CINCINNATI (AP) - Matt Maloney's emergency start quickly turned terrible.
Carlos Gomez and Prince Fielder each hit two-run homers in the first and Zack Greinke breezed through seven sharp innings, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to an 8-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday for a series sweep.
Maloney was pressed into service as Cincinnati's starting pitcher after Dontrelle Willis developed back spasms. Maloney had planned to start Monday in place of Johnny Cueto, who left his last start with a strained muscle in his upper right back.
The left-hander, who broke a rib while sneezing early in the season, found out 90 minutes before the game that he would get the ball.
``It was a little unexpected but I don't blame any of the outing on it,' Maloney said. ``I felt good. My bullpen was good. My stuff was good. I just got my butt kicked plain and simple.'
Corey Hart added a solo shot in the sixth as Milwaukee polished off its first sweep of a three-game series in Cincinnati since Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2002. Milwaukee outscored Cincinnati 24-5 in the series while limiting the Reds to two hits in each of the last two games.
``It was a very frustrating weekend,' Dusty Baker said. ``They hit a lot of balls out of the ballpark. Everything went their way. They got bleeders for hits on the good pitches and hit the bad pitches over the wall. We helped them some but they got every kind of hit.'
The NL Central Division-leading Brewers went into the game with a magic number of five for clinching their first division championship in 29 years. Any combination of Milwaukee wins and St. Louis losses adding up to five would give the Brewers their first title since the 1982 team won the American League East. The Cardinals were scheduled to play Sunday night at Philadelphia.
Greinke allowed just one baserunner - Edgar Renteria, who reached with one out in the fourth on Yuniesky Betancourt's error and was caught stealing while Joey Votto was striking out - before Juan Francisco lined an opposite-field single to left with two outs in the fifth. Drew Stubbs walked and Francisco scored on Devin Mesoraco's single to left.
Greinke (15-6) allowed just two hits and one run with three walks. He tied his season high with 10 strikeouts.
The Brewers wasted no time pouncing on Maloney. Hart led off the game with a double to right-center. Gomez then hit the first pitch he saw from Maloney 390 feet into the left field seats for his seventh home run of the season and first since July 1.
Ryan Braun followed with a slow roller halfway up the third base line for an infield single and Fielder hit the first pitch he saw 424 feet down the right-field line for his 34th homer.
``It counts the same as a line drive to left,' Maloney said of the bleeder by Braun.
Milwaukee knocked Maloney out of the game in the second. Hart, Gomez and Braun all singled to load the bases with one out. Fielder grounded to Votto at first, who forced Hart at the plate. Mesoraco's high return throw glanced off Votto's glove, allowing Gomez to score with Braun and Fielder moving up. They scored on a single to left by Rickie Weeks, Maloney's last batter.
Maloney (0-3) gave up seven runs - six earned - on nine hits in 1 2-3 innings. His ERA climbed from 6.88 to 9.16.
Dontrelle Willis will start Monday against the Houston Astros if he is able. Travis Wood will get the start if Willis can't go.
NOTES: Fielder and Braun both extended hitting streaks, Fielder to 11 games (13 for 38, .342) and Braun to eight(15 for 35, 426.). ... Milwaukee C Jonathan Lucroy has one hit in his last 28 at_bats. ... Milwaukee outfielder Logan Schafer's ninth-inning single was his first major league hit. ... Drew Stubbs' third inning strikeout was his Reds' record 196th of the season, snapping his tie with Adam Dunn, who struck out 195 times in 2004. Stubbs struck out again in the seventh. ... The win was the Brewers' 38th of the season on the road, surpassing their 2010 total of 37. ... LHP Chris Narveson makes his first start since Sept. 8 when the Brewers open a three-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday night. Narveson pitched two innings of relief Wednesday against Colorado and retired all six batters, two on strikeouts. ... The Reds' three-game series that starts Monday against Houston wraps up their home schedule.
The Associated Press News Service
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