MILWAUKEE -- Dan Straily has been the Reds' best starter all season long, and he pitched to form against the Brewers on Saturday night.
Straily continued his dominance of the Crew, allowing one run over 6 2/3 innings while striking out five, as the Reds snapped a four-game losing streak with a 6-1 win at Miller Park. All Straily would need in support was a two-run homer in the first by Joey Votto, who continued his torrid second half at the plate and subsequently spoiled Milwaukee starter Taylor Jungmann's first Major League start since April 28.
"Certainly, I think we can say he's been our steadiest pitcher all year," Votto said of Straily, who improved to 14-8 with a 3.74 ERA on the season. "He's been going out there taking the ball every fifth day. I think he should be happy and proud of what he's accomplished this year."
The lone blemish on Straily's evening was a solo homer by Domingo Santana, as the right-hander improved to 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA (five earned runs over 27 innings) against the Brewers in 2016.
"I've been preaching it since day one; I want to go as deep as I can and keep us in the ball game," Straily said. "How late in the game that possibly is, each night dictates how late that is because each night is different. It's just one of those things, and it's who I try to be as a pitcher."
Cincinnati added insurance runs against the Brewers' bullpen in the sixth, seventh and ninth, led by Adam Duvall's double, run scored and two RBIs.
Demoted after just five starts despite starting the Brewers' third game of the season, Jungmann returned as a starter on Saturday, surrendering two runs over four innings despite walking four and striking out three. Both Jungmann and Brewers manager Craig Counsell said the right-hander was "a little rusty" after only making two relief appearances since his recall earlier in September.
"I think I pride myself in battling through outings like that," Jungmann said. "I had a nonexistent curveball today, which is pretty frustrating. I felt OK, a little rusty, but a loss is a loss, so you take it for what it is."
Counsell said Jungmann would get another start during the Brewers' final series of the season in Colorado.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Votto makes Miller Park mayhem: When Votto lifted Jungmann's first-pitch fastball to straightaway center field, it gave him 26 homers for the season. With a chance to become the first in the Major Leagues since Ichiro Suzuki in 2004 to hit .400 after the All-Star break, Votto is batting .408 in the second half. No doubt he was in the right place to boost his numbers. The homer was also Votto's 16th at Miller Park, his highest total in any road ballpark. He is on a career-high 11-game hitting streak against the Brewers.
"Any time you take the mound with a lead, it kind of takes a little pressure off," Straily said. "I don't know if anyone else in the ballpark noticed this, but when they scored those runs again, the next half inning, Gennett, Braun and Carter were due up. The heart of the order and instead of a one-run lead it was a two-run lead. Huge difference on the mound knowing I have two runs to play with instead of one with that group of hitters coming to the plate the next inning." More >
Saturdays are for Domingo: Santana's second-inning homer was a skyscraper. The Brewers right fielder took a first-pitch curveball from Straily and lofted it high into the Miller Park air at a 43-degree launch angle, according to Statcast™. Duvall's leaping attempt at the wall in left field came up short, as Santana notched his first career double-digit homer season with the second-highest launch angle of any Brewers homer this season.
Duvall creates scoring chance: In the top of the sixth after he hit a leadoff double, Duvall stole third base with one out and Eugenio Suarez batting. Suarez followed by chopping an RBI infield single to third base that made it a 3-1 game for Cincinnati.
"[Duvall] puts himself in a position where they had to go infield in," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He scores going on contact on that chopper by Suarez for an infield hit. That was a big run, it was the third run and gave us a little more cushion."
Stolen base crown: With some help from injuries among the other frontrunners, Jonathan Villar's stolen base in the third effectively clinched the Major League stolen-base crown. Following a two-out walk, Villar swiped second for his 59th steal of the season, breaking a tie with Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton, who is out for the season with a left oblique injury. In third place is Pirates outfielder Starling Marte with 47 steals, but he is also currently out with back spasms. Villar will become the third Brewers player all time to lead the Majors in steals, joining Tommy Harper in 1969 and Scott Podsednik in 2004.
"I'd like to see them healthy, because it's better to have competition," Villar said. More >
"In the industry, everyone talks now about where have all the pitchers gone? We look at [Kyle] Hendricks with the Cubs and the kid over here in Milwaukee, [Zach] Davies, and they're just pitchers. They command the zone, they change speeds and then here comes Dan Straily, who does the same thing. It's not overpowering stuff, but it's pitch ability. It's the ability to execute pitches and change speed and keep lineups off-balance, not just one time through the order or two, but three or four times. That, I think, is what the industry has to get back there. The power arms are great and in the end, you have to get hitters out." -- Price, on Straily
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In Straily's last start against the Brewers on Sept. 13, he induced two groundouts compared with 10 flyouts as the Crew didn't hit a ball on the ground until the fifth. On Saturday, he induced eight groundouts and two flyouts.
"There were more ground balls," Counsell said. "I didn't see a different guy. He's been tough against us, and he's had a good season. I give him a lot of credit."
WHAT'S NEXT Reds: When Brandon Finnegan takes the ball in Sunday's 2:10 p.m. ET series finale, it will be his 31st start of 2016, and it's widely expected to be his final start of the season, as well. Finnegan last pitched on Sept. 17 and lasted 2 1/3 innings with five runs (two earned) with seven hits and four walks in a 7-3 loss to the Pirates.
Brewers:Wily Peralta pitched Opening Day at Miller Park, and he will start Sunday's 1:10 p.m. CT home finale, too. Ryan Braun is expected to man left field in what could be his final home game for the Brewers, who figure to continue fielding trade offers for Braun this winter.