Bruce keeps heating up, leads Reds in rout of Crew
Outfielder homers, doubles twice in first three frames to back Latos
By Mark Sheldon / 5/11/2013 9:14 PM ET
CINCINNATI -- It didn't matter if their jerseys said "Reds" or "Los Rojos," like they did Saturday to recognize diversity, the numbers on the scoreboard were universally understood.
It said the Cincinnati team put a 13-7 pounding on the Brewers before a sellout crowd of 41,678 at Great American Ball Park.
More importantly, some key Reds offense came from the increasingly hot bat of Jay Bruce. The right fielder went 3-for-5 with a home run and two doubles -- all within the first three innings.
"I told Jay, he's on the way," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You can tell the way Jay Bruce has swung the last couple days, it's very encouraging. That's way important, because he comes up with a lot of runners on base. He's in the RBI fifth slot. That's the foundation spot in your lineup, right in the middle, so it's self explanatory that it's very, very, very important."
Bruce homered in two of his past three games after having only one in his first 34 games. He has a four-game hitting streak and at least one RBI in seven of his past eight games.
"It's a long season, and I'm just trying to get good pitches to hit," Bruce said. "I have been lately and missing them less. It's good."
The wealth was spread evenly, as six starters had at least two RBIs, including pitcher Mat Latos. Only National League RBI leader Brandon Phillips, ironically, and Xavier Paul started and did not drive in runs.
Bruce got things going in the second inning by belting a 1-1 pitch an estimated 437 feet to right-center field for a leadoff homer against Brewers rookie starter Hiram Burgos.
"He gave me something to handle, and I didn't miss it," Bruce said. "When you do get pitches, you may foul them off or not hit them as well as you'd like, but that one was what you hope for."
The next five Reds reached safely, as Todd Frazier caught Milwaukee off guard with a bunt single toward third base. Paul hit a routine fly to deep left field that bounced off of Ryan Braun's glove for an error. Latos' bases-loaded single to left field scored another run. Nine batters came to the plate in the second, giving the Reds a 5-2 lead.
"Obviously, it wasn't a good game," Braun said. "After a game like that, you just try to move on to the next one as quickly as possible."
Bruce started the third inning with a double to right field and scored on Frazier's double to left. Two batters later, Devin Mesoraco's double to the gap in right-center field scored Frazier. Latos rolled a single through a drawn-in infield to short center field to score Paul. After three more runs scored, Bruce returned to hit an RBI double to left-center field that made it 12-4.
Bruce was the first Reds hitter since Sean Casey in 1998 to notch two doubles in one inning.
"That's pretty cool, huh?" Bruce said. "To even have the opportunity to do it says a lot about the way we were swinging the bats as a team today. We scored a lot of runs. It was a good day for us."
A total of 20 batters came to the plate in the second and third innings against Burgos, making only his fourth Major League start. Milwaukee got only four innings from ace Yovani Gallardo in Friday's Reds win, so Burgos had to endure the beating.
"You feel kind of bad for the kid, but you can't call off the jam either," Baker said. "They can play those kinds of high-scoring games. They're known to play them. You just have to keep scoring, keep scoring and keep scoring. They can strike quickly."
The generous run support helped get Latos through a rough day of his own on the mound. Latos earned the victory, but was disgusted with himself after he gave up seven runs (six earned) and nine hits over six innings, with three walks and four strikeouts.
"I don't deserve a win today," Latos said. "There's no excuses for what happened. I guess I just ran into a hot team at the wrong time to not have my best stuff."
It was the ninth-straight non-quality start for the Reds' rotation, its most since 2005.
Milwaukee took a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning on Jean Segura's homer to right field and an Aramis Ramirez RBI double off the wall in left field that was played poorly on the carom by Paul. Norichika Aoki led off the third and reached on a Joey Votto error at first base, and Segura bounced back to the mound, but hustled down the line to prevent a double play. Braun's RBI double and Ramirez's RBI single temporarily made it a one-run game. A second missed double play prolonged the inning before the Reds unloaded against Burgos in the bottom half.
"The 'Rojos' played great on offense," Baker said, "but it wasn't our best defensive game."
A pair of one-out walks loaded the bases against Latos in the fifth before Carlos Gomez's two-run single. In the sixth, a two-out homer by Aoki had Milwaukee down by five runs.
"We got a 'W' -- that's all that matters," Latos said. "If we could, give a 'W' to the offense today. That's who deserves it."