By HAL McCOY
Baseball is about as easy to explain as the theory of relativity and not even Albert Einstein can quantify the game.
Explain this, Albert. Explain how the Cincinnati Reds lost to the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday afternoon, 7-5.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani began the game in Miller Park by striking out the first six Brewers.
All six were swinging strikes and the Brewers were as helpless as a turtle on its back. He tied a club record with those six strikeouts to start the game.
That also was DeSclafani taking the mound in the third, but he wasn’t the same man. The Brewers teed off, hitting line drives all over god’s green acres — five runs on six hits as 10 hitters stood in the batter’s box.
It began on the first pitch of the third inning and it landed somewhere in the great beyond, a 465-foot home run by Travis Shaw, longest hit by a Milwaukee hitter since 2017.
DeSclafani then struck out opposing pitcher Brandon Woodruff, but the next four Brewers hit scorching base hits for three more runs. Then came another strikeout, DeSclafani’s eighth. But he issued a walk and another hit for a fifth run of the inning.
DeSclafani struck out Shaw to end the inning, his ninth strikeout in three innings, but he was behind, 5-0.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee starter Brandon Woodruff was even more of a strikeout machine, without DeSclafani’s one-inning meltdown.
Woodruff struck out 12 Reds in seven innings, giving up three runs and seven hits en route to his ninth victory this season.
DeSclafani remained on the mound until he gave up a one-out single to Ryan Braun in the fourth, a hitter he had struck out twice. Zach Duke replaced DeSclafani and Braun scored on a sacrifice fly, after stealing third, and Orlando Arcia cleared the center field wall for a home run that made it, 7-0.
DeSclafani’s strange/weird line: 4 1/3 innings, six runs, eight hits, one walk, nine strikeouts.
The Reds finally solved Woodruff in the fifth on Joey Votto’s three-run home run behind singles by Jose Peraza and Jesse Winker, trimming the margin to 7-3. It was Votto’s third hit of the day, the home run following a pair of singles.
That was it for the Reds, though, three runs in one inning, no runs in seven other innings and two runs in the ninth that made it interesting.
Nick Senzel’s single and Yasiel Puig doubled for a run and pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer singled to make it 7-5. Jose Peraza, the potential tying run, flied deep to left field to end it.
And the saddest news of all, the Pittsburgh Pirates pulled out an incredible 12-11 extra-innings win over San Diego and the Reds are back tied for last place with the Pirates in the National League Central.
After putting together a six-game winning streak, including wins in the first two games in Milwaukee, the Reds dropped two straight to split the series. After Monday off, they play a two-game series against Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and the Angels in Anaheim.