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Bullpen collapses as Reds demolish Brewers, 12-3

Boy, the Reds had lots of base runners after the fourth inning

Milwaukee Brewers v Cincinnati Reds
At least Eric Thames hit a homer...
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

WP: Dave Hernandez (3-0); LP: Mike Zagurski (0-1); Save: none; Home runs: Mil - Eric Thames (11); Cin - Michael Lorenzen, GS (3)

A heavily Red Box Score

For the second game in a row, the Brewers and Reds managed to turn a close game in the late innings into a rout, but this time the Reds used an eight run seventh inning to flip a 3-1 deficit into a 10-3 lead and ultimately won their first game of the series, 12-3.

Milwaukee (48-34) scratched and clawed to build that two run lead and hoped that the ‘B’ bullpen could hold Cincinnati (35-48), but such was not the case. Reds’ starter Tyler Mahle mowed down twelve batters with strikeouts, but gave up three runs (one earned) in his 5.2 innings. Eric Thames homered as the second batter in the top of the first for a 1-0 lead, and after a two out walk for Travis Shaw and a base hit from Hernan Perez, Jonathan Villar struck out to end the inning.

The Crew had a chance in the fifth to add on, loading the bases with one down after Thames was intentionally walked. That followed a one out single from Brewers’ starter Jhoulys Chacin and a double to left center by Brad Miller. But Mahle struck out Jesus Aguilar for the third time and then caught Travis Shaw looking on a ball off the plate inside to end the inning on a called strikeout.

After Chacin’s jaunt on the bases he had trouble locating to start the bottom of the fifth. He walked the first two and allowed a “hit” on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Mahle when nobody covered first base. It looked like Aguilar was supposed to stay back as Villar was holding the runner at second and the shortstop Miller was covering third. A sacrifice fly plated the tying run, and the teams headed to the sixth at 1-1.

Hernan Perez topped a ball to third leading off the sixth and when Eugenio Suarez double clutched getting the ball out of his glove Perez beat it out; Suarez was charged with an error. Villar doubled down the right field line, plating Perez, taking third when the throw home skipped past Reds’ catcher Curt Casali. One out later Erik Kratz hit a hard grounder against the drawn in infield that Scooter Gennett speared with a dive, and Villar scored as Kratz was thrown out. 3-1 Brewers.

Taylor Williams had the sixth and allowed three singles and a walk to pare the lead to 3-2. He also allowed a hit to lead off the seventh, and Craig Counsell gave Mike Zagurski his first opportunity this season against Joey Votto. Zagurski put a 2-2 fastball on the corner for strike three, but it was called ball three instead, and then Votto walked. Would that have made a difference? Hard to say. Zagurski then allowed a double that was a misplay in left by Thames, an intentional walk, and a single, and gave way to Jacob Barnes.

Barnes gave up back to back singles and then a grand slam to pinch hitter Michael Lorenzen - yeah, that relief pitcher who also homered off of Chase Anderson yesterday. Lorenzen has three home runs in six at bats this season. The first eight hitters of the eighth reached and scored for Cincy, and the game was over with a 10-3 lead.

Erik Kratz worked the bottom of the eighth and the Reds continued to hit, plating two against the big righty despite his knuckle ball and 80 mph fastball. He struck out Suarez looking.

The Brewers, playing without Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun on the active roster, and with Lorenzo Cain on the DL, had to get creative defensively. Eric Sogard finished the game in left field, and every bench player was used when Pina had to catch Kratz.

Game Notes:

  • Reds’ pitchers struck out 18 Brewers, a new franchise record. Dylan Floro fanned the side in the ninth to set the mark.
  • Scooter Gennett ranged onto the outfield grass on Chacin’s final at bat in the top of the sixth, but the ball skipped past him. He was charged with and error; I thought that should have been a hit, and Perez’ grounder in the same inning could very well have been a hit too.
  • The Reds had four base runners and no runs in the first four innings. They had eighteen base runners and twelve runs in the last four.
  • Aguilar avoided a golden sombrero when he tapped a slow roller to the pitcher in his final at bat. The slider ate him up all day.

Milwaukee goes for a series win tomorrow with rookie Freddy Peralta (3-0, 1.59). Cincy starts ex-Met Matt Harvey (3-5, 5.28). After another Cub thrashing of the Twins’ pitching staff (14-9), the Crew leads Chicago by 1.5 games.