Cueto, Valdez lead Reds to series sweep of Brewers

Last Updated: Sun, Jul 22, 2012 20:47 hrs

Wilson Valdez drove in the tying run and scored the go-ahead run to back the gritty pitching of Johnny Cueto as the Cincinnati Reds wrapped up one of the best homestands in franchise history with a 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

Cueto (12-5) matched his single-season career high in wins to lead the Reds to their eighth victory on the 10-game homestand. It's only the fifth time in franchise history that Cincinnati posted at least eight wins on a home stand of 10 or fewer games. The last time was in 1975, when the Reds went 8-1 on a homestand.

First-place Cincinnati sandwiched three-game sweeps of NL Central Division-rivals St. Louis and Milwaukee around a split of a four-game series against Arizona and maintained its lead over Pittsburgh in the division. The Reds, who lead the Pirates by a half-game, are 5-2 since learning that All-Star first baseman Joey Votto needed arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Cueto (12-5) overcame a 30-pitch first inning, which ended with Milwaukee leaving the bases loaded, to complete seven while throwing 117 pitches. He gave up eight hits and one run with one walk. He tied his season high with nine strikeouts and capped his day by getting NL home run-leader Ryan Braun to fly out to center field with two outs and the potential tying run on third in the seventh inning.

Logan Ondrusek pitched the eighth inning. Aroldis Chapman allowed a two-out walk to pinch-hitter Carlos Gomez, who stole second, before Chapman earned his 17th save by striking out Braun.

Neither team hit a home run, snapping at 74 the streak of consecutive games in which at least one homer was hit at Great American Ball Park. The streak had been the longest active streak in the majors.

Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead in the third on Norichika Aoki's leadoff double and, after strikeouts by Nyjer Morgan and Braun, a run-scoring oppositie-field single to right-center by Aramis Ramirez.

The Reds capitalized on pitcher Mike Fiers' throwing error to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning. Chris Heisey singled with one out, stole second, and scored on Wilson Valdez's single to right-center field. Valdez went around to third on Fiers' errant pickoff attempt and scored on Brandon Phillips' sacrifice fly to center.

Fiers (3-4) lasted six innings, allowing five hits and two runs — one earned — with four strikeouts. He also hit a batter.

NOTES: The Reds are 24-13 against Milwaukee over the last two seasons and 17-6 against the Brewers in Cincinnati over the last three seasons. ... RHP Mat Latos, who allowed a career-high 10 hits in his last start against Houston on April 29, gets a chance to improve on that when he faces the Astros on Monday at Minute Maid Park in the first game of Cincinnati's seven-day, six-game road trip. ... LHP Randy Wolf is scheduled to start for Milwaukee in the opener of a three-game series at Philadelphia. Wolf's win in his last start on Tuesday against St. Louis was his first in 13 starts since April 30.

More from Sify: