Congrats Brandon!! LOL!
MILWAUKEE -- When it came to run support over most of his first five big league starts, Reds rookie starter Travis Wood wasn't just unlucky. He was kicked in the shin by a leprechaun while walking under a ladder.
Wood finally got the help befitting his efforts as the Reds pounded the Brewers for a 10-2 win Wednesday afternoon. All of the runs came in two very big bunches: a five-run sixth inning and five-run eighth.
"A pair of fives and that was the ballgame," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
It was more than that since the Reds also took two of three in the series after dropping the first game. They brought some shock and awe while scoring 22 runs and notching 32 hits in the wins. Cincinnati, which came in percentage points behind the first-place St. Louis, also finished a six-game road trip through Houston and Milwaukee at 4-2.
Wood (1-1) pitched five innings and gave up two earned runs on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
Over his previous three starts, the Reds scored four runs for Wood and all of those were Friday at Houston. The other two games were 1-0 Cincinnati losses, including a start where Wood took a perfect game into the ninth inning.
"It feels good. Coming out today, every game, I'm trying to get that first one," the left-handed Wood said. "Today I was able to throw well and keep the team close. We ended up getting a lot of big runs late. We battled and got it done."
More hard luck seemed headed Wood's way as he faced the minimum in his first 10 batters with only one hit. Meanwhile, Brewers lefty Chris Narveson kept the Reds scoreless for his first five innings.
Wood even had a red-faced moment in the third inning. After he struck out Joe Inglett, the pitcher and catcher Ryan Hanigan started walking to the dugout.
The problem was there were only two outs. Oops.
"I didn't hear too much about that, yet. But I'm sure I will in the days to come," said Wood, who wound up striking out the side in the third. "I don't really know what happened. Normally, I walk off that side of the mound after a strikeout because the ball usually comes and I just kept going. It happens. It shouldn't, but it did."
The Brewers broke through in the fourth when Ryan Braun hit a RBI double to left field and Jonathan Lucroy added a two-out RBI single to left field. A Jay Bruce diving catch on Carlos Gomez's fly ball to right field ended the inning and kept more runs from scoring.
"That's the thing about giving your ballclub a chance to win," Wood said. "We're a great hitting team. You can't hold us down for long."
That proved true as the Reds sent 11 men to the plate in the sixth, with the first six reaching safely. Joey Votto's RBI single scored Brandon Phillips with the inning's first run to end Narveson's day. Against Kameron Loe, Jonny Gomes followed with an RBI double. Miguel Cairo came through with a two-run double down the left-field line.
With runners on the corners and one out, Hanigan caught everyone by surprise when he perfectly executed a suicide squeeze bunt back to the mound as Cairo sprinted home for a fifth run.
"You go into some ballparks and some lineups, and they're all home run threats," Gomes said. "You keep them in the ballpark, and you'll be all right. But I think we're deeper than that. We've got some situational hitters. You saw the squeeze. The top of our lineup is going to get on, and we're going to run. We'll go from first to third and steal bags as well. I don't think we're just home run threats."
Wood was lifted for pinch-hitter Laynce Nix as the inning continued. He had made only 82 pitches, including 60 for strikes.
"It was kind of strange to get a five-inning win, especially after all the great games he's pitched," Baker said. "We needed that one badly. It was a big getaway day win for us."
More nifty plays came in the Brewers' seventh. Gomez hit a double to the left-field wall and was thrown out on one hop at third by Gomes while trying for a triple.
"It was only 5-2 at the time," Gomes said. "A leadoff triple might turn the game around. It was a big out for us."
The Reds added five more runs in the top of the eighth. Phillips slugged a 450-foot grand slam off Bernie Brewer's slide well beyond the left-field fence. It was believed to be the first time in a game that the slide was hit, which Bernie confirmed with a silent nod of his enlarged head after the game.
Two batters later, Votto added a homer -- his career-high and league-leading 26th of the season.
"Run support is always nice," Wood said. "You have to pitch with it or without it."
This time, Wood had plenty to spare.