Brewers blast depleted Reds’ staff in 15-3 romp

Published 2:35 am Thursday, May 7, 2009

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ryan Braun began his career night with a grand slam off Cincinnati’s starting pitcher, then completed it with a two-run single off the Reds’ shortstop.

Yes, the shortstop. It was that kind of night.

The Milwaukee Brewers followed Braun’s lead and rolled to a 15-3 victory over the Reds on Wednesday, making quick work out of whoever was on the mound.

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‘‘Nights like this are fun, kind of few and far-between,’’ said Braun, who had a career-high six RBIs. ‘‘So you have to enjoy them when they come.’’

From Milwaukee’s standpoint, there was a lot to like.

The Brewers knocked Bronson Arroyo (4-2) out of the game before he could retire a batter in the second. J.J. Hardy also had a three-run homer off the right-hander, who left the game down 9-0. It matched the shortest outing of his career.

‘‘We put together some good at-bats against Bronson up and down the lineup,’’ Braun said. ‘‘Guys were really making him throw strikes and putting good swings on them.’’

Milwaukee’s biggest offensive splurge of the season helped Manny Parra (1-4) end his four-game losing streak.

The Brewers topped it off with five runs in the ninth off shortstop Paul Janish, who moved to the mound to save Cincinnati’s depleted pitching staff. The bullpen was still recovering from a 14-inning loss in Florida on Monday, and manager Dusty Baker decided to let Janish — a pitcher at Rice — take the final inning.

‘‘That’s the first time I’ve done that in my career,’’ Baker said. ‘‘It was a process of elimination. It was almost like Little League — ’Who wants to pitch?’’’

Janish hit 92 mph on the radar gun and struck out Hardy to open the inning, then found it tougher going. It didn’t take the hitters long to figure him out.

‘‘I threw a couple of changeups in there,’’ Janish said. ‘‘I was just running the ball across the plate.’’

Braun singled home two runs, and Prince Fielder had a two-run homer off Janish, helping Milwaukee finish with a season-high 20 hits. It was Cincinnati’s most lopsided loss since a 16-7 drubbing by the Cubs on opening day 2006.

After a slow start, the Brewers have gone 12-3 with solid pitching and an offense that’s among the NL leaders in home runs. Their lineup had its way with Arroyo, who was coming off one of his best performances — eight shutout innings in Pittsburgh on Friday.

This time, he was gone after only 46 pitches.

‘‘This game’s bizarre,’’ Arroyo said. ‘‘In Pittsburgh, I felt horrible and I didn’t give up a run. Today, I thought I’d roll through this game like it was nothing. This was just one of those days.’’

Hardy’s homer made it 5-0 in the first inning, when the Brewers sent eight batters to the plate. Arroyo gave up a pair of singles and a walk that opened the second inning and brought up Braun, who hit a hanging 1-2 pitch to left-center field for a 9-0 lead.

Braun missed a pair of games over the weekend with a sore back. He has five homers in his last 14 games.

Arroyo faced 12 batters overall and retired only two of them — Rickie Weeks was thrown out at the plate in the first inning. The right-hander gave up seven hits and walked three. The nine runs allowed were one shy of his career high.

Notes: The start of the game was delayed 46 minutes by rain. … Braun’s other grand slam was Sept. 25 off Pittsburgh’s Jesse Chavez in the 10th inning of a 5-1 win. … Reds 3B Edwin Encarnacion had the cast removed from his left arm and was fitted with a removable splint. He chipped a bone in his left wrist on a swing April 27 and went on the DL. … SS Alex Gonzalez got treatment for strained muscles in his left side, injured on a swing Monday. He will be examined again on Thursday. … Reliever David Weathers made his 906th career appearance, matching Cy Young for 19th on the career list. … Janish was the first Reds position player to pitch in a game since infielder Lenny Harris threw an inning in San Francisco on June 1, 1998.