Brewers complete sweep of Reds
The Milwaukee Brewers regained some of their swagger with a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds.
Earlier this month, the Brewers had a season-high seven-game winning streak followed by a stretch where they lost six of eight, including two straight to the St. Louis Cardinals in the three-game series that started this just concluded homestand. Then, came the Reds, winners of four straight and five of their last six.
The Brewers took it from Cincinnati with a 5-2 win on Sunday as Mike Cameron homered and Yovani Gallardo won his fifth game.
"Cincinnati had been playing very well," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "Sometimes you go through streaks where you don't get the hit when you need it. At 4-2, it winds up becoming a very good home stand. It was a nice rebound after losing five out of six."
The Brewers won 3-2 on Friday night, then pounded out 16 hits in Saturday's 9-5 victory as Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Cameron all homered. It was the first sweep of the Reds in a three-game series at Miller Park since July 3-5, 2006.
Despite all that, the Reds' Brandon Phillips still insisted that Cincinnati was the superior team.
"I feel like we're a better team than the Brewers," he said. "But today, they executed better than we did. They did the little things. We didn't do the little things the last two games. That's why they won the game."
However, he added that Milwaukee did everything right, and the Reds didn't.
"Good teams do little things to win," he said. "We got to do small things. Get them over, get them in and they executed. That's why they are in first place."
The Brewers came in sharing first place in the NL Central with the Cardinals.
It wasn't quite the gem Gallardo (5-2) threw on Monday against St. Louis when the right-hander had a no-hitter going into the sixth and finished allowing two hits in eight shutout innings, but he was good enough against Cincinnati.
"After the first couple of innings, I think my command wasn't where it was last time," he said. "You just got to fight yourself. You've got to battle through it."
He did just that as he lasted 5 1-3 innings, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and, except for Brandon Phillips' solo homer, allowed seven harmless hits. Gallardo struck out nine and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second.
Gallardo had plenty of early run support when the Brewers touched Reds starter Micah Ownings (3-4) for two runs in the first, one in the second and two more in the third.
"We got on the board early with Yo on the mound, so that made it much easier to really focus on getting the victory instead of trying to figure out how to score some runs," Cameron said.
In the first, JJ Hardy walked, took third on Ryan Braun's hit-and-run single and scored on Cameron's single. Braun came home on Mat Gamel's single. Hardy' sacrifice fly in the second and Cameron's 11th homer of the season after a walk to Prince Fielder in third pushed the lead to 5-1.
Owings retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth, but the damage had already been done. He went 5 2-3 innings, allowed eight hits, walked three and had five strikeouts.
Mitch Stetter took over for Gallardo in the sixth with runners at the corners and one out and pitched scoreless relief. Mark DeFelice relieved Stetter in the seventh and blanked Cincinnati. Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 13 chances.
Cameron's first error of the season set up the Reds' run in the third.
Hairston hit a fly to the warning track in left-center field. Playing center, Cameron made a long run and called for it as Braun, the leftfielder, just ducked out of his way. Cameron had the ball briefly, then dropped it. Jay Bruce's single drove in Hairston.
Phillips, who was hit by a pitch and singled, hit his ninth home run of the season in the fifth to trim the Brewers' lead to 5-2.
Reds RHP Edinson Volquez (4-2, 4.25 ERA) will be activated from the 15-day disabled list (back spasms) and make his ninth start of the season on Monday in the opener of a four-game series against the Cardinals in St. Louis. He left a game against San Diego on May 16 with mild spasms in his back and went on the DL on May 22. ... Gamel's RBI single in the first snapped an 0-for-16 slump. ... It was Hoffman bobblehead giveaway day for the 44,594 in attendance.