CINCINNATI (AP) - The Milwaukee Brewers couldn’t hit Johnny Cueto or pull themselves out of the worst start by a National League team in 18 years.
Cueto gave up three hits over eight innings during his latest dominant performance against Milwaukee, and Brandon Phillips had a two-run homer Tuesday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-2 victory.
Joey Votto and Marlon Byrd added solo homers off Kyle Lohse (1-4) as the Reds clinched the series. Half of their 10 wins this season have come against Milwaukee.
The Brewers fell to 4-17, the worst start by a National League team since the 1997 Chicago Cubs had an identical record. The 2010 Baltimore Orioles were the last team in the majors to open a season 4-17.
The Brewers have lost all of their seven series this season. They have yet to win consecutive games.
“It’s tough to do,” Lohse said. “It’s tough to stomach. No one in here is giving up. It would be one thing if you see guys going out there and they don’t care. We care.”
Cueto (2-2) gave up homers to Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun as he got his sixth straight win over the Brewers. He’s 9-3 career against Milwaukee, including 8-0 in 11 career starts at Great American Ball Park.
Aroldis Chapman retired the side in the ninth for his fifth save in as many chances, leaving the Brewers 1-7 on the road.
Braun was back in right field after getting the last two days off as part of a lineup shake-up. He hit his second homer of the season, but it didn’t much matter.
Votto ended an 0-for-15 slump with his seventh homer of the season in the first inning.
Phillips hit a two-run homer to center field in the fourth, his first of the season. Phillips’ first 18 hits were singles, a streak he snapped with a double on Monday night during a 9-6 win over the Brewers.
Four pitches later, Byrd gave the Reds their first back-to-back homers of the season and a 4-0 lead for Cueto, who won 20 games last season.
“The problem is you’re facing Cueto,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “You can’t have a bad inning. He’s tough. He does what he wants to do and he’s got great stuff doing it.”
Ramirez led off the fifth inning with a homer into the upper deck in left field, the Brewers’ first hit off Cueto. It was Ramirez’s sixth career homer off Cueto - the most by any batter - and the first homer on the road by the Brewers this season.
“That’s one of those things,” Ramirez said of his six homers. “There’s no reason.”
Adam Lind singled through an infield shift in the seventh, extending his hitting streak to seven games. He is 11 for 26 with two homers during the streak.
RAMIREZ HITS CUETO
Ramirez’s homer left him 18 for 49 (.367) career off Cueto with the six homers. It was his 367th homer as a third baseman, one behind Graig Nettles for fifth place on the career list.
Brewers: 2B Scooter Gennett expects to get the five stitches in his left hand removed on Wednesday. He cut it by the knuckle on a soap holder in the shower at PNC Park and went on the 15-day DL on April 21.
Reds: The club is exploring treatment options, including surgery, for the damaged ligament in Homer Bailey’s pitching elbow. He went on the DL on Monday and will be sidelined for a significant time.
Brewers: Matt Garza (1-3) makes his first start against the Reds this season. He went 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in three starts against them last year.
Reds: Right-hander Michael Lorenzen makes his major league debut, filling in for Bailey. The 23-year-old has a fastball that comes in at nearly 100 mph. He also throws a slider and a change-up.
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