June 13, 2014

MILWAUKEE -- Even a starting pitcher, the self-proclaimed "worst hitter" in the Cincinnati Reds' clubhouse, couldn't help but admire Joey Votto's latest big night.

Votto had four hits Saturday, propelling the Reds to an 11-5 rout of the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park, and as a result, moved his average above the .300 mark -- .301, to be exact -- for the first time this season.

"It's honestly been one of the more impressive hitting displays I've gotten to see in person," Saturday starter Dan Straily said. "You saw earlier in the year when he was struggling just how patient he was with himself.

"I feel like any ballplayer can learn from that. You just have to be patient and keep working at it. We're all in this room for a reason. He's obviously a great talent. Being able to watch him the last couple months has really been enjoyable to watch."

Votto went into the break batting .252 but since then, he's been red-hot, batting .442 with four home runs and 15 RBIs.

"The first couple of months were really frustrating," Votto said. "I felt like I dug myself a pretty big hole. I still feel like I am coming out of it."

Votto will try to keep it going Sunday when the Reds wrap up their three-game series with the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Left-hander Cody Reed gets the start, in search of his first victory this season. The rookie joined the Reds' rotation on June 18 and has made nine starts in all, going 0-8 with a 6.36 ERA.

He's coming off his best showing of the season though, having thrown six shutout innings while striking out four but took no decision in Cincinnati's 5-4 loss at St. Louis on Aug. 8.

Going six innings was an important step for Reed, manager Bryan Price said.

"I think a feel-good for starting pitchers -- five innings doesn't feel so good," Price said. "You do what you have to, if his pitch count suggested he needed to come out or if he looked like he was done -- the last inning he was definitely done. They put the barrel on the ball and took some good swipes at him, comfortable swings at him there in the sixth. That was definitely it. I felt like after five, we knew we'd have someone up behind him so he wouldn't let the game slip away if he got in trouble."

The Brewers will turn to right-hander Wily Peralta, who will make his second start since being demoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs in mid-June.

Peralta went six innings Tuesday against the Braves, holding them to two runs on four hits while striking out six.

"There was a lot of emotion," Peralta said. "I felt like I was making my debut today. It's been like two months since the last time I pitched here so I was excited. My last three starts, I find a good rhythm. I executed pretty good down there and being able to do it today ... throwing off-speed, I think I'm in good shape."

Peralta has faced the Reds 11 times in his career, going 4-4 with a 3.14 ERA.

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