CINCINNATI -- For the first time since May, Jimmy Nelson found a "W" next to his name on Saturday.
Back on track after making a series of mechanical adjustments, Nelson pitched seven scoreless innings for his first victory since May 29 in the Brewers' 9-1 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Nelson credited the adjustments, and the nine runs of support he received in the first three innings.
"I told him after we scored a lot of those runs, 'Relax. Let's try to throw strikes. It's the third inning, it's 9-0, they're not running anywhere. Let's just relax and work on execution,'" catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "He did a really nice job."
It was his best start in a month and a half, since he pitched 7 1/3 innings to beat the Reds on May 29 at Miller Park. Nelson hadn't completed more than six innings since then, and was 0-4 with a 5.14 ERA in seven subsequent starts while the team went 1-6 in those games.
"It felt good to get back to where I was early on," Nelson said. "[Pitching coach Derek Johnson] and I, the last couple of weeks, had been working on using my legs better, both my lift leg and my drive leg. It gives my arm a chance to get up a little bit better.
"Better command, pitches seem to have a little more life on them, especially late in the game. There wasn't a big drop in 'stuff.' That's big, too."
"He pitched with confidence tonight and believed in everything," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Some of the stuff he had been working on, you really had a chance to see it come to fruition tonight."
Nelson also was in control at the plate. He squared to bunt with the bases loaded in the third inning before pulling back the bat and "slashing" a single over first baseman Joey Votto for two runs and an 8-0 lead. It was 9-0 before that inning was over.
Nelson has four hits this season. Three are slash singles.
"It's his best offensive weapon," Counsell joked.
Nelson didn't dispute that assessment.
"I think I'm just going to slash every [at-bat] now," he said with a laugh. "I stink at hitting, but I'm getting better at slashing."