Brewers' offense breaks out in 8-3 win over Reds
Ramirez looked like his old self this time, smacking a three-run triple in the fourth inning to help the Milwaukee Brewers shake off their recent offensive struggles with an 8-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
"It felt good, because we won the game — and we needed this game," Ramirez said.
The Brewers scored all eight of their runs with two outs, a good sign for manager Ron Roenicke.
But there was one potential bad sign for Roenicke and the Brewers: Ryan Braun tweaked his nagging Achilles' injury on a play in the outfield, and Roenicke said it's not clear if he would play in Wednesday's series finale.
"He was doing pretty good until that play, so we'll see how he is tomorrow," Roenicke said.
Yovani Gallardo (2-3) gave up two runs in six innings and tied a season high with eight strikeouts for the Brewers, who had lost eight of their previous 11 games. Milwaukee was coming off a miserable road trip that included significant knee injuries to first baseman Mat Gamel and shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
"It was definitely a rough road trip with the injuries we had," Gallardo said. "(It's) one of those things that you want to get this thing turned around as quickly as possible. And guys came out today swinging the bat, swinging the bat awesome."
Gallardo had an RBI single in the fifth, snapping an eight-game scoreless streak by the Reds' bullpen.
"You don't know what game's going to turn things around," Roenicke said. "We know we're going to turn it around and hopefully this was the start."
Scott Rolen's double in the eighth was the 506th of his career, tying Babe Ruth for 48th on the all-time list. Cincinnati's Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer off Gallardo in the sixth, his 10th this season.
Reds starter Homer Bailey (1-3) gave up six runs and six hits in 3 2-3 innings. He walked three, struck out four and hit a batter.
"They capitalized all day actually," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "All their runs scored with two outs. They had the bases loaded twice and got a couple of hits. We had the bases loaded once. We had some action, but they were getting the clutch hits all night long."
Cesar Izturis homered for the Brewers, his first home run since July 10, 2010.
Braun on first base after a two-out single in the first, Bailey hit Ramirez in the left arm with a 93-mph fastball. Ramirez briefly was attended to by a trainer but remained in the game.
Bailey then walked Corey Hart to load the bases for Jonathan Lucroy, who hit a single up the middle that scored Braun and Ramirez for a 2-0 lead.
Nyjer Morgan made a sensational catch to rob Scott Rolen of a potential home run in the second, leaping near the center-field wall and coming down with the ball. Travis Ishikawa then had a big catch of his own to end the inning, diving into the seats down the first-base line to catch a foul popup.
"It picks up everybody," Roenicke said of the big defensive plays.
Milwaukee came up with another two-out rally in the second, when Morgan singled, Rickie Weeks walked and Braun pounded a ground-rule double to left, scoring Morgan for a 3-0 lead. Ramirez popped out to end the inning.
Bailey loaded the bases with two out in his half of the fourth, and Baker brought in reliever J.J. Hoover to face Ramirez.
The Brewers signed Ramirez as a free agent in the offseason, hoping the former Cubs slugger could take Prince Fielder's role in the cleanup spot. But coming into Tuesday's game, Ramirez was hitting .215 — and he made a throwing error in the fourth inning.
With the Miller Park crowd sitting in relative silence, a fan in the second deck shouted "Show us why you're here!" at Ramirez — and he did a few pitches later, smacking a bases-clearing triple to right stretched Milwaukee's lead to 6-0.
"Another huge hit, getting smoked in the arm and comes through with that," Roenicke said. "Nice seeing him run to third. He's swinging the bat well. He is."
NOTES: The Brewers announced contract extensions for general manager Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke. Melvin's new deal goes through 2015, while Roenicke is signed through 2014 with a club option for 2015. ... Miller Park's retractable roof was open to start the game, but had to be closed in the first inning with the possibility of rain moving through the area. ... RHP Zack Greinke (3-1, 4.11 ERA) races RHP Johnny Cueto (4-0, 1.31) in the series finale Wednesday.