WP: Drew Storen (2-2); LP: Corey Knebel (0-1); Save: Raisel Iglesius (14); Homeruns: Mil - Ryan Braun (8), Travis Shaw (17); Cinc - Adam Duval (18), Scooter Gennett (12)
One thing the Brewers couldn’t afford to lose was their best starting pitcher, especially after a short start from Junior Guerra last night and only one inning from Chase Anderson tonight. Anderson injured an oblique while striking out to end the second inning, and the Brewers were forced to scramble with their bullpen the rest of way.
Paolo Espino contributed three innings, allowing three runs on two homers. Josh Hader worked two scoreless and Oliver Drake shut down the Reds in the seventh. Corey Knebel warmed in the top of the eighth to come in with the Brewers down a run, but a Travis Shaw two out homer tied things up so the Brewers had their closer in with the score 3-3 in the eighth. Knebel hadn’t pitched in five games, so it made sense to get him some work. Unfortunately, Knebel was rusty after his lay-off and walked Billy Hamilton leading off the inning on a close 3-2 pitch.
Hamilton stole second, and after a Scooter Gennett strikeout Joey Votto was intentionally walked. Hamilton stole third without a throw and came in on an infield hit from Adam Duvall. The eighth ended with the Reds up 4-3.
The Brewers threatened to tie things up in the top of the ninth. Jonathan Villar led off with a pinch single and Orlando Arcia dumped a hit into right one out later, sending Villar to third. Jesus Aguilar pinch hit, and Arcia took off on an 0-2 pitch that was low but called strike three. Arcia, attempting to get into a rundown and have Villar take off for home, was called out for being out of the baseline before Villar could score and the game was over.
Milwaukee scored first in the second inning when Stephen Vogt drove home Travis Shaw on a sacrifice fly that was about an inch from being a three run homer. Scott Schebler made a leaping grab, reaching over the fence, to rob Vogt. An Adam Duvall homer off of Espino, his first batter faced in the bottom of the second, tied things up at one.
Ryan Braun drove a high fastball from Reds’ starter Luis Castillo into the right-centerfield seats in the third to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead, but Gennett’s two run shot in the bottom half of the inning gave the Reds a 3-2 edge. It looked like a repeat of last night’s homer barrage, but both teams then went scoreless until the eighth.
Shaw has homered in three consecutive games; Braun has a double and homer and several hard hit balls in his two games back, and has started going the opposite way after getting pull happy earlier this season; and Vogt hit the ball hard in every at bat tonight.
The Brewers, again losers of the first two games of a series, remain a game ahead of the Cubs, 8-4 losers to the Nationals. Milwaukee (41-39) will start Jimmy Nelson (5-3, 3.28) against the Reds’ (33-44) Homer Bailey (0-0, 0.00 ERA). Bailey has had an injury riddled last couple of seasons. For the second time in his last three starts, Nelson will be asked to get deep into the game with the Brewers’ pen overworked the past two nights. Thursday’s game will mark the half-way point of the 2017 season.