Offense delivers, evens series with Reds

Offense delivers, evens series with Reds

Offense delivers, evens series with Reds
MILWAUKEE -- He signed a contract extension on Tuesday afternoon, but the best part of Brewers manager Ron Roenicke's day came much later, when his team finally put together the sort of complete game he'd been hoping for.

The Brewers pitched. They hit. They defended. And they won.

They beat the Reds, 8-3, to even a three-game series with Zack Greinke slated to put his perfect Miller Park record on the line in Wednesday's rubber match. Chalk it up as a key intra-division game for the Brewers, who have lost four of their last five series including their last three in a row.

"You don't know what game is going to turn it around," Roenicke said. "I know we're going to turn it around, and hopefully this is the start."

They took a step toward a turnaround on Tuesday behind Yovani Gallardo, who pitched six quality innings and contributed to the team's terrific night at the plate.

"We definitely needed it," said Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, whose two-out, two-strike, two-run single put the Brewers on the board in a long first inning.

Lucroy started a trend. All eight of the Brewers' runs scored with two outs, including Gallardo's RBI single in the fifth inning for a 7-0 lead. It came in a 1-1 count, the Brewers' first run-scoring hit of the night with fewer than two strikes.

Lucroy hit an 0-and-2 pitch from Reds starter Homer Bailey for his two-run single in the first inning. Ryan Braun delivered a run-scoring double in the second inning on a 1-2 pitch. And third baseman Aramis Ramirez greeted Reds reliever J.J. Hoover in the fourth inning with a bases-loaded triple for three more Brewers runs.

Unfortunately for the Brewers, Braun later aggravated his right Achilles while chasing a hit in the eighth inning and is questionable for Wednesday's finale. He has been getting treatment on his Achilles since he was hurt May 1 and sat out May 2, but since then has been playing.

Shortstop Cesar Izturis added some late insurance with a solo home in the seventh. It was his first homer since July 10, 2010 with Baltimore.

Yes, it came with two outs.

"They were getting the clutch hits all night long," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Any time you get clutch hits like that, especially when you were putting them out there, most of the times you're not going to win the ballgame."

The Brewers had been missing those hits this season. They entered the night with 34 two-out runs this season, tied with the Reds for 11th of 16 NL teams.

"That's a key for a winning ballclub," Ramirez said. "When you come through with those key hits, you're going to win a lot of ballgames. That's what we didn't do the last two days in San Francisco and [Monday] night."

Gallardo did not surrender a run until the sixth inning, when he fell into a 3-and-1 count against Jay Bruce and served up a two-run home run.

Before that inning, Gallardo had surrendered no runs and only two hits, but he struggled to contain his pitch count. He was out of the game after the sixth at 103 pitches, having allowed two runs on four hits with two walks. Gallardo's eight strikeouts matched his season high. His win was his first in five starts since April 11.

But the managers differed on Gallardo's outing. Roenicke called it a "great" game, and said he remarked to himself as Gallardo walked off the mound in the first inning, "He's got it again."

Baker saw it differently.

"He wasn't nearly as sharp as we've seen him," he said of Gallardo. "His pitch count got up there high too. Then when he got the lead, he settled down for a couple of innings there, and then it was time to get him out of there."

Either way, Bailey had a much tougher time. He retired the first two batters he faced but needed 17 pitches to do it. Bailey wound up throwing 42 pitches in the first inning, and was one two-out hit by Lucroy away from getting out of it unscathed. He was at 67 pitches after two innings, and he was out of the game with two outs in the fourth.

Bailey was charged with six runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings.

"Man, he was nasty tonight, too," Lucroy said. "You have to get those guys deep in pitch count because they start getting tired and making mistakes, and you take advantage. He was nasty, throwing 95 [mph]. He was almost too nasty, where he was in and out of the zone quick and you didn't swing at it. His slider was real hard, but it wasn't starting in the zone and you could see it. That's one of the nastiest I've seen [from] him."

The Brewers backed Gallardo with some terrific defense in the second inning. On back-to-back plays, center fielder Nyjer Morgan made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Scott Rolen, and first baseman Travis Ishikawa caught a foul pop while tumbling into the seats.

"We had a lot of fun," Lucroy said. "We hit well, pitched well, played 'D' well. It was a lot of fun."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.