By HAL McCOY
Shortly after Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich slid into third base with a triple Monday night, the large crowd in Miller Park began chanting, “MVP, MVP, MVP.”
MVP? To the Cincinnati Reds, Yelich is all-Galaxy, all-Universe, all-Everything.
That triple in the sixth inning gave Yelich the cycle — a single, double, triple and home run in the same game.
Astoundingly, it was the second time this season Yelich spliced together a cycle, both times against the Reds.
And that’s the first time in baseball history any player hit for the cycle against the same team in the same season. In addition, Yelich is only the third player in baseball history to hit for the cycle twice in one season.
His explosion Monday night made him the catalyst in an 8-0 victory over the Reds, who played this one as if they were still sleeping in their beds at the Pfister Hotel, which allegedly is haunted.
Nobody haunts the Reds like Yelich. In 12 games this season against the Reds he is 24 for 48 (.500) with seven home runs and 17 RBI.
The last time the Reds faced the Brewers, just three weeks ago in Great American Ball Park, Yelich was 6 for 6 when he hit for the cycle.
His night went like this:
—A single in the first inning on a 0-and-2 pitch.
—A double off the glove of diving first baseman Joey Votto in the third inning.
—A two-run home run into the right field seats in the fifth inning, all three of those hits came off Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani.
—A two-run triple up the right-center gap in the sixth inning off Wandy Peralta.
While the Brewers were scoring eight runs on 11 hits, the Reds had eight hits off Milwaukee pitching, just four more hit than Yelich by himself.
And it was oh so apropos on this awful night that the loss, coupled with a Pittsburgh win, clinched last place for the Reds for the fourth straight season.
And how about this statistic that says it all? When the Reds put runners in scoring position on the road recently, they are like people standing at a bus stop and the bus never comes.
They were 0 for their last 43 on the road with runners in scoring position until the ninth inning Monday. Mason Williams singled with a runner on second, but catcher Tim Federowicz, who had doubled for his first hit as a member of the Reds, only made it to third base.
Brandon Dixon struck out to end the game, stranding a runner at third and the number is now 1-for-45 with runners in scoring position and that one hit didn’t produce a run.
In four games on this trip, they Reds have scored four runs, all four on solo home runs.
As has been his modus operandi in September, Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani can’t find a way to pitch beyond the fifth inning.
He didn’t make it Monday, his fourth straight start this month he hasn’t set foot on the mound for the sixth inning.
He breezed through the high-octane Milwaukee offense one time through the order — no runs, two hits, no walks.
But the second time through the order was nothing but pot holes and sink holes.
He walked leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson with one out in the third and he came around to score on Yelich’s double and a sacrifice fly by Lorenzo Cain to make it 1-0.
Then came the fifth and Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell removed starting pitcher Wade Miley, who had given up no runs, five hits and no walks over five innings.
What a genius move. Domingo Santana batted for Miley leading off the bottom of the fifth and hit a home run, his second pinch-hit home run in two days. And it was Milwaukee’s 10th pinch-hit home run this year, a club record.
Granderson then singled and Yelich cracked his 31st home run for a 4-0 lead.
The Brewers turned it into a rout in the sixth by scoring four runs off Wandy Peralta and Jesus Reyes. Mike Moustakas started it with a double. Orlando Arcia drove him home on what looked like a single. But Arcia tried to stretch it into a double and was out at second — until Scooter Gennett dropped the throw.
Arcia then tried to steal third and was so far out he didn’t even slide. But third baseman Eugenio Suarez dropped the ball and Arcia was safe. Arcia then scored when Suarez booted a ground ball for an error.
Granderson walked and Yelich completed the cycle with his two-run triple and an 8-0 lead.
After Miley left the game, flame-throwing left hander Josh Hader struck out the side in the sixth, then Brandon Woodruff pitched three scoreless innings for this first major league save.
To rub it all in, Jose Peraza’s 11-game hitting streak came to an end and Joey Votto’s eight-game hitting streak came to an end.