By HAL McCOY
Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar sat and sat and sat for eighth innings, watching the Brewers and Cincinnati Reds play pinball baseball, hits splattering all over near empty Great American Ball Park Wednesday night.
Then he entered the game in the ninth inning and during his first at bat of a long, long night he hit a tie-breaking home run off Reds closer Raisel Iglesias in the 10th inning.
It was the biggest of a bunch of big blows in a wild, wild, wild 13-12 Milwaukee victory.
The home run only gave the Brewers a 12-11 lead and Milwaukee tagged on another run on back-to-back doubles by Hernan Perez and Erik Kratz to make it 13-11.
That run played huge because Cincinnati’s Brandon Dixon led the bottom of the 10th with a mammoth home run to center field, lifting the Reds back to within one run.
But Jose Peraza flied to right, Scooter Gennett struck out and Eugenio Suarez grounded out to third.
It was no shock that Aguilar hit the decisive home run, one of four the Brewers hit on this night. The Brewers have hit home runs in 21 straight games in Great American Ball Park, 44 home runs in those 21 games.
And Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich does not have a Christian attitude against the Reds. After hitting two home runs Tuesday, Yelich came back Wednesday to go 6 for 6 and hit for the cycle — home run, triple, double and three singles.
He has six home runs in his last six games.
Just to show he can do more than hit, when the score was 10-10 the 26-year-old budding superstar threw Eugenio Suarez out at home plate when he tried to score from second on a Curt Casali single.
When the game concluded at midnight, the two teams had scored 25 runs on 36 hits.
And the biggest wound of all for the Reds was that they led, 10-6, after six innings and couldn’t hold on.
For nearly all of this season, Brewers relief pitcher Josh Hader has been baseball’s version of Eliot Ness: Untouchable.
It wasn’t that way Wednesday night, not that way at all.
With two swings of the bat, the Cincinnati Reds scored four runs against Hader, an All-Star who averages more than 13 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
And that’s when the Reds took the 10-6 lead.
What all happened? What didn’t?
—Billy Hamilton led the bottom of the first inning with a home run, the first of four hits for only the second time in his career. And he slid home on a wild pitch in the eighth inning to tie it, 11-11. He was called out for missing home plate, but a review revealed he touched the plate with that oven mitt he wears on his left hand.
—From their view in the batter’s box, the Brewers probably are happy their front office didn’t make that trade for Reds pitcher Matt Harvey. He started the game and gave up five runs and 11 hits.
—Scooter Gennett , the former Brewer, continues to make his former team tremble. His two-run double in the fifth inning off Hader tied the game, 5-5. Gennett this year has four hits against his former team that has either tied the game or put the Reds ahead.
—Eugenio Suarez followed Gennett’s double with a two-run home run off Hader, his 30th home run and 95th RBI that gave the Reds a 7-5 lead.
—With the Reds up, 7-6, in the sixth, Hader gave up a walk to Tucker Barnhart and a single to Curt Casali. Taylor Williams replaced Hader to face relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen.
Lorenzen was asked to bunt and failed miserably. He squared to bunt with two strikes and fouled it, a strikeout. But after huddling, the umpires decided Lorenzen was pulling back his bat, not trying to bunt. So the foul ball that boun e off his bat as he tried to duck the inside pitch, was ruled a non-bunt foul ball. No strikeout.
On the next pitch, Lorenzen didn’t try to bunt. He drilled a three-run home run, his third home run in four at bats this year against Milwaukee, giving the Reds a 10-6 lead.
But Lorenzen and David Hernandez couldn’t hold that lead, giving up four runs in the seventh, including a Yelich triple that tied it, 10-10.
Milwaukee took an 11-10 lead in the eighth when Mike Moustakas led the inning with a home run off Iglesias. The Reds tied it in the bottom of the eighth when Hamilton dove home on the wild pitch after he had beat an infield single to third base.
The Reds had two on with one out in the bottom of the ninth, the potential winning run on second, but Milwaukee closer Jeremy Jeffress struck out Casali and Mason Williams lined to left.
And the husky and bulky Jesus Aguilar blasted his home run in the 10th and the two doubles tacked on what proved to be the winning run.