Simon, Hoover prolong differing Reds streaks

Right-handed starter threw 7 2/3 strong innings vs. Brewers

Simon, Hoover prolong differing Reds streaks

CINCINNATI -- The good news for the Reds pitching staff is that the rotation kept its streak going. The bad news is the bullpen kept its streak alive, too.

Fortunately for Cincinnati, starting pitcher Alfredo Simon's supreme start went into the eighth inning and plenty of offense offset J.J. Hoover extending the bullpen's record streak with a run allowed to 23 games in the ninth inning of a 9-5 victory over the Brewers.

Simon gave the Reds their longest start of the season at 7 2/3 innings with three earned runs, seven hits, one walk and five strikeouts. It extended the rotation's streak of quality starts to a season-high five in a row, six of the last seven and seven of the last nine.

"It's big for everyone, and probably no more important than for [Simon] himself, to know that he can go out there and throw that kind of game," Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Simon came into the game 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA and missed a start because of right biceps tendinitis. In that stretch, he also authored the team's shortest start of the season at two-thirds of an inning vs. the Cubs on April 13.

"April was tough. When I came from the Dominican, my arm was not really in shape to throw a lot of pitches," Simon said. "But now I feel comfortable. I had the tendinitis and my arm is feeling a lot better right now."

While recording 16 of his outs on ground balls, including three double plays, Simon was the pitcher the Reds hoped they were getting again when he was signed on March 17 to bolster a young rotation.

Simon gave up Aaron Hill's two-out RBI single in the fifth inning for Milwaukee's first run. He did not walk a batter until two outs in the eighth, which preceded Alex Presley's two-run homer on pitch No. 111 to make it a 7-3 game.

"Before, I didn't throw a lot of innings and the bullpen was used a lot," Simon said. "Today I just wanted to go deep in the game. Everything come true, and I'm happy to throw 7 2/3 innings."

Only Robert Stephenson on April 19 vs. Colorado had completed seven innings for the Reds previously this season. Simon's effort left four outs for the bullpen to cover and a golden chance to snap the record streak. Blake Wood picked up the third out of the eighth inning, and Price went to Hoover for the ninth after Cincinnati added two runs in the bottom half.

"I was planning on having Wood go back out in a four-run game, and when it became a six-run game, it gave me a chance to get Hoover in there for some work," Price said.

Hoover's first batter, Chris Carter, slugged a homer off the batter's eye in center field to continue the bullpen's dubious streak. Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed with a double and scored. In 12 games, Hoover has a 14.34 ERA and is tied with Simon for the team lead with six homers allowed.

Price hasn't determined if Hoover has run out of chances.

"We'll see. I pull for Hoov so much," Price said. "I really want to see him get it turned around, but you have to see it."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.