The Crew extended their division lead to 9.5 games in a 4-1 win over the Reds on Wednesday night. On paper, the contest was close, but the Brewers seemed in control from the early innings.
The pitching staff combined for sixteen strikeouts. Ten of those belonged to Brandon Woodruff, who reemerged as brilliant after a few rough starts and a rough start to the game. He allowed the first two batters to reach and allowed the leadoff runner in the first two innings. After that, he was pretty much lights out, leading with his stellar fastball. Four hits bookended his performance. He blanked the Reds through six, walked nobody, and struck out ten.
Woodruff, not particularly efficient through the start, was well-supported by the bullpen. Brad Boxberger struck out two across a three up, three down inning. Devin Williams went three up, three down with an assist from Avisaíl García. Jake Cousins gave up the shutout in the ninth on a Nick Castellanos home run, but he also struck out the side on a nasty mix of sliders and sinking fastballs.
Luis Castillo pitched well, too, and gave the Reds a fighting chance for most of the contest, limiting the Brewers’ offense to two runs through 6.1 innings, The first run was knocked in by Avisaíl García, who hit the second of back-to-back doubles to drive in Christian Yelich and put the first run of the game on the board.
The next time the Brewers would score a run, Avi was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a single that punctuated a masterful at-bat by Luis Urías. He simply had to trot home from second after Jace Peterson hit a ground-rule double over the center field fence.
García had an all-around night, doing his part in the run prevention department, too. His first big play was the bullet of a throw to second from deep right field that stole an extra base hit from Nick Castellanos.
The second time Avi came up big defensively, he preserved Devin Williams’ scoreless eighth and, at the time, the shutout, by pulling back what would otherwise have been a Max Schrock home run.
The Brewers went the heads up, small ball route to tack on a couple of insurance runs in the eighth. Kolten Wong led off the inning with a walk, Christian Yelich reached on a throwing error, and Wong scored on a wild pitch by Amir Garrett to bring the Brewers up 3-0.
Garrett intentionally walked Avi, which was probably a good decision considering how the night was going for each of them, but the Crew would sneak another run across after soft grounders from Rowdy Tellez and Luis Urías. That brought the Crew up 4-0 by the end of the inning. The ball didn’t leave the infield.
Again, the shutout would end in the ninth when Jake Cousins surrendered a home run in what was otherwise a well-pitched inning, but it wouldn’t stop the Brewers from the win, a series victory, and an even larger lead over the division.
The Crew will look to extend the division lead as they wrap up the Reds series at American Family Field tomorrow, 1:10 CT.