Published November 20, 2014
Yovani Gallardo tied a career-high for strikeouts in his hander hopes to push the Brewers closer to their first division championship since 1982.
With three victories in their last four contests entering tonight's game against the Reds, Milwaukee's magic number to win the NL Central stands at seven, as the Brewers are 5 1/2 games ahead of second-place St. Louis.
The last time Milwaukee celebrated a baseball division championship, the Brewers were playing in the American League. They captured the AL East in 1982 before losing in seven games in the World Series to the Cardinals.
Gallardo, who is six innings shy of 200 for the first time in a single season, snapped a personal two-game slide when he beat the Phillies. He's 2-3 with a 5.76 ERA in 10 starts vs. the Reds.
Ryan Braun has been a huge factor for the Brewers this season. He belted two home runs in a 6-3 victory in the opener of this three-game series at Great American Ball Park. Prince Fielder, George Kottaras and Mark Kotsay all homered for the Brewers, who bounced back after dropping a 6-2 decision to the Rockies on Wednesday.
Braun also joined Tommy Harper (1970) as the only players in franchise history with a 30-homer, 30-steal season.
"It was certainly something that was on my radar," he said. "I'm really proud. It's not easy. There's a reason why it's been done only one time in franchise history."
Randy Wolf (13-9) was stellar, going seven-plus innings, giving up three runs on seven hits while fanning seven without issuing a walk. John Axford worked a scoreless ninth to earn his 43rd save of the season.
Edinson Volquez has had success in his career when facing the Brewers, as evidenced by a 3-1 mark in seven starts, although his ERA is 5.80 against Milwaukee. The righty has dropped his last two starts, both on the road, against St. Louis and Colorado.
Prior to tonight's game, the Reds will unveil a bronze statue of Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench. Among those scheduled to attend are former teammates Joe Morgan, Dave Concepcion, Cesar Geronimo, George Foster and Doug Flynn.
Dusty Baker's next win will be the 1,480th of his managerial career, tying him with Hall of Famer Earl Weaver for 21st on the all-time list.
The problem for Baker's team last night was not coming through with the big inning offensively.
"We hit in some key double plays," Baker said. "We hit into three double plays tonight and that eliminates most rallies."
Cincinnati has won eight of its 14 meetings with the Brewers this season.