke.

Cueto

pitched seven innings before Aroldis Chapman (3-0) came in for the

eighth. Cueto gave up five hits, struck out five and walked

one.

Cueto came into Wednesday’s game on an early hot

streak, having given up only six earned runs in six outings this year.

He was coming off of a complete-game victory at

Pittsburgh.

“He’s probably the most underappreciated

pitcher, since he’s been healthy last year,” Greinke said of Cueto. “His

numbers are pretty insane. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone talking

about him being one of the better pitchers in the league. Maybe it’s

time to start that.”

Cueto got out of trouble after

the Brewers loaded the bases with two out in the third on a single by

Nyjer Morgan, a walk to Weeks and an infield hit by Braun. Aramis

Ramirez grounded out to end the inning.

After

retiring the first 10 batters he faced, Greinke allowed a double to

Stubbs in the fourth. Stubbs’ double was the only hit for the Reds in

the first six innings.

NOTES:

Braun was in the lineup despite aggravating a nagging Achilles injury

Tuesday night. … Both teams are off Thursday. Milwaukee LHP Randy Wolf

(2-3, 6.68 ERA) faces Chicago Cubs RHP Matt Garza (2-1, 2.67) at Miller

Park on Friday, while Cincinnati RHP Mike Leake (0-4, 5.97) faces

Washington LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 1.72) in Cincinnati on Friday. …

Wednesday’s attendance was 27,090.