Braun, Thames homer, Brews stop Reds’ 4-game win string 5-1
CINCINNATI — Jimmy Nelson is making opponents work for their runs. So far, it’s paying off.
Nelson turned in his second straight strong start, Ryan Braun and Eric Thames homered and the Milwaukee Brewers snapped Cincinnati’s four-game winning streak, knocking off the Reds 5-1 Thursday night.
At 5-5, the Brewers reached .500 for the first time since they were 5-5 last April 15.
Nelson (1-0) gave up one run and five hits in seven innings, striking out five without a walk. Last week against the Cubs, he threw six solid innings.
He’s allowed two walks and one run in a combined 13 innings.
“Less baserunners,” he said, matter-of-factly. “They’re going to have to do some things with the bat. You want to make them earn everything.”
Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell likes what he’s seen from Nelson.
“He was in control the whole time. It’s a good sign that he’s made some improvements and adjustments. He was the same pitcher in the seventh that he was in the first,” he said.
Nelson also helped himself at the plate. After Manny Pina and Orlando Arcia singled to start the third, Nelson put down a sacrifice bunt that set up Jonathan Villar’s run-scoring groundout and Thames’ RBI single.
Bronson Arroyo (0-2), making his first start in Cincinnati since Sept. 28, 2013, allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings. Last weekend at St. Louis, the 40-year-old Arroyo was roughed up in his first appearance after missing 2 1/2 seasons with injuries.
“It’s only been two starts,” Arroyo said. “To be honest with you, it is uncharted territory. I don’t know if I am going to stay like this the rest of the year or if I’m going to get stronger. I felt stronger today than I did the last time out. I hope it keeps progressing in that direction.”
Billy Hamilton hit a leadoff single in the Reds first, stole second and later scored on Joey Votto’s sacrifice fly. Cincinnati had scored at least six runs in each game during its winning streak.
Braun’s 36 homers against the Reds are more than any other player has hit against them since his rookie season in 2007.
Braun snapped a tie with Albert Pujols for second among visitors who’ve homered at Great American Ball Park. Braun’s 21 homers at the 15-year-old facility second only to Lance Berkman.
Brewers: Braun and CF Keon Broxton narrowly avoided colliding while Braun was catching Votto’s fly ball in left-center field in the sixth.
Reds: C Devin Mesoraco, on a rehab assignment after undergoing hip and shoulder surgery last year, was scheduled to catch on Thursday for Double-A Pensacola, one day after logging nine innings behind the plate.
Brewers: LHP Tommy Milone makes his third appearance and second start of the season and first career start for Milwaukee against Cincinnati on Friday. He last faced the Reds on June 25, 2013, at Oakland.
Reds: RHP Scott Feldman makes his fifth career start against Milwaukee and first at home. All four of his previous starts, for three different teams, have been at Milwaukee.
Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart had three hits to extend his season-opening hitting streak to eight games. He opened last season with a 10-game streak that was snapped by Jake Arrieta’s no-hitter.
Milwaukee 3B Travis Shaw played his first game against the team his father, Jeff, was a reliever for from 1996 until being traded to the Dodgers on July 4, 1998.
After the game, the Brewers announced RHP David Goforth had been designated for assignment. Goforth had pitched one scoreless inning in one game this season after being promoted from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sunday.