By Hal McCoy
The Cincinnati Reds said a not-so-fond farewell to the city of Milwaukee, the Brewers, Christian Yeliich, Freddy Peralta, Joey Payamps, Devin Williams and mascot Bernie Brewer.
For the 10th time in 13 games the Reds lost to the Milwaukee Brewers and for the fourth time they were shut out, 3-0, Wednesday afternoon in American Family Field..
That gave the Brewers two of three in the series and a 1 1/2 game lead over the Reds in the National League Central.
The last time the Reds saw Peralta on July 15, he held the Reds to no runs and one hit over six innings during a 3-0 Brewers victory.
He was even better Wednesday, He struck out the first five Reds he faced, tying a franchise record en route to 13 strikeouts. And he extended his scoreless streak against the Reds to 12 innings with six more shutout innings on four hits.
Before the frustration and futility ended, the Reds had struck out 18 times.
Cincinnati starter Ben Lively, minus the strikeouts, was as lively as Peralta for six innings, no runs on six hits.
Then came the seventh.
With one out, he gave up a single to Abraham Toro, playing his first game after a call-up from Triple-A.
On the next pitch, a hanging breaking pitch to Tyrone Taylor, a .153 hitter when the game began, the ball landed 417-feet into the left field seats for a 2-0 Brewers lead.
They added an unnecessary run in the eighth against Fernando Cruz on a four-pitch walk to rookie Sal Frelick and a run-scoring double Andruw Montesario.
After Peralta left, the Reds were equally helpless against relief pitchers Elvis Peguero, Joel Payamps and Williams. The strikeouts kept mounting until they reached 18.
Williams, the closer nearly all teams hate seeing, pitched the ninth and struck out two in a perfect inning. He has faced 27 Reds batters this season and the Reds are 0 for 27. He owns seven saves and a win over the Reds.
Cincinnati’s rookies took a beating. McLain struck out four times, Ellly De La Cruz struck out three times and Christian Encarnacion-Strand struck out twice. Will Benson fanned three times and Jonathan India struck out three times.
Cincinnati’s opportunities were few and far between. TJ Friedl surprised the Brewers leading off the fourth with a two-strike bunt single, his 10th bunt for a hit. But McLain took a called third strike and Jake Fraley rolled into a double play, leaving it at 0-0.
It was still 0-0 in the fifth when India led the inning with a double. Joey Votto grounded to second, moving India to third. Peralta struck out Encarnacion-Strand and Tyler Stephenson.
And it was still 0-0 in the sixth when Friedl doubled to right center with two outs and took third on a wild pitch. Peralta again turned to his lethal weapon, a strikeout of McLain.
Fraley opened the seventh against Peguero by reaching on seond baseman Brice Turang’s error, but he was cut down trying to steal. Votto singled with two outs for his second hit, but Encarnacion-Strand struck out.
De La Cruz, 4 for 47 with 27 strikeouts, singled with two outs in the eighth and Friedl grounded out.
Lively worked out of a few problems to keep it 0-0 until the seventh. He stranded a runner on third in the second inning, stranded a runner on third in the third inning and stranded a runner on second in the fifth inning.
But it got away in the seventh and the Reds made a quick getaway, bound for Los Angeles. After an off day Thursday, they open a three-game series Friday in against the Los Dangerous Dodgers.