By John Fay
Enquirer staff writer
MILWAUKEE - The Reds jumped on the Milwaukee Brewers early Sunday afternoon en route to a 9-2 victory.
Adam Dunn (44) is congratulated at home by Sean Casey (21) and Ryan Freel after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
But there was one moment when the game hung in the balance.
Luke Hudson, spotted a 5-0 lead, found himself in trouble in the third with runners at second and third, two outs, and the Brewers' most dangerous hitter, Lyle Overbay, at the plate.
Pitching coach Don Gullett went to the mound.
"He said, get ahead in the count and keep the ball down," Hudson said.
Hudson did as he was told. He threw a ball, and then struck out Overbay on three pitches, the last a curve ball that dropped out of the strike zone.
"That was a big out," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "It was a 9-2 game, but if Overbay does something there - and he's capable of it - it could be a different game."
Hudson's fifth start for the Reds was his best: He went six shutout innings, allowing only one hit. He walked three and struck out four.
The victory snapped a five-game losing streak for the Reds.
It's no coincidence that Sunday ended a streak of five non-quality starts for Reds pitchers. The Reds are 41-17 when a pitcher makes a quality start.
Hudson was given a big cushion from the start. The Reds scored three runs in the first and two in the second.
Ryan Freel keyed the assault with a double in the first and home run in the second. It was Freel's third homer of the year and second in 13 at-bats. He went 373 at-bats between his first and second home runs.
Adam Dunn turned the game into a rout the inning after the big strikeout of Overbay with a rocket to right. The three-run shot was Dunn 41st home run of the year.
D'Angelo Jimenez and Felipe Lopez each had two hits and two RBI.
Hudson improved to 2-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.96. He has given up two or fewer earned runs in his last four starts.
He was pulled after six innings and 91 pitches. The Reds are bringing him along slowly because he is 18 months removed from shoulder surgery.
"We try to keep him around 100," Miley said. "With an 8-0 lead, it's not worth it to send him out there for eight or nine more pitches."
Hudson, 27, a right-hander, has the best stuff of the Reds' young starters. But he struggles with his control at times.
After the Reds gave him a 3-0 lead, he fell behind the first hitter 3-0.
"That's the last thing you want to do," he said. "You want to get your team back in the dugout as quick at possible."
Said Miley: "He was a little erratic. But he made pitches when he had to."
The only hit Hudson allowed was Brady Clark's double in the third. Hudson retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.
"There's room for improvement," Hudson said. "I could be more aggressive early in the count so I don't run my pitch count up so quick,"
Dantonio wants to ring Victory Bell
Elder owns Highlands
Anderson gets no love
Air attack crucial in win for Crusaders
Photos from the Prep Classic
BENGALS / NFL
Lewis slowly molds his own team
Coach: Couch cut because of unproductive play
REDS / BASEBALL
It's official: Miley back for '05
Hudson dazzles in 9-2 victory
Frances visits Casey, Wilson
Contrite Brown pledges to return
AL: Boston rebounds after streak snapped
NL: Cardinals extend NL Central lead
Wildcats struggle to move football
Purdue's big plays too much for Syracuse
U.S. OPEN TENNIS
Serena advances to another matchup with Capriati
MORE SPORTS HEADLINES
Digest: Scipion may rock 'n' roll in the Cradle today at RD
Stadler cruises to 4th win
Sports on TV, radio
Return to Reds front page...