Series: Game 2 of 2

Cincinnati won 2-0

Game 1: Monday, July 15
Cincinnati 2Final
Milwaukee 0
Game 2: Tuesday, July 16
Cincinnati 6Final
Milwaukee 1

Reds 6

(49-44, 27-21 away)

Brewers 1

(34-60, 19-29 home)

    8:05 PM ET, July 16, 2002

    Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

    123456789 R H E
    CIN 000010050 6 - -
    MIL 000000001 1 - -

    W: E. Dessens (6-5)

    L: B. Sheets (4-11)

    Reds just miss second straight shutout

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Cincinnati Reds went 150 games between shutouts, then came within one strike of their second consecutive whitewash at Miller Park.

    Elmer Dessens scattered three hits over six innings and catcher Jason LaRue homered twice as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Brewers 6-1 Tuesday night to complete a two-game sweep.

    The Reds nearly had their first back-to-back shutouts since Aug. 12-13, 2000, before Tyler Houston got the Brewers' fourth hit, an RBI single off John Riedling.

    "The past two nights, our pitching's been lights out,'' LaRue said. "Main thing the past two nights, our pitchers have done an excellent job keeping the ball down in the zone.''

    And LaRue's done a superb job calling the game.

    With LaRue behind the plate Monday night, Chris Reitsma posted Cincinnati's first shutout since last July 28 with a five-hitter at Miller Park.

    The Brewers haven't been blanked two straight times since Sept. 9-10, 2001.

    That's of little consolation to the Brewers, who became the first NL team to lose 60 games.

    "We have just stopped hitting since the All-Star break,'' Brewers manager Jerry Royster said.

    Brewers hard-luck right-hander Ben Sheets (4-11) scattered seven hits in seven innings, walking none and striking out eight. His only mistake was a 93 mph fastball that LaRue sent over the fence in left for his third homer of the season in the fifth.

    That was the game's only run until the Reds scored five times in the eighth, three on LaRue's second homer, this one off Jason Durocher.

    Sheets has been on the mound in four of the six games that the Brewers have been shut out this season, and Milwaukee has scored just 13 runs in his 11 losses.

    "He's had some tough outings,'' Royster said. "He's definitely been our tough-luck guy.''

    LaRue said Sheets is pitching like he's 11-4 instead of the other way around.

    "In my eyes, he's one of the best pitchers in the league,'' LaRue said. "A guy that throws that hard, he's got a great curveball and a great changeup. He always keeps the hitters off-balance with his fastball. He throws it so hard, but a lot of times he'll throw it about belly-high to a hitter. Sometimes it looks like a good pitch to hit.''

    The Brewers, who fell to 2-11 against the Reds this season, including 0-6 at Miller Park, loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth, but Dessens (6-5) worked his way out of the jam unscathed.

    After left fielder Russell Branyan robbed Matt Stairs of a hit with a diving catch, Houston singled and Jose Hernandez hit a ground-rule double.

    Dessens intentionally walked Robert Machado to get to Sheets, a .132 hitter. After falling behind 2-0 on Sheets, Dessens threw three straight fastballs by him and then got Alex Sanchez on a weak groundball to short.

    "As long as I keep throwing the ball well, that's all I can do,'' Sheets said. "Obviously, you've seen my swing, I'm not going to do nothing with the stick.''

    Dessens, who walked three and struck out four, was lifted for pinch-hitter Raul Gonzalez following Reggie Taylor's two-out double in the seventh. Gonzalez struck out.

    In the eighth, pinch-hitter Austin Kearns had a two-run triple off Durocher before LaRue connected for his three-run shot.

    Scott Williamson and Bruce Chen pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief of Dessens and Reidling gave up one hit and one walk.

    "Their pitchers did great, congratulations and all that, but we didn't hit,'' Royster said.

    Despite his record, Sheets said he feels as though he's pitching better than he did in the first half last season, when his 10-4 record earned him a spot on the All-Star team.

    "I'm growing up quick,'' he said. "I think it's going pretty well this year. I'm right where I thought I'd be development-wise except for the wins and losses.''

    Game notes

    Royster said 1B Richie Sexson will play through the pain his knees. Team doctors told Royster that the only cure for Sexson's hamstring tendinitis behind his knees is to take six weeks off. Instead Sexson will try to take it easy on the base paths. ... Brewers C Raul Casanova, on the DL with an elbow injury, began swinging the bat Tuesday. Royster said it's too soon to say when Casanova could return. ... The Reds hadn't won more than 10 games against an opponent since 1995, when they went 12-1 against the Houston Astros.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press