By HAL McCOY
Most of the time Joey Votto doesn’t make more than two outs during an entire game. On Friday night in Miller Park he made three out with one swing of the bat.
He hit into a triple play.
It was instrumental in the Cincinnati Reds losing to the Milwaukee Brewers, 5-4, dropping the last place Reds 6½ games behind the next-to-last Brewers.
THE TRIPLE PLAY OCCURRED in the first inning after the Reds put their first two runners on base against Milwaukee’s best pitcher, Zach Davies.
Both runners should have reached on errors by third baseman Jonathan Villar. He bobbled leadoff hitter Jose Peraza’s grounder, but it was ruled a hit. Villar then kicked Scott Schebler’s grounder and Villar was given his rightful error.
That brought up Votto with runners on second and first with no outs. On a 3-and-2 pitch he ripped one down the first base line with both runners moving on the pitch.
First baseman Chris Carter snagged the line drive, stepped on first to double off Schebler and threw to second to triple off Peraza.
AMAZINGLY, IT WAS THE second triple play pulled off by the defensively challenged Brewers, who lead the league in errors and made two Friday night (it should have been three).
True, the Reds received a three-run home run from Jose Peraza in the fifth inning for a 3-1 lead, but that first inning triple play prevented the Reds from a possible big inning.
Three outs with one swing of the bat, is difficult to swallow and to overcome, but it was an event that says it all about the 2016 Reds season. If there is a way to lose a game, they’ll find it, usually out of the bullpen. And it was another bullpen blowup that did them in.
Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani pitched five strong innings, giving up a first-pitch home run to Chris Carter leading off the second.
BUT DESCLAFANI WEAKENED in the sixth and collapsed in the seventh. The bullpen arrived to do what it does most of the time — blow the game.
Ryan Braun opened the sixth with a single, stole second and took third on a wild pitch. He scored on a ground ball to third on which Eugenio Suarez could have thrown home to get Braun. Instead, he threw to first, Braun scored, and it was 3-2.
Catcher and No. 8 hitter Andrew Susec led the seventh with a double down the right field line. Pinch-hitter Josmil Pinto walked and DeSclafani then walked Villar to fill the bases with no outs.
Manager Bryan Price went to his bullpen and brought in left hander Tony Cingrani to face left handed Scooter Gennett. Cingrani walked Gennett on four pitches, forcing in the tying run.
Price replaced Cingrani with Blake Wood and the first pitch he threw was drilled into center field for a two-run single by Braun and it was 5-3.
THE REDS PUT UP A MILD threat in the ninth against Brewers closer Tyler Thornburg when Suarez began the inning with a double.
So the Reds had the potential tying run at the plate three straight times. Steve Selsky flied to right and Suarez took third.
Tucker Barnhart grounded to first base, scoring Suarez to make it 5-4. Pinch-hitter Hernan Iribarren struck out to end it and the swooning Reds were losers for the seventh time in their last eight games.
The unfortunate loser was DeSclafani, who gave up only two runs while he was on the mound, but the run Cingrani walked in and the two runs that scored on Braun’s single were all charged to DeSclafani, dropping his record to 8-and-5.
The most notable thing happened these days is the batwork of Peraza. He has hits in 10 of his last 12 games and five times he had multiple hits.
The Reds have to find an every day spot for this 22-year-old rookie for next season, if it means trading shortstop Zack Cozart or convincing Brandon Phillips to accept a trade.
Phillips will be 36 next years, 13 years older than Peraz, and Phillips is not part of the future as the Reds continue their reconstuction.
The victory went to Cincinnati native and Moeller High School graduate, rookie Brent Sutter. He replaced Davies with two outs and nobody on in the top of the seventh and faced one hitter. He got Scott Schebler on a deep fly to left field.
The middle of the order provided the punch for the Brewers and both Braun and Carter had two hits and two RBI.
In addition to his three-run home run, Peraza had another hit and Brandon Phillips had two hits, as did Suarez.