By HAL McCOY
Despite some awesome and outstanding scoreless pitching from the second through the eighth innings, the Cincinnati Reds’ losing streak now stands at a half dozen.
Their sixth straight spring exhibition loss came Wednesday, 3-2, when the Milwaukee Brewers scored a run in the bottom of the ninth.
After starter Livsalverto Bonilla gave up two runs in the first, Reds pitching held the Brewers scoreless over the next seven innings — until the ninth.
Ariel Hernandez walked the first batter, Mauricio Dubon, in the ninth on four pitches and moved him to second on a wild pitch. Dubon took third on a ground ball and Lucas Erceg singled on the first pitch to right field to end it.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart made his spring exhibition debut Wednesday afternoon in Maryvale, Ariz. and his first at bat was four stars.
Cozart, batting second in the top of the first, took the first pitch he saw for a ball and then whacked the second pitch over the left field fence for a home run.
Because of late season injury problems last season, the Reds are easing Cozart back into activity. He was expected to make his debut Tuesday but was held back after an all-night rain made playing conditions soggy.
Cozart played five innings and was 1 for 3.
AFTER COZART’S HOME RUN the Brewers came to bat in the bottom of the first to face Reds starter Lisalverto Bonilla, a pitcher the Reds signed off waivers a day before spring training began.
The first pitch he threw to Keon Broxton was drilled over the left field fence for a game-tying home run. Then Jonathan Villar doubled and Scooter Gennett singled to make it 2-1. Bonilla then walked Hernan Perez and threw a wild pitch.
But he escaped an eventual bases loaded disaster with a strikeout and all three outs he recorded came on strikeouts.
Bonilla, a 26-year-old Dominican right hander, appeared in five games last season for the Texas Rangers and was 3-and-0 with a 3.65 earned run average in three starts and two relief appearances.
He pitched 20 2/3 innings and gave up 13 hits and struck out 17, but walks were a problem, 12 of them.
AFTER THAT THE REDS receive notable pitching, especially another excellent outing from Rookie Davis, acquired from the New York Yankees in the Aroldis Champman trade. And the 23-year-old right hander’s name actually is Rookie, a name his father hung on him to make sure he would think about baseball.
Davis pitched two innings, the second and third, and gave up no runs, no hits, a walk and struck out two.
Sal Romano followed with two scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out one. Romano, 23, throws righthanded but bats left. He was a 23rd round draft pick in 2011 and is 32-48 with a 4.38 ERA for his 120 minor league starts over five years.
Then came Jackson Stephens and two more scoreless innings — one hit, two walks and two strikeouts.
THE REDS TIED THE GAME, 2-2, in the fourth on a single by Scott Schebler and a double by Eugenio Suarez. Suarez moved to third on a ground ball and died there when Dilson Herrera struck out on three pitches and Tucker Barnhart flied to center.
The Reds threatened in the eighth when they opened the inning with back-to-back one-out singles by Aristides Aquino and Patrick Kivlehan. But Aquino was thrown out trying to steal third after he was caught lingering too far off second base.
Phillip Ervin walked on four pitches and the inning ended with no runs when Joe Hudson flied to center.