The Associated Press
CINCINNATI – Bill Hall wants to make a second impression that’s much better than his first.
Hall drove in runs with a triple and a double in his first start of the season, and the Milwaukee Brewers held on for a 6-4 victory Tuesday over the Cincinnati Reds.
Hall also had a couple of nice plays at shortstop, where he filled in for the struggling Royce Clayton. Hall, 23, was the Brewers’ minor league Player of the Year in 2001, but hit only .194 after a promotion last September.
“I played well,” said Hall, who was promoted from Triple-A on Monday. “I felt I needed to perform well to make up for last year.
“When I came up last year, I was definitely happy to be here, but I knew inside that I was not ready. I was not real comfortable last year. I still had a lot of baseball to learn.”
He set the tone as the NL Central’s lowliest teams split their two-game series. The Reds had won their last five games against the last-place Brewers, and lead the season series 7-4.
The Reds hit two batters — one with the bases loaded — and the majors’ worst defense committed two more errors, setting up an unearned Milwaukee run. Cincinnati leads the majors with 94 errors.
The Reds also ran themselves out of a rally in the second, when they loaded the bases with one out and pitcher Paul Wilson (5-8) coming up. They tried a squeeze on the second pitch to Wilson, but Brewers manger Ned Yost called for a pitchout and the Brewers got Aaron Boone breaking from third.
“That was a great call, an unbelievable call,” left-hander Wayne Franklin said.
Franklin (7-6) gave up six hits and two runs in six innings, including Jose Guillen’s 20th homer. He also had an RBI single as the Brewers went ahead to stay with a three-run second inning.
Leo Estrella gave up a bases-loaded single to D’Angelo Jimenez that cut it to 6-4 in the eighth, but Dan Kolb got the last three outs for his second save in as many chances.
Wilson had two bad innings — Milwaukee scored three in the second and three more off him in the sixth — as the Reds once again failed to get much out of their starter.
The Reds’ rotation has only 19 wins and a 6.29 earned run average that is last in the league. Its 47 losses are the most by any NL rotation.
Keith Ginter reached on shortstop Barry Larkin’s throwing error to start the three-run second, and Keith Osik followed with an RBI double. Hall then tripled to center for a 2-0 lead. Franklin’s single to right provided another run and his second career RBI — he was only 5-for-48 heading into that at-bat.
“You don’t want to be a sure out,” Franklin said. “Pitchers get tired of hearing that.”
Wilson faded in the sixth, when Ginter drew a leadoff walk and Osik was hit by a pitch. Hall’s double scored Ginter and made the Reds turn to their overworked bullpen.
“He had a walk and a hit-by-pitch, and that put us in a big hole,” manager Bob Boone said.
Felix Heredia intentionally walked Eric Young to load the bases, then hit Geoff Jenkins on the right arm with a 2-2 fastball to force in another run. Richie Sexson’s infield single made it 6-2.
Franklin gave up Adam Dunn’s sacrifice fly in the second and Guillen’s solo homer in the fifth. Dunn’s fly marked a personal breakthrough — he hadn’t driven in a run with anything except a homer since May 28. Dunn’s last seven RBIs had come off solo homers.
Right-hander Ryan Wagner, the Reds’ first-round pick in last month’s amateur draft, gave up a single in two innings, striking out four. Wagner has retired 11 of 12 batters in his two appearances.
Hall started nine games at shortstop last season following his first big league promotion.