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MIL@CIN: Ludwick hits a two-run homer off Gallardo

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati is sharing the wealth.

In the absence of Joey Votto, it seems a new hero emerges out of the Reds' lineup each night.

Saturday night was no exception, as four different Reds chalked up RBIs in the team's 6-2 win against the Brewers at Great American Ball Park.

"I feel like we've just kept going," said Ryan Ludwick, whose two-run home run in the first inning gave the Reds an early 4-0 lead. "[Votto] is a great player -- a $250 million player -- and obviously one of the elite players. But a lot of the players in this locker room have been on teams where guys go down. That's the sign of a good team -- if you can battle through adversity ... and so far, I feel like we've done a pretty good job with that."

The Reds have done a pretty good job, indeed, holding a 4-2 record since the last game their franchise first baseman appeared in the lineup. Cincinnati is in first place in the National League Central, a half-game ahead of the Pirates.

Without Votto's bat, the club has turned to different sources of offense each game, with Ludwick taking his turn Saturday.

Jay Bruce, one of Friday night's heroes, got things going for Cincinnati when he drove in Zack Cozart on an RBI single to center off Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo.

Two batters later, after Scott Rolen drove home Brandon Phillips with a sacrifice fly to left, Ludwick sent Gallardo's 3-1 fastball 437 feet to left field to give the Reds a 4-0 lead after one inning.

"Every day we depend on somebody else, and one day we'll get everybody out there," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "It's a situation where the guys are playing and playing hard. We played a very good ballgame."

The game may have taken a different turn had an early call gone in the other direction.

With two outs, third-base umpire Tim Timmons called Bruce safe on a bang-bang play after Bruce stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado.

Had Bruce been called out, Ludwick wouldn't have had the chance to hit his two-run shot.

"I thought he might have been out, but obviously the umpire was closer than I was," Gallardo said. "I really didn't have a chance to look at the replay yet. I still have to go out and make pitches. I think it's a huge difference -- I make a pitch there and get out of it with two runs ... we have a better chance."

Fortunately for the Reds, the call went their way, with the early offense supporting another solid outing from Bronson Arroyo against the Brewers.

The last time the 35-year-old righty faced Milwaukee, on June 26, he carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning before giving up three runs and surrendering the Reds' lead.

Arroyo didn't have quite that much success in the early going this time, but he did hold the Brewers scoreless through the first three innings, allowing just one hit.

"It's funny, because I started watching video today and nobody was getting a hit, and I realized that that was the game I took a no-hitter deep into the game," Arroyo said. "I didn't feel unbelievably well [Saturday], but I did some things good enough to keep the score low and give us a chance to get deep in the ballgame."

The Brewers got on the board in the fourth when Corey Hart's bouncer got through Rolen and Cozart's gloves and into left field, scoring Travis Ishikawa from second.

Ishikawa scored again in the sixth inning off Aramis Ramirez's grounder up the middle. Cozart's diving stop led to an impressive 6-4-3 double play, but allowed a run to cross the plate.

"[Milwaukee]... has been a nice comfortable win for me," Arroyo said. "Even though they've beat me at times, I always feel like I'm comfortable enough to get deep in the ballgame. Tonight was no exception. It's just one of those things where you feel comfortable against those guys."

Arroyo lasted six innings, giving up two runs on five hits while striking out six, and exited with a 4-2 lead.

The Reds added a couple of insurance runs in the seventh on Phillips' two-run home run to left, his 12th of the season.

"[The Brewers] can hit the ball out the ballpark, and that's not a very big lead," Baker said. "That was a huge two-run home run -- insurance runs -- that Brandon got. We're glad we got Bronson a win. He's been kind of a hard-luck guy."

Arroyo has constantly had to deal with poor run support this season, with Saturday being just his fifth win of the year.

Arroyo sits right in the middle of the pack among Reds starters with a 3.98 ERA, but has the second fewest wins.

"I feel like I'm the weakest link in the rotation right now," said Arroyo, who has made 19 starts this season. "Everybody is looking really, really strong all the time. That being said, I feel like I've thrown pretty good about 16 times. It just means that we've got a pretty good rotation and hopefully it continues."

The win puts the Reds at a season-high 14 games above .500, and the club has won 10 of its last 12.

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