Desperately needing a win to salvage something in their last road series of the year against the Cincinnati Reds, the Brewers' lineup once again fell silent for much of the game, sleepwalking through an early start time en route to a 7-1 loss, getting swept just before a big weekend series against the Chicago Cubs.
A night after struggling to get much of anything going offensively and missed on several mistake pitches, the Brewers bats got on the board early when Neil Walker crushed a 98 mph fastball by Luis Castillo that was right down the middle for a long home run to right field to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead before Matt Garza even took the mound.
Garza threw a scoreles first inning, but the BABIP gremlins came out for him in the second inning, with Adam Duvall blooping a leadoff single into right despite being jammed and Eugenio Suarez following with a jam shot double to put runners at second and third. Garza was able to tightrope out of the jam, though, getting Scott Schebler to ground out to first and striking out Jose Peraza before intentionally walking Tucker Barnhart to face pitcher Luis Castillo, who grounded out.
BABIP would not be denied, though, returning in the bottom of the third. After Garza struck out Ervin, Zack Cozart and Joey Votto singled before Duvall got jammed again only to see the ball fall for another single, this time driving in the tying run. Suarez came up next and hit a liner that appeared to be headed for a double play, but the ball bounced off Garza's glove and richocheted past Hernan Perez, loading the bases. Garza then walked Schebler on a 3-2 curveball to force in a run, making the score 2-1 in favor of Cincinnati.
Garza's luck wouldn't get any better against Suarez, breaking the bat and inducing a tailor-made double play ball, but Walker whiffed on the return throw to first, allowing the ball to get away and letting a second run to score on the play to increase the Reds lead to 4-1. Brent Suter came in for relief, but gave up an RBI single to Barnhart (who was thrown out trying to make it to second) to make it 5-1.
The lead was pushed to 6-1 in the 7th inning when Cozart led off the inning with a solo home run off of Jeremy Jeffress, who to that point had thrown 2 scoreless innings. Josh Hader came in and retired the next three batters, including striking out Votto and Duvall.
The Reds tacked on another run in the 8th when Peraza homered off of Corey Knebel, who was in the game just getting some work in. Taylor Williams made his Major League debut after the homer, finishing the inning by recording two outs.
The Brewers couldn't get anything going offensively after the first inning against Castillo, who threw 8 innings and struck out 10, lowering his ERA to 3.12. He's going to be a good one long-term.
The Brewers have an off day tomorrow before starting a weekend series against the Chicago Cubs in which they have their top three starters scheduled to pitch.