Hellweg battered again in Brewers 6-2 loss to Reds

Posted- July 10th 2013 5:55 pm

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Johnny Hellweg pitched his way up to the major leagues last month. Now he's pitched his way back down to the minors again.

After another rough outing Wednesday the right-hander was sent back to the minors.

Mike Leake scattered four hits over 8 1-3 innings and Brandon Phillips had three RBI, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-2 win over the Brewers.

Hellweg (0-3) had trouble throwing strikes and was knocked around in his fourth consecutive appearance.

"I'm still confident," said Hellweg, who was 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA in 14 starts at Triple-A Nashville. "I know what I can do. ... I didn't show it these last couple times out, but I think that's going to kind of put more of a drive or a fire in me to come back up and do it right the next time," he said.

The right-hander allowed four runs on four hits and five walks in 4 1-3 innings in his third start for Milwaukee.

"He's behind in the count, he's fighting to survive to make a real good pitch to get out of it," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's got the stuff that he can do it. He's still getting a lot of groundballs, and that's a huge advantage to be able to do that when you're behind in the count."

Acquired in the 2012 trade that sent Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels, the 6-foot, 9-inch Hellweg has struggled in three starts and one relief appearance. In 10 2-3 innings, he has given up 20 runs on 19 hits and 12 walks while striking out three batters.

"I think you learn a lot when you come here," Roenicke said. "You see what happens, you see how your stuff plays against the best hitters anywhere."

Hellweg was optioned to Class A Wisconsin in the Midwest League after the game to keep him pitching every fifth day, Roenicke said. Other Brewers affiliates have off days that would have gotten Hellweg off schedule, Roenicke said.

After making his next start for the Timber Rattlers, the team will decide whether to send Hellweg to another minor-league affiliate or have him rejoin the Brewers, Roenicke said.

The Reds put the leadoff runner on base in each of the first seven innings and snapped a three-game losing streak.

Leake (8-4) bounced back from a rare rough start in his last outing and seemed to get stronger as the game progressed. He allowed four walks while striking out two.

Leake allowed four runs in just five innings during his last start July 5 in a 7-4 loss to Seattle, and gave up a first-inning run to Milwaukee.

The right-hander then settled down, giving up Sean Halton's first major-league home run and a walk to Jeff Bianchi in the fifth before retiring 13 consecutive batters.

Jonathan Lucroy reached off Leake on a one-out single in the ninth, and Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker turned to closer Aroldis Chapman to finish the game in a non-save situation.

Notes: Brewers OFs Ryan Braun (sore left thumb) and Norichika Aoki (left elbow tightness) were out of the lineup. They are expected to start Thursday at Arizona. ... Milwaukee RHP Yovani Gallardo (7-8) is expected to start Thursday in the opener of a four-game series at Arizona. Lefty Wade Miley is set to go for the Diamondbacks.

(Copyright Associated Press)


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