McClung outdueled in Brewers loss

McClung outdueled in Brewers loss

MILWAUKEE -- Though the deficit ended up being large, for most of the night, the difference between the performances of Seth McClung and Edinson Volquez was one pitch.

Both starters pitched well, but Volquez was able to escape trouble and the Brewers' bullpen imploded late, sending the Reds to an 8-2 win on Saturday night at Miller Park.

McClung continued the Brewers' streak of quality starts, but took the loss because of a first-pitch curveball to Adam Dunn in the first. With two men on, Dunn yanked it just over the right-field fence to give the Reds an early three-run lead.

"I was expecting him to sit on a fastball, so I was just trying to get ahead and work from there," McClung said. "I don't know if he guessed at it, but it was just a strike curveball. If you know it's coming, you hit it, especially a guy like that.

"Other than that, I feel like I competed really well against this left-handed-heavy lineup."

McClung (5-5) stayed sharp and followed the homer with 5 1/3 frames of shutout baseball to give the Brewers a shot to win the game and even the series. He ended up allowing just three hits and striking out seven in his 6 1/3 innings of work.

"McClung pitched great, he really did," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He gave up three hits and got through six innings. He just threw a rolling breaking ball up there in the first inning to Dunn. But besides that, he really buckled down and did a really nice job.

"I was proud of Seth the way he fought through it out there."

Cincinnati's lineup, as usual, featured a lot of left-handed bats. Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, all potent hitters, were limited on Saturday night.

Lefties normally give McClung trouble, but he worked his way through the Reds' lineup.

"Lefties are supposed to be one of the question marks about me starting," McClung said. "I went out there, attacked the lefties and showed that I can get these guys out."

Milwaukee managed to close the deficit to one run, getting to Volquez (12-3) in the fourth inning. Prince Fielder hit a two-run homer against the All-Star, and a comeback looked possible.

But just like McClung, Volquez didn't allow more than the home run. He struck out 10 over seven strong innings to pick up the win.

As he's done all season, Volquez baffled the Brewers with his fastball-changeup combination, mixing in an above-average slider.

"His stuff is pretty tough," Yost said. "Slider, changeup and a 94-95 mph fastball. The slider was really good tonight. When you get guys that are that tough, [the hitters] don't really say much, they're just out there trying to find ways to get on base."

While the Brewers' offense couldn't do much to get on base, the Reds were able to take advantage of a poor performance by the Milwaukee bullpen, adding an insurance run in the eighth off of David Riske and four more in the ninth against Eric Gagne.

Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion hit back-to-back homers off Gagne to lead off the inning, and the rest snowballed from there. The Reds sent eight men to the plate as Gagne allowed four hits, three for extra bases.

"We were going to really mix and match it from the seventh inning on," Yost said. "We had the pitching to do it. I thought Gagne's stuff was really good, but he just made some mistakes out over the middle of the plate."

Dave Fultz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.