Johnny Cueto finally got what he deserved.
The Cincinnati right-hander came into Saturday’s game against Milwaukee with the best ERA (1.15) in the big leagues, but only have a 2-2 record to show for it. The Reds demonstrated their determination to change Cueto’s fortunes by scoring three runs during a four-pitch span of the fourth inning and went on to a 6-2 victory over the Brewers at Great American Ball Park.
“Anybody seeing [Cueto] for the first time certainly wasn’t disappointed,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.
He has worked 55 innings in seven starts and eight or more innings in each of his last four appearances.
“I feel really strong,” Cueto said. “I’m really healthy. I’ve been working for this. I asked God to keep me healthy.”
The Reds have won two of the first three games in the four-game series that concluded today, which Cincinnati won to take three of four. Milwaukee came into the series with the best record in baseball (20-8).
“With these guys [the Brewers], it’s going to be a heavyweight fight,” Reds catcher Brayan Pena said. “They have the best record in baseball, but we’ve never backed down.”
Cueto threw 73 of 114 pitches for strikes, striking out 10 and walking one.
“He’s always good,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said of Cueto. “He’s always really good. … His changeup’s fantastic. His fastball’s great. He throws a cutter, he commands the ball great. He didn’t throw as many curveballs as he usually does, but his fastball was great. We knew we were going to have a tough time when we faced him.”
“I know I’m going to sound like a broken record,” Pena said, “but [Cueto] was unbelievable tonight. Getting ahead in the count helped him a lot.
“The best part, for me, was that he didn’t back down after the solo shots. He continued to attack the strike zone. He wasn’t afraid of contact.”
Cueto, who often suffered from a severe lack of run support during his first six starts, took offensive matters into his own hands during the sixth inning. He drove a single between two diving Milwaukee infielders and into right field, scoring Pena from second to widen the Reds’ lead to 4-2..
Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick, both given the day off Friday by
Price, went a combined 5-for-7. I guess it was a great decision by him, the Price is right.