(foxsports.com) Johnny Cueto (1-2, 1.86 ERA) has won five straight starts over Milwaukee, posting a 1.70 ERA and limiting its hitters to a .172 batting average while striking out 33 in 37 innings. Five of the seven runs he’s allowed in those victories have come on solo homers, and Cueto battled his way to the most recent one at Miller Park last Wednesday.
Working on a high pitch count, Price trusted Cueto to overcome a leadoff double to Logan Schafer in the eighth inning, and the right-hander delivered with strikeouts of Elian Herrera and Adam Lind to preserve a tie game he won when the Reds (9-10) scored in the top of the ninth of their 2-1 victory.
Cueto has made life miserable for Ryan Braun, who’s 8 for 41 with 12 strikeouts in their matchups and could return after missing the last two games with soreness in his right side. Aramis Ramirez is one of the few Brewers who has given Cueto fits, hitting .354 with five homers and four doubles in 48 at-bats.
The righty has been near-invincible at home versus Milwaukee (4-16), going 7-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 10 starts. That bodes well for Cincinnati, which opened this three-game set with a 9-6 victory Monday to snap a three-game losing streak.
Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer in a four-run second and the Reds took advantage of nine walks by Brewers pitchers — the most by Milwaukee since August 2013. That plate discipline helped Cincinnati end its funk with runners in scoring position, going 4 for 14 after failing to deliver in 21 at-bats during its losing streak.
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Milwaukee’s slow start — the worst in franchise history — is doubly damaging since all but three of its games have been against division opponents. The Brewers were denied a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time and have dropped six straight on the road.
Kyle Lohse (1-3, 7.94) picked up the Brewers after Cueto shut them down, allowing a two-run homer to Marlon Byrd and two other hits in seven innings of a 4-2 victory Thursday. The crisp 89-pitch effort was a welcome relief to the veteran right-hander, who had been drilled for 18 runs and 24 hits in 15 2/3 innings in losing his first three starts.
Cueto is 8-3 with a 2.92 ERA in 17 starts versus Milwaukee.
Cincinnati took three of four from the Brewers earlier in the year.