CINCINNATI (AP) — Adrian Houser pitched seven sparkling innings and Andruw Monasterio hit his first career homer, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to a 5-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
Victor Caratini also went deep as Milwaukee (32-27) won for the fourth time in five games. The NL Central-leading Brewers also clinched their first road series win since they swept a three-game set at Seattle from April 17-19.
Houser (2-1) allowed six hits, including Jake Fraley’s seventh homer in the seventh. He struck out two and walked none.
“It was the command,” Houser said. “That’s where everything starts. That’s how we were able to hide stuff and be able to disguise some other pitches. Just hitting spots and attacking early. Getting those early strikes is a big thing for me.”
Cincinnati (26-33) dropped its fourth straight game. Reds right-hander Ben Lively (3-3) was charged with five runs and six hits in seven innings in his first loss since May 19. He struck out five and walked three.
“Really it was just uncharacteristic with the walks,” Reds manager David Bell said. “If anything, that was it. The rest of the innings he actually pitched well.”
Milwaukee got off to a fast start. With runners on first and second via a pair of walks, Monasterio hit a 400-foot drive to center for a 3-0 lead in the first.
“I didn’t know he had a home run to center field in him, honestly,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell. “That’s a good blast, for sure. That was impressive.”
The Brewers added two more in the fifth. Caratini led off with a 429-foot drive to right-center for his third homer of the season. Joey Wiemer then singled, advanced on Christian Yelich’s walk and scored on Owen Miller’s single to center.
Matt McLain had two of Cincinnati’s six hits. The rookie shortstop is batting .342 in his first 18 big league games.
Milwaukee optioned right-hander Jake Cousins to Triple-A Nashville and recalled left-hander Bennett Sousa.
“With this big string of games ahead of us, we just want to make sure the guys are pitching in the spots we want them to pitch,” Counsell said.
“We still got nine games left in this stretch here, seven home games, so it’s challenging. We’ve just got to make sure we’re dividing the innings the right way properly so we can make sure everyone’s got a share of the wealth.”
Reds: RHP Hunter Greene had his next scheduled start pushed back a few days due to stiffness in his right hip. He will throw again Sunday in St. Louis. Bell said Greene’s injury is “no major concern.”
Reds left-hander Andrew Abbott, who was added to the club’s taxi squad Sunday, will make his MLB debut Monday night against Brewers right-hander Julio Teheran (1-1, 0.82 ERA) in the finale of the four-game series.