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Ailing Reds slip past Brewers

Ailing Reds slip past Brewers
CINCINNATI - His entire infield was wiped out, as if the swine flu swept through the clubhouse, and his bench was thinner than half a vanilla wafer.

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker was missing third baseman Edwin Encarnacion (chipped bone), shortstop Alex Gonzalez (sore oblique), first baseman Joey Votto (flu) and second baseman Brandon Phillips (flu).

Baker's bench was reduced to outfielders Darnell McDonald, Chris Dickerson and trainer Mark Mann, handy with a tongue depressor but not much with a bat.

Baker's lineup was scrambled like Sunday brunch eggs. Both catchers were in the lineup -Ryan Hanigan behind the plate and Ramon Hernandez at first base.

And Hernandez was batting cleanup in Phillips' spot while Jay Bruce moved from fifth in the order to Votto's No. 3 spot.

So with a little help from his friends, pitcher Micah Owings pitched and hit his way to a 6-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday, May 7. On the mound he pitched six innings and gave up five runs (four earned) and seven hits. At the plate, he tripled home a run.

"We tried to stay with Micah for as long as we could, and he gave us all he had (100 pitches)," Baker said. "My bullpen was upside down and my lineup was, too, but the guys came through."

The win, of course, was with Votto and Phillips full of medication and Baker said, "That shows we can win no matter who we put out there. You'd rather have the big bats out there. If not, though, you have to win with what you have."

Or don't have.

And if you believe the defense was hindered, well, while it wasn't Tinkers to Evers to Chance, Paul Janish to Hairston to Hernandez turned double plays in the second and third innings.

Bruce, showing he knows what a cleanup hitter is supposed to do, homered in the first inning, his eighth, and the Reds scored two more in the third, one on the first home run by Willy Taveras.

But the Brewers scored three in the fourth off Owings to tie it, just enough to anger Owings and put him on a revenge mission.

After Janish singled in the fourth, Owings drilled a triple up the left-center gap to push the Reds back in front and then scored on a wild pitch for a 5-3 lead. Hanigan's sacrifice fly scored Laynce Nix in the fifth for the Reds' final run.

Milwaukee scored two in the sixth. Nick Masset, Arthur Rhodes and Coco Cordero combined over the last three innings to keep Milwaukee silenced.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 8, 2009

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