Resilient Parra dominates in Brewers' win
Counsell's homer sparks four-run frame to back left-hander
CINCINNATI -- Two batters into his start, Manny Parra was already in a jam. And with the heart of the Reds order coming to the plate, Parra easily could have made a mistake.But Parra didn't. Rather than allow another costly hit or walk, Parra shut down the middle of the Reds lineup and settled down throughout the rest of his start. That inning set the tone for the rest of his outing, and a big inning by his offense led to a 5-1 victory Saturday. "This is a new Manny here," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "To me, the first inning was extremely impressive." After Parra allowed a single to Willy Taveras and walked Jerry Hairston Jr. in the first, he got Joey Votto to ground out. Yet both runners advanced on a hit and run. Parra buckled down, however, and got Brandon Phillips and Edwin Encarnacion to strike out. From that point on, Parra cruised through the Reds order, shutting it down for six innings. It was his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville, In his first start, Parra pitched seven scoreless innings against the Dodgers. He was just as impressive against the Reds. He pitched six innings and only allowed one run and five hits while striking out six. "I think the biggest difference is my mentality, basically," Parra said. "I know I'm able to get guys out with my fastball, whereas before I don't know if I believed in it as much as I do now." While Parra struggled in the first to get outs, Reds starter Aaron Harang had no problems through the first three innings against Brewers hitters. Harang didn't give up a hit. Craig Counsell changed that with one swing, however. In the fourth inning, Counsell homered off Harang to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead. After Counsell's hit, the Brewers offense started to ignite. Mike Cameron laced a double into center field. Casey McGehee singled to right, which moved Cameron to third. Prince Fielder reached on an error by Harang, and that scored Cameron to make it 2-0. "I ran into some tough luck there in the fourth," Harang said. "I was eventually able to buckle down and get back on a roll again, but that inning ended up hurting us." Corey Hart was the next to get to Harang with a double that scored McGehee. And Frank Catalanotto capped the big inning with a sacrifice fly that scored Fielder to push the Brewers lead to 4-0. Following that inning, the Brewers didn't have any major scoring opportunities, but they didn't need them with Parra on top of his game. "The big hit in the inning was Corey Hart's double," Macha said. The only run Parra allowed was in the fifth. Reds shortstop Adam Rosales, who reached on a double, scored when McGehee threw a sacrifice bunt by Harang past Fielder. But once again, Parra settled down and escaped another jam, ending the inning with back-to-back strikeouts again. "It shows you that I have some resilience," Parra said. "The nice thing was that there was no panic involved." The game was delayed for one hour, 59 minutes after the seventh because of rain showers, but it couldn't stop a Brewers victory. Todd Coffey came in and set the Reds down in order in the seventh. He returned after the rain delay in the eighth, and Mark DiFelice finished the game off for the Brewers.
Steve Gartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.