Bruce homers, backs strong Marquis as Reds top Brewers
By Mark Sheldon and Andy Call
CINCINNATI -- Reds bats emerged from a recent funk Monday against a Brewers team it previously hit hard only a week ago in Milwaukee. Cincinnati chased starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson early but held off a ninth-inning rally to get a 9-6 victory in the three-game series opener at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds sent nine men to the plate in a four-run bottom of the second inning and added three more runs in the third. A two-run home run by Jay Bruce kickstarted the rally against Nelson. Later with runners on first and second and one out, pitcher Jason Marquis chopped an RBI single off third baseman Aramis Ramirez's glove to snap the Reds' 0-for-23 streak with runners in scoring position. A bases-loaded walk to Zack Cozart forced home another run.
In the Reds' third inning, which began with back-to-back walks, a Nelson wild pitch scored Todd Frazier. A one-out lined RBI single by Marlon Byrd scored Bruce, and Byrd later came home on a passed ball.
Marquis completed eight innings for the first time since May 8, 2013, for the Padres. He allowed two earned runs and seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Marquis also helped himself by inducing three ground-ball double plays. Jean Segura's two-out RBI single scored Milwaukee's first run in the third inning. Adam Lind added a two-out single that scored Gerardo Parra in the sixth.
"We didn't do anything off Marquis. He threw the ball well," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We didn't square up many balls against him. We didn't start off well against him in his last outing, either. He kept the ball down. He had good movement. He threw a nice sinker. He knows how to change speeds."
Struggling Reds reliever Burke Badenhop faced five batters in the top of the ninth, but retired only one while being charged with four runs. Aroldis Chapman entered in a non-save situation and let three inherited runners score. With the tying run at the plate, Chapman got the final two outs with the inning's ninth batter, pinch-hitter Ryan Braun, striking out to end it. For the Reds, the win snapped the three-game losing streak that followed three straight wins last week at Miller Park. The Brewers' league-worst record dropped to 4-16.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bruce snaps 0-fer: Since hitting a grand slam last Tuesday, Bruce had been 0-for-14 with nine strikeouts. In his first at-bat on Monday, which wound up sparking a big bottom of the second inning against Nelson, Bruce snapped that streak by hitting a two-run homer to right field that was estimated at 362 feet. Nelson had not allowed a home run over his first 21 innings this season. More >
In the Big Inning(s): Nelson gave up more earned runs in the second inning (4) than during his first three starts combined (3) and issued more walks in the second and third innings (5) than in those three starts (4). He threw 71 pitches over 2 1/3 innings. More >
Extra, Extra: In the two-run bottom of the sixth inning, Brandon Phillips hit a two-out double to the left-field wall that scored Frazier. For Phillips, it marked his first extra-base hit of the season and it snapped a streak of 86 plate appearances since late 2014 without an extra-base hit.
The New Guy: Parra, who started in place of Braun in right field for the second consecutive day, doubled twice and scored a run. Braun was left out of the lineup despite being 15-for-28 (.536) lifetime vs. Marquis.
"I knew I was back last year. It was definitely nice to get to that point and live it. Game ends, I start my routine to get prepared for my next start, physically. I should be fine. I was excited that I was able to go that deep into the game, give the bullpen a rest and a chance to win." -- Marquis, who matched a career high with his eight innings and 113 pitches. He he did not pitch in the Majors last season while trying to recover from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow
"Pretty much, overall, I was bad." -- Nelson
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers: The series at Cincinnati continues Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET/6:10 CT. Kyle Lohse (1-3, 7.94) will start for Milwaukee. Lohse is 8-5 with a 2.69 ERA in 21 career starts against the Reds, including seven strong innings in a 4-2 Milwaukee victory last Thursday.
Reds: Ace Johnny Cueto (1-2, 1.86) will oppose Lohse on the mound for Cincinnati. Cueto earned his first win of 2015 at Milwaukee on Wednesday with eight innings of one-run baseball on five hits. He threw a career-high 125 pitches, but a rainout on Saturday pushed the rotation back and gave Cueto an extra day of rest.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.