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Wade Miley pitches a gem, Lorenzo Cain homer gives Brewers 2-1 win

Remember way back when these teams combined for 25 runs in a game?

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds
It’s never easy, is it? But it still feels good.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

WP: Joakim Soria (1-3); LP: Austin Brice (2-3); Save: Josh Hader (11); Home runs: Mil - Lorenzo Cain (10); Cin - none

A cleaner Box Score today

Craig Counsell said that it was tough to tell they were playing the same game by the same rules today as the last two games, and ain’t that the truth.

Today the Milwaukee Brewers (75-60) topped the Cincinnati Reds (57-77) 2-1 in 11 innings after the two teams had combined for 41 runs over the first two games of the series. With the win, Milwaukee claims a temporary tie with the Cards for the top Wild Card spot, pending the outcome of the St. Louis games against the Pirates tonight.

It might come as a surprise that pitching was the name of the game this afternoon. Reds starter Cody Reed hadn’t gone further than 3.1 innings in any game this season but worked into the fifth today. Wade Miley had Milwaukee’s only hit up until that point, but Mike Moustakas and Hernan Perez had singles leading off the inning. Miley couldn’t get a bunt down and struck out when he fouled one off with two strikes (yeah, that’s a thing), but an infield single by Lorenzo Cain loaded ‘em up for the red-hot Christian Yelich. Reed walked him on four pitches, which might have been a good idea, but it gave the Crew a 1-0 lead and ended Reed’s day.

After four hits through five innings, the Brewers then went 5.1 innings without another hit. They did draw a couple of walks, but never really threatened.

Meanwhile, Miley shut out Cincy on two hits into the seventh. With one down Phillip Ervin singled, and with two out Dilson Herrera doubled down the leftfield line. The throw to the plate on relay by Hernan Perez looked like an out, but the call was safe, and we know how replays go this season. That play tied the game up at 1.

Miley left in the eighth when Billy Hamilton had an opposite field double as a pinch hitter. Dan Jennings relieved and a Scott Schebler come-backer resulted in Hamilton’s retirement in a rundown, Schebler taking second. Jennings twisted his ankle on the play, and was replaced by Jordan Lyles. Jose Peraza lined a ball to the warning track in left that Ryan Braun hauled in to retire the side.

Corbin Burnes had a perfect ninth, and the Reds came within a whisker of winning in the bottom of the tenth. Mason Williams singled with two down against Joakim Soria, and Hamilton drilled one that looked headed down the rightfield line, but a leaping Jesus Aguilar snared it with a sno-cone, and the game went to the eleventh.

Austin Brice, fresh up from the minors, took over in the top of the 11th for the Reds, and his first pitch was lined to deep left by Cain. The ball skimmed off the top of the wall and out, and the Brewers had their first hit since the fifth and a 2-1 lead.

Brice also left with an injury after an out, and Aguilar had a single and Jonathan Schoop was hit by a pitch, but Moose fouled out to third to end the inning.

Josh Hader had a chance for redemption after yesterday’s inglorious outing, entering in the bottom of the eleventh for a save chance. He is redeemed. A ten pitch, eight strike outing got Scooter Gennett, Peraza, and Joey Votto to end the game. Another series win, and finally a well pitched game.

Just enough hitting yesterday; just enough pitching today. It’s a nerve-racking approach, but maybe the Brewers are saving all of their easy wins for a World Championship run in the play-offs.

So it’s off to Washington for three with the Nationals, who every five games or so score about a gazillion runs. Let’s hope it doesn’t come this weekend. Jhoulys Chacin (13-5, 3.61) looks for the win for the Crew, and will face Tanner Roark (8-13, 3.95). Roark went eight shutout innings on three hits the last time he faced the Brewers in late July.

Game Notes:

  • The Brewers hit three solid balls off of Reds’ pitchers today. Literally off of the pitchers. Hard. I would have been gun-shy on the mound if I had been a Red today. Come to think of it, I’d be deathly afraid throwing any pitch to a major leaguer (or minor leaguer) at any time.
  • Michael Lorenzen retired seven straight hitters from the fifth through the seventh, but hit into a double play in his only at bat. Of course, it took a replay to overturn a very poor call at first.
  • Whew. The Brewer bullpen went 3.2 innings of shutout ball, allowing one hit and no walks, and only fanning one.
  • The final two spots in the Brewers’ order struck out six times in eight appearances. Erik Kratz walked in his first at bat and then struck out three straight times, the last one on an 0-2 fastball right down the middle - looking. But hey! He must have called a really good game! Seriously - he did.
  • Jesus Aguilar had an odd moment on the base paths in the top of the eighth. He walked with two down and with Ryan Braun at the plate, a pitch in the dirt got behind Reds’ catcher Curt Casali. Aguilar seemed to not pick up the ball, and when he did take off he kind of jogged into second. Casali’s throw was in time (on review) to end the inning.