MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers thought they got a lucky break when Cincinnati's top two starters -- Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo -- were not scheduled to pitch in their three-game series. A 30-year-old rookie foiled the fun.
Tom Shearn gave up four hits over 6 2-3 innings, Brandon Phillips drove in three runs and Adam Dunn hit his 39th homer to lead the Reds to their fourth straight victory, 6-5 on Friday night."All them years, I never thought I would be in this spot where I am now. It's a dream come true," said Shearn (3-0), who spent 11 years in the minors and missed 2003 recovering from Tommy John surgery. "No matter if I got my butt handed to me out there, I think I would still come off with a smile, just that I'm here."Prince Fielder hit his NL-leading 45th home run and said after the game he's having fun, too, during the Brewers' postseason push. The dour look on his face showed otherwise."I don't have any pressure," Fielder said, looking straight down. "This is why you play. For me, it's no pressure. Hopefully it's not for anybody else, either."The Brewers fell 1 1/2 games behind first-place Chicago in the NL Central after the Cubs beat St. Louis 5-3 on Friday.Milwaukee, which has the best home winning percentage in the NL, hoped to take advantage of a three-game homestand with ace Ben Sheets starting.But Sheets (12-5) allowed four runs in the first inning.After a single, a walk and a double steal, Phillips hit a two-run single to bring up Dunn.Dunn came in batting .161 without an RBI in 31 at-bats against the right-hander, but he reached out and hit a low, outside pitch down the right field line to make it 4-0."He hit a breaking ball, but I mean, who cares? Results are the only thing that really matters now," Sheets said. "Four runs in the first pretty much dooms my chances for getting deep in that game and puts us in a big bind."Dunn has a career-best 103 RBIs."(It) isn't really a number that's that outstanding," he said.Cincinnati, starting a 10-game road trip, added another run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Phillips to make it 5-0, but Brewers manager Ned Yost said he had no plans to pull Sheets at that point."He's my No. 1 starter, in the first inning, the ball that hurt him was Dunn's homer. That's the fifth hitter. I'm surely not going to pull him for the fifth hitter in the ballgame," Yost said. "(And) Brandon Phillips is a nice player, but he's also hit into 24 double plays."Bill Bray of the Reds worked the ninth for his first save of the season but he allowed the Brewers to get within 6-5.With two outs, Corey Hart bunted and Bray couldn't come up with it quick enough for a single. Pinch-hitter Mike Rivera followed with his second homer of the year to make it 6-5, but Bray got Kevin Mench on a foul pop to end it.The Reds have scored 15 runs in the first innings of Shearn's four starts, and he effectively used his four pitches -- highlighted by a 68 mph curveball -- to become the first Reds right-handed starter to begin his career 3-0 since Santo Alcala and Pat Zachry in 1976.While his fastball wasn't as slow as the 37 mph it once registered on the scoreboard, Shearn was able to stay out of trouble until a leadoff double by Rickie Weeks in the fourth and Fielder's 425-foot homer to center that tied the Brewers' franchise record held by Richie Sexson (2001, '03) and Gorman Thomas (1979)."I'm about wins, however many home runs it takes to win, that's how many as I want," Fielder said.Milwaukee added a run in the seventh on Johnny Estrada's RBI single that chased Shearn, who allowed four hits and walked one while striking out four. The Reds made it 6-3 in the eighth on Edwin Encarnacion's sacrifice fly.Sheets, who had been 2-0 in three starts after missing 1 1/2 months with a sprained right middle finger, struggled with his curveball and was pulled for a pinch hitter in the third.He gave up five runs and six hits, walked two and struck out three, but said the finger felt fine.
Cincinnati is an NL Central-best 37-28 since Pete Mackanin took over as interim manager in July. ... The Reds stole four bases in the first inning for the first time since May 16, 1993, when they had four in the first against Colorado. ... Sheets matched his shortest start of the season. He also went three innings against the Cubs on April 25 before being pulled because of a strained groin. ... Brewers LF Geoff Jenkins was ejected in the seventh for arguing a checked swing call.