Reds
Brewers
4 - 8 Final
  for this game

Vargas effective as Brewers top Reds

Aug 19, 2007 - 3:34 AM By Nick Berenz PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- The Milwaukee Brewers desperately needed one of their starting pitchers to break the recent trend of awful outings and lead a slumping club to victory. Claudio Vargas did just that on Saturday night.

Vargas did just enough, hurling 5 2/3 effective innings as the Brewers snapped a five-game losing streak with an 8-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park.

Gabe Gross and Geoff Jenkins hit a pair of three-run homers for the Brewers (63-60), who remained one-half game back of the Chicago Cubs (63-59), who defeated the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday - in the National League Central Division.

After back-to-back rough starts where Vargas allowed 13 runs in 9 2/3 innings, the righthander now has two consecutive solid starts - yielding just three runs in his last 11 2/3 frames.

"I went in with energy and tried to get the win because we really needed it," Vargas said. "I felt good, I went in ready to win."

On Saturday, Vargas (10-4) allowed one run and seven hits while striking out and walking five. Four relievers hurled the final 3 1/3 innings, including Francisco Cordero, who pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation.

"Claudio was as focused and determined as I've seen him," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He was bound and determined to do everything he could do to get us out of this little streak we've been in."

Milwaukee's starters had been among the worst in baseball in August, going 1-10 with a 7.21 ERA in their first 18 games. Vargas became only the second starter for the Brewers to notch a win this month. The last was rookie Yovanni Gallardo on August 3.

Despite snapping its five-game losing streak, Milwaukee has lost 16 of its last 23 and has not resembled the team that got off to a major league-best 24-10 record. Since the All-Star break, the team has gone 14-21 and lost its grasp on the top spot in the NL Central.

Reds starter Elizardo Ramirez (0-1) made his first start of the season, yielding three runs and five hits while striking out one without walking a batter. Ramirez enjoyed the best performance of his career last season when he faced the Brewers on August 16, notching career highs with eight innings and 10 strikeouts.

"I liked Ramirez, he threw a lot of quality strikes with the one mistake to Gross," Reds interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "Other than that, I thought he threw extremely well."

The Brewers struck first with a trio of two-out runs in the third inning. Vargas started with a two-out single up the middle and Rickie Weeks followed with an infield hit.

Gross cleared the bases with a three-run shot to center just out of the reach of leaping Josh Hamilton.

"It's different when you're always playing from behind. That ounce of being able to relax that bit helps you out," Gross said. "There's definitely more pressure to hit in those eighth and ninth innings when you're behind. With the lead, it's a little easier to just turn it loose."

The Reds made a charge in the sixth inning to close the gap. Brandon Phillips led off with a single and stole second base, and Javier Valentin drove him in with a two-out bloop single to center.

The Reds then loaded the bases, which prompted Yost to bring in lefthander Brian Shouse to face Hamilton. Shouse quickly disposed of Hamilton with a four-pitch strikeout, leaving the bases loaded and preserving the victory for Vargas.

In the bottom half of the sixth, the Brewers extended their lead against reliever Mike Stanton. Jenkins hit his 19th homer of the season to deep center, driving in Corey Hart and Ryan Braun.

Braun had been walked intentionally so Stanton could face the lefthanded Jenkins.

"That was a nice jolt for us," Jenkins said. "Them walking Brauny, it was obviously nice to hit a home run in a key part of the game."

"If I do my job and get Jenkins out, I don't think there's any doubt that we win this ballgame," Stanton said. "It has just been one of those runs. That pitch was pretty much in his nitro zone."

Weeks continued his hot hitting against Ramirez going 2-for-2 against him on Saturday. The young second baseman is 9-for-11 lifetime with a triple, two doubles, two singles and two walks against Ramirez.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CINCINNATI 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1 4 12 1
    MILWAUKEE 0 0 3 0 0 3 0 2 x 8 12 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CIN - ELIZARDO RAMIREZ, MIKE STANTON (6TH), GARY MAJEWSKI (7TH),
    EDDIE GUARDADO (8TH) AND JAVIER VALENTIN
    MIL - CLAUDIO VARGAS, BRIAN SHOUSE (6TH), CARLOS
    VILLANUE

    Aug 18 10:20 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JAVIER VALENTIN SCORED BRANDON PHILLIPS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J VALENTIN ON FIRST, A DUNN ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 4
    MILWAUKEE 8 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: E ENCARNACION (.264, 1-FOR-4)

    Reds vs. BrewersAug 18 10:19 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN BRAUN SCORED PRINCE FIELDER.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, R BRAUN ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 3
    MILWAUKEE 8 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: G JENKINS (.276, 1-FOR-3, HR, 3 RBI)

    Reds vs. BrewersAug 18 10:02 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY PRINCE FIELDER SCORED COREY HART.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, P FIELDER ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 3
    MILWAUKEE 7 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: R BRAUN (.342, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Reds vs. BrewersAug 18 9:58 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY SCOTT HATTEBERG SCORED KEN GRIFFEY JR.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, S HATTEBERG ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 3
    MILWAUKEE 6 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: J VALENTIN (.284, 2-FOR-3, RBI)

    Reds vs. BrewersAug 18 9:35 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    ADAM DUNN HIT INTO DOUBLE PLAY SCORING JEFF KEPPINGER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K GRIFFEY JR ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 2
    MILWAUKEE 6 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: S HATTEBERG (.300, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Reds vs. BrewersAug 18 9:32 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY GEOFF JENKINS (19) TO CENTER WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 6TH OFF MIKE STANTON SCORED COREY HART AND RYAN BRAUN.
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1, MILWAUKEE 6
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: B HALL (.258, 0-FOR-2)

    Reds vs. BrewersAug 18 9:18 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JAVIER VALENTIN SCORED BRANDON PHILLIPS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J VALENTIN ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 1
    MILWAUKEE 3 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: E ENCARNACION (.262, 0-FOR-2)

    Reds vs. BrewersAug 18 8:54 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY GABE GROSS (6) TO CENTER WITH 2 OUT
    IN THE 3RD OFF ELIZARDO RAMIREZ SCORED CLAUDIO VARGAS AND RICKIE
    WEEKS.
    CURRENT SCORE: CINCINNATI 0, MILWAUKEE 3
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: P FIELDER (.284, 0-FOR-1)

    Reds vs. BrewersAug 18 8:07 PM