Hits were in low supply on Thursday night, with the Brewers and Reds combining for eight total. However, the Brewers (or specifically Kolten Wong) made the hits count, as Wong hit three balls out of the park to account for all five of the Brewers runs in their 5-1 win over the Reds.
Wong got going in the second inning, following a leadoff walk from Hunter Renfroe. Wong hit an 0-1 pitch off of starter Hunter Greene down the right field line, and the Brewers had a 2-0 lead.
Offense remained at a premium through the next several innings. The Brewers did mount a threat in the third with a Willy Adames single and another Renfroe walk, but this time Wong popped out to end the inning. The Brewers next chance came in the sixth inning, when Rowdy Tellez drew another leadoff walk, this time off reliever Dauri Moreta. Two batters later, Wong was up at the plate again, and hit another ball down the right field line that just cleared the fence. That extended the lead to 4-0.
On the mound, Brandon Woodruff was strong and got through five scoreless innings, racking up 11 strikeouts in the first five innings with just two hits and one walk allowed. In the sixth, he allowed a leadoff walk to TJ Friedl, but that was erased on a hit and run that the Brewers turned into an easy double play. That would be important as the next batter, Kyle Farmer, took Woodruff deep for the only run he allowed on the day.
Kolten Wong would get that run back two innings later. Once again, he hit a pitch down the right field line, this time from Joel Kuhnel. It was Wong’s third hit and third home run of the day, and the Brewers lead increased to 5-1.
It was a needed performance from Wong, as the rest of the offense was flat for most of the night. Willy Adames was the only other Brewer to record a hit. Hunter Renfroe added on two two walks. Christian Yelich, Rowdy Tellez, and Andrew McCutchen each added a walk as well. That was it for the offense.
In the bullpen, Peter Strzelecki took the third and worked around a hit for a scoreless inning. Matt Bush had the eighth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout. Jake Cousins finished out the game, working around a walk and adding two strikeouts for a scoreless ninth. Wong’s home runs held up and the Brewers took the 5-1 win.
Meanwhile, in the Wild Card race, the Phillies defeated the Braves 1-0, and the Padres lost to the Cardinals 5-4. The Brewers remain 2 1⁄2 games back in the Wild Card race, but gain a game on the Padres.
Game two of the four-game series against the Reds will take place tomorrow night. Eric Lauer will return from the IL to face Mike Minor. First pitch is at 5:40 PM.