<
>

Brewers blank Reds to earn series split

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Russell Branyan is with his third organization
this season. He thinks he has found the right fit.

The Milwaukee third baseman, who played for Cincinnati the last
two years, homered twice and drove in three runs to lead the
Brewers over the Reds 11-0 Sunday.

"We never expected that type of power production, and he's
played a solid third base," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.

Brady Clark and Geoff Jenkins each added a three-run homer to
help the Brewers gain a split of the four-game series.

Branyan responded to a fan's comment that he was overrated by
hitting a solo homer in the second inning and a two-run shot in the
fourth to give him 10 this year.

"I didn't even know I was rated," said Branyan, who spent time
in the Atlanta and Cleveland systems before joining the Brewers in
late July. "How can I be overrated? I couldn't even find a job in
the offseason."

Ben Sheets (11-11) struck out 11 in seven innings, allowing
three hits and no walks for his second win in three starts. He had
10 or more strikeouts for the eighth time in his career, all this
season.

"It was nice to get Ben an easy game," Yost said. "He's had
so many dadgum games when he's gotten no run support."

The Brewers averaged 3.2 runs per game while Sheets went 1-6
with a 3.99 ERA in his previous 11 starts.

"It was nice to get out there and not have to worry about the
home run, like I do sometimes," said Sheets, who will try for a
career-high 12th win in his next start.

He's won 11 in each of his four big league seasons.

"You knew it was going to be tough to score runs against a guy
like that," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "If you're only down
1-0 or 2-0, you've got a chance, but you can't give him that much
to work with."

Branyan's multihomer game was the ninth of his career and second
this season. He also hit two against the Chicago Cubs in Milwaukee
on Aug. 18. He hit three home runs while starting the last three
games of the series.

"I feel if I can get some consistent at-bats, I can produce,"
Branyan said.

Clark, who spent 2001-02 with Cincinnati, added a three-run
shot, his career-high seventh overall and second of the series, to
give the Brewers a 7-0 lead in the fifth.

Jenkins hit his three-run homer off Todd Van Poppel, his 23rd,
to make it 11-0 in the sixth.

One day after the Reds beat the Brewers 9-0, Luis Vizcaino and
Dan Kolb pitched the last two innings to complete the four-hitter
for Milwaukee's ninth shutout of the season. The Reds have been
blanked nine times.

"They killed us yesterday, and we responded," Branyan said.

Aaron Harang (8-9) was handed his third straight loss since
throwing a three-hitter against St. Louis on Aug. 26. He gave up
nine hits and seven runs with no walks and two strikeouts. He's
given up 11 homers in his last three starts, including three on
Sunday, after allowing a total of 11 in his first 22 starts.

"If you look at the St. Louis game, there's no question he's
capable of doing it," Miley said. "Everything is the same. It's
just his location and command. I just think he's making bad
pitches."

Harang allowed a season-high four homers in each of his previous
two starts.

"I can't explain it," he said. "It feels like when I'm
throwing the ball, there's nothing there. It's like a dead arm.
We'll look at video and look at it in my next side and try to
figure out if there's something wrong and try to end the season on
a positive note."

Reds pitchers have allowed a major league-high 209 homers, tying
the club record set last season.

"Harang has been tough on us all year," Yost said. "To score
that many runs is big, and Branyan had a lot to do with it."

Lyle Overbay gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead in the first, driving in
Bill Hall from second with a double.

Branyan led off the second with a home run to right to give
Milwaukee a 2-0 lead. He made it 4-0 by following Clark's single
with a homer to center in the fourth.

Game notes
Overbay has 46 doubles, three shy of the team record set by
Hall of Famer Robin Yount in 1980. ... Ryan Freel's 10th start at
second base for Cincinnati made him the first player to make at
least 10 starts at five different positions since Tony Phillips did
it for Detroit in 1991 and 1992. ... Reds INF Juan Castro was
expected to be available after having four wisdom teeth removed
Friday, but Miley said Castro probably wouldn't be back until
Wednesday.