The Brewers continue to fight in the Wild Card race, with 12 games remaining in the season. They took care of business again on Friday night, using a balanced effort led by Andrew McCutchen for a 5-3 win over the Reds.
The Reds took the lead early, as their first three batters all reached base, capped by a Kyle Farmer double for a 2-0 lead. From there, Eric Lauer continued to struggle, issuing two more outs before escaping the inning with the bases loaded. He needed 39 pitches to get out of the inning, though.
The Brewers responded in the top of the second. Andrew McCutchen drew a one out walk and Luis Urias singled. Victor Caratini followed them with a double, driving them both in and tying the game at 2-2. Eric Lauer followed that with a scoreless second, needing 17 pitches to get out of the inning.
The third went by scoreless, though it marked the end of Lauer’s day. He recorded two outs in the bottom of the third before Luis Perdomo entered in relief. Lauer finished with 66 pitches, two runs allowed, five hits, three walks, and three strikeouts. Perdomo provided some strong innings in relief for the Brewers, allowing just one hit in 3 1⁄3 innings pitched.
While the bullpen kept the Reds offense in check, the Brewers were able to pull ahead. In the top of the fifth, Rowdy Tellez and Hunter Renfroe led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and Tellez moved up to third with Renfroe out on a Kolten Wong groundout. Andrew McCutchen then hit a ground ball to the right side of the infield with one out, and the Reds tried to turn the double play to end the inning but the throw to first was off. That allowed Tellez to score and Andrew McCutchen picked up his 1,000th career RBI. Initially both runners were ruled safe, but the Reds challenged the play, both on the force out at second and on slide interference by Wong. The ruling on the force out was overturned and Wong was out, but the call on no slide interference by Wong was upheld.
Top 5th - @Reds challenge call that Kolten Wong is safe at 2B and call of no violation of the slide rule; the force play at 2B is overturned, runner is out. Additionally, there was no violation of the slide rule. Powered by @Mitel. pic.twitter.com/EzARXKA9sj— MLB Replays (@MLBReplays) September 24, 2022
The Brewers tacked on in the top of the seventh, with two more baserunners, this time with one out as Renfroe walked and Wong singled. McCutchen added to his RBI total from there, with an RBI double that scored both Renfroe and Wong and gave the Brewers a 5-2 cushion.
The bullpen continued to keep the Reds offense in check, but they did break through in the eighth. After Brad Boxberger pitched a scoreless seventh, Matt Bush took the eighth. The Reds got two baserunners with an Aristides Aquino walk and a Stuart Fairchild single. Alejo Lopez then grounded into what should have been an inning-ending double play, but Wong had a bad throw that allowed Aquino to score. The run was unearned to Bush, but the Reds closed the gap to 5-3.
However, they would get no closer from there. Craig Counsell went to Devin Williams to finish the eighth, and Williams added a scoreless ninth to finish the game.
Every starter on the Brewers offense recorded a hit, with Kolten Wong and Garrett Mitchell having two-hit days. The offense had 11 hits and 6 walks in total, but a 2-for-15 day with runners in scoring position stopped them from blowing the game wide open. The Brewers had a runner in scoring position in every inning except the first and third, but left 12 runners on base as a team.
In the Wild Card race, the Phillies blew out the Braves 9-1 to remain 2.5 games ahead of the Brewers. However, the Padres lost to the Rockies 4-3, and the Brewers are now just 2 games behind the Padres for the second Wild Card spot.
Game three of the series takes place tomorrow, and the ace is back on the mound. Corbin Burnes will face Graham Ashcraft in Saturday’s game. First pitch is at 5:40 PM on Bally Sports Wisconsin and the Brewers Radio Network.