April 8 – On Sunday afternoon, a pitcher with an upset stomach continued the early season stretch of strong starting pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers in the post-Corbin Burnes era.

On Monday evening, the Brewers will turn to left-hander Aaron Ashby, who will make his first big league appearance in 18 months.

The Brewers will attempt to extend their fast start when they visit the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a four-game series between the National League Central rivals.

Ashby, who last pitched for the Brewers on Oct. 5, 2022, will oppose Reds right-hander Graham Ashcroft (0-1, 3.00 ERA).

William Contreras hit two homers on Sunday as Milwaukee earned a 12-4 victory in the rubber contest of a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners.

The Reds dropped a series for the first time this season when they fell 3-1 to the visiting New York Mets on Sunday.

The Brewers got through Sunday’s game using just two pitchers, which was the best-case scenario on an afternoon in which starter Colin Rea didn’t feel well. Thyago Vieira earned the save by throwing the final three innings in relief of Rea, who gave up one run in six innings while battling a stomach virus.

“Tremendous uplift to the team when we need it and he knows it,” Brewers manager Pat Murphy said.

Rea’s solid effort lowered the ERA among Milwaukee starting pitchers to 2.72, the fifth-best mark in baseball. Brewers starters ranked sixth in the majors with a 3.94 ERA last season, which was Burnes’ last with the team before he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles.

Ashby, who didn’t pitch in the majors last season after undergoing shoulder surgery in April 2023, allowed three runs over five innings for Triple-A Nashville before being recalled to replace the injured Jakob Junis in the rotation.

The Reds, who scored at least four runs in seven of their first eight games, had just three hits and left eight runners on base. Santiago Espinal’s fourth-inning sacrifice fly allowed Cincinnati to avoid being shut out for the first time since last Sept. 19.

The defeat may have been a doubly costly one for the Reds, who lost reliever Tejay Antone to an elbow injury after he threw just one pitch in the sixth inning. Antone, who has undergone Tommy John surgery twice, is expected to undergo an MRI on Monday.

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