- By HAL McCOY
- Four hits, four hits, three hits. One-run loss, one-run loss, one-run loss.
- That’s the sad but true tale of the Cincinnati Reds during a three-game series sweep by the Milwaukee Brewers. It concluded Thursday afternoon with an utterly frustrating day in Great American Ball Park, a 1-0 defeat.One-run victories are the modus operandi for the Brewers. They led the league last season with 33 one-run victories en route to the National League Central title. And this year they are 6-and-1 and five are one-run victories.
Unfortunately, Luis Castillo’s day to pitch fell on the same day Milwaukee’s Freddy Peralta decided to pitch like Cy Young.
It is hard to believe that anybody could pitch better than Castillo on this day — seven innings, one run, one hit, four walks, nine strikeouts.
Peralta, though, gave up a leadoff single to Eugenio Suarez in the second inning, then retired 20 in a row.
He went eight innings and gave up no runs, two hits, walked nobody and struck out 11.
Other than his hitters are defining the word feeble, Castillo can put the blame for the loss on his shoulders.
He walked Jesus Aguilar in the second inning. First baseman Joey Vott was not holding Aguilar at the bag and why should he? Aguilar owns zero stolen bases for his career.
But Castillo decided to throw over, but when he saw Votto was 10 feet off the bag, he stopped. A balk.
That put Aguilar on second and he scored on Manny Pina’s weak ground ball through the infield, the only hit and the only run off Castillo.
It was only 23rd 1-0 game in Great American Ball Park and, ironically, the last one was 1-0 loss by Castillo.
The Reds finally got their second hit of the game in the eighth inning, a two-out single by Curt Casali.
Yasiel Puig, a non-starter on this day, was sent up to pinch-hit. He worked he count to 2-and-2 and fouled off two pitches. He then kissed his bat and fouled off another pitch.
At this point, Peralta had thrown him seven straight fast ball. The eighth pitch, his 100th of the game, was slider in the dirt and Puig swung. . .and struck out.
Alex Wilson, owner of four major league saves, came on to pitch the ninth for the Brewers and the Reds mounted a scare.
Wilson walked Tucker Barnhart to open the inning. Jesse Winker struck out and Joey Votto popped out.
That brought up Matt Kemp. The Reds started the game with three outfielders who haven’t had a hit all season — Jesse Winker, Scott Schebler and Matt Kemp.
And none had a hit until Kemp came to the plate in the ninth and drilled a single that sent pinch-runner Michael Lorenzeon to third — tying run on third, winning run on first.
That brought up Eugenio Suarez and he grounded into a game-ending force play at second, the first and only ground ball out of the game for the Reds.
Other than that it was a slew of strikeouts and an abunance of weak fly balls.
The Reds finished the homestand 1-and-5 and head to Pittsburgh for an abbreviated four-game trip to play the Pirates in PNC Park.