Having cooled off a little from a torrid stretch, the visiting Reds might not be poised to give their right-hander the same kind of backing Tuesday night, but Cueto may not need as much help when he faces the Milwaukee Brewers .
Cueto (14-5, 2.52 ERA) has won a career-high five consecutive starts but has also allowed a combined nine runs over his past two outings. He gave up four over 7 1-3 innings Thursday against San Diego but got eight runs of support for the second straight outing in a 9-4 victory.
"Johnny will take those runs big time. Anybody will," manager Dusty Baker told the team's official website.
The Reds (66-43) enter this game having batted .188 with five runs scored over back-to-back defeats, and even Brandon Phillips ' return from a strained left calf couldn't help them in Monday's series opener.
Cincinnati didn't score until the seventh inning in its 6-3 defeat.
Martin Maldonado provided a home run, two doubles and three RBIs for the Brewers (49-59) as they matched a season high with a fourth consecutive home win. Milwaukee was coming off three straight losses in St. Louis and batted .237 with four runs scored in that series.
"Real nice," manager Ron Roenicke said. "As hot as (the Reds) have been, real nice. That was good offense. That was a lot of good at-bats."
Cincinnati had won 22 of 25 before its current losing streak, its first since a three-game skid July 3-5.
Given his performances against Milwaukee this season, Cueto could help the Reds start another run and add to their 3 1/2-game lead over Pittsburgh in the NL Central.
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in his two matchups and tossed seven scoreless innings at Miller Park on May 9. He did not get a decision in that 2-1 victory and tied a season high with nine strikeouts over seven innings of a 2-1 win in Cincinnati on July 22.
The Brewers, 3-7 against the Reds this season, haven't won five in a row at home since a seven-game run last August. Rookie Mike Fiers (5-4, 1.88) will try to help his team accomplish that goal with another strong outing.
The right-hander hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his last eight starts, going 4-2 with a 1.02 ERA and racking up 54 strikeouts in 53 innings. He fanned six over six innings while winning his second straight start Wednesday, 13-4 over Houston.
"I feel like I have a lot of confidence when I go out there," Fiers told the team's official website.
In his only start against Cincinnati, Fiers was outdueled by Cueto on July 22 after giving up two runs and five hits over six innings.
|August 01, 2012||Devin Mesoraco||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 01, 2012||Wilson Valdez||Day-to-Day||Left game - stiff neck|
|July 31, 2012||Brandon Phillips||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left calf|
|July 31, 2012||Bill Bray||15-Day DL||Lumbar muscle strain|
|July 31, 2012||Devin Mesoraco||Day-to-Day||Left game - dizziness|
|July 16, 2012||Joey Votto||Day-to-Day||Torn meniscus, left knee - out 3-4 weeks|
|July 29, 2012||Aramis Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|July 17, 2012||Ryan Braun||Day-to-Day||Right thigh strain|
|June 15, 2012||Shaun Marcum||60-Day DL||Right elbow tightness|
|June 02, 2012||Aramis Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left quadricep|
|May 31, 2012||Ryan Braun||Day-to-Day||Tight Achilles|
|May 28, 2012||Jonathan Lucroy||15-Day DL||Fractured right hand, out 4-6 weeks|
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke has seen enough of what pitcher Mike Fiers has done for his team this season that he is ready to start promoting him for NL Rookie of the Year.
Fiers was very impressive again Tuesday night as he took a perfect game into the seventh inning and led the Brewers to a 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds .
Fiers (6-4) retired the first 18 batters before Zack Cozart doubled to left-center leading off the seventh. He advanced to third on a fly ball and scored on Brandon Phillips ' sacrifice fly.
The only other hits Fiers gave up were eighth-inning singles to Xavier Paul and Ryan Hanigan . The right-hander struck out pinch-hitter Ryan Ludwick to get out of the inning and left the field to a standing ovation.
"He pitched an outstanding ball game," Roenicke said. "Absolutely, he has to be put in that conversation (for Rookie of the Year). He's been baffling hitters. And not just average hitters, he's been doing it against some very strong lineups."
Fiers said he was aware he was throwing a no-hitter, but stayed focus as his team was only leading by two runs at the time.
"Every start I go out there I don't want to give up a hit, but when it got into the sixth and seventh inning, thoughts came into my mind even more," he said. "I'm just trying to put zeroes on the board, no matter if they get 10 hits or zero hits. I just tried to keep my cool and not think about it."
Fiers said he thought he threw a good pitch to Cozart, but the Reds shortstop went out and got the pitch.
"He got the barrel on it and he hit it in a good spot," he said. "I felt great out there."
Fiers has been terrific since he was called up from Triple-A Nashville on May 29. He hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his last nine starts, going 5-2 with a 1.03 ERA and racking up 61 strikeouts in 61 innings.
Roenicke said it was time for everyone to realize that Fiers could pitch in the major leagues.
"I think he's shown he can pitch," he said. "He's a battler. He baffles guys with all the different stuff he throws."
Jim Henderson pitched a scoreless ninth for his first career save. It was Milwaukee's second consecutive win over the NL Central leaders and its fifth straight victory at home.
The Reds have lost three straight for the first time since July 2-5. They remained 3 1-2 games ahead of second-place Pittsburgh.
Reds manager Dusty Baker said the problem for Cincinnati was Fiers.
"That's one of the best games pitched against us in a long time," Baker said. "There's not a lot we could do. He's very deceptive with that Tim Lincecum -like delivery."
Johnny Cueto (14-6) pitched seven innings for the Reds, giving up three runs and six hits while striking out nine. He was trying to become the first NL pitcher to reach 15 wins this season.
The Brewers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Aramis Ramirez 's 15th home run, a 425-foot shot to the Milwaukee bullpen in left-center. It was the second consecutive game in which Ramirez homered against the Reds.
Jean Segura 's RBI groundout in the seventh increased the lead to 3-1. It was Segura's first career RBI.
NOTES: Baker said 1B Joey Votto would not be activated from the DL on the team's current seven-game road trip, which ends Sunday in Chicago. Votto had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on July 17. ... Brewers RHP Shaun Marcum , on the DL since June 15 with right elbow tightness, will make a rehabilitation start Thursday with Class-A Wisconsin. ... The series concludes Wednesday when the Reds send Mat Latos (10-3) to the mound against Randy Wolf (3-8).