By Hal McCoy
The Milwaukee Brewers made a high-decibel statement Friday night in American Family Field.
They aren’t going away and they won’t let the Cincinnati Reds creep away from them in the National League Central standings.
The Brew Crew, wearing their powder blue City Connect uniforms, bludgeoned 14 hits, seven for extra bases, all of them loud and long, en route to a 7-3 victory.
The Reds? Four hits, two by Joey Votto
That ended Cincinnati’s five-game winning streak and cut their first-place lead to one game.
And they weren’t intimidated by Reds rookie pitcher Andrew Abbott, even though Abbott stuffed them on no runs and one hit in six innings during Abbott’s MLB debut in early June.
The Brewers lowered the boom early with back-to-back-to back doubles in the first inning by William Contreras, Willy Adames and Owen Miller, all putting dents in the outfield wall.
In his first six starts, hitters were 0 for 14 with runners in scoring position, but the Brewers beat him twice in the first inning.
That made it 2-0 and it expanded to 4-0 in the second when Abbott issued a walk and number nine hitter Joey Wiemer, a University of Cincinnati product cracked a two-run homer.
After starting his career 4-0, and the Reds won his first six starts, Abbott was hit with his first defeat.
Meanwhile, for four innings the Reds were helpless against former Cy Young award-winning Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes.
He was perfect for three innings, nine up and nine down. He walked TJ Friedl to open the fourth and Matt McLain forced him at second.
Burnes made two unsuccessful pickoff throws. If Burnes made a third throw to first base and diidn’t pick off McLain, McLain would be awarded second base. Burnes threw over and picked off McLain.
The Reds finally broke through for a hit in the fifth, a leadoff broken-bat bloop to left field by Elly Fitzgerald. Joey Votto stepped to the plate and his hit did not break his bat, nor was it a bloop. He blasted a 417-foot home run over the right-center wall. Since his 0 for 21 slide, Votto was 6 for 11 with three homers.
And it was the 21st straight game in which the Reds have hit a home run, tying the club record set by the 1956 team.
More importantly, it put the Reds back in the game, trailing 4-2.
When the Brewers batted in the bottom of the inning, Abbott issued his only walk and Adames followed it with a home run and it was 6-2.
So after giving up only five runs in his first six starts, Abbott gave up six runs and nine hits, six for extra bases that included the two home runs.
Milwaukee added its seventh run in the seventh when Fernando Cruz and Alex Young issued three walks. The first walk, issued by Cruz, scored on a single by Victor Caratini.
The Reds made some noisy in the ninth when relief pitcher Tyson Miller walked two and Votto lined a run-scoring single.
With one out, that forced Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell to bring in closer Devin Williams with runners on third and second.
Williams struck out Spencer Steer with a 1-and-2 change-up. He walked Tyler Stephenson on a full count to load the bases.
Reds manager David Bell sent Nick Senzel to pinch-hit for Luke Maile. Senzel hit a two-run homer Thursday in the 10th innining to beat the Washington Nationals, 5-4.
Senzel struck out on a 1-and-2 change-up. to end it.
On June 2, the Reds were in third place, three games behind the Brewers with a 26-30 record. They lost three of four in GABP to fall 5 1/2 games back. Since then, they were 22-6 before Friday night.
But they’ve lost four of five this season to the Brewers with two more games in Milwaukee Saturday and Sunday. After the All-Star break, Milwaukee visits Cincinnati for three more games.