McCoy: Like Nancy Sinatra, Cubs Walk All Over the Reds, 5-3

By Hal McCoy
Contributing Writer

Ely De La Cruz bashed the first pitch of Thursday night’s game 424 feet into Wrigley Field’s left field seats and it looked as if the Cincinnati Reds were ready to make a statement.

It was wasted effort as the Chicago Cubs posted a 5-3 win, knocking the Reds out of first place.

The Milwaukee Brewers annihilated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 14-1, to take a half-game lead over the Reds in the National League Central.

And the Cubs, winner of the last three of the four-game series and 11 of their last 13, are two games behind the Reds.

After the Reds won the first game, 6-5, the Cubs won the final three by 20-9, 16-6 and 5-3. The 46 runs scored by the Cubs tied their franchise record for four games, set in 1961.

The game turned in the third inning, probably the ugliest half-inning of the season for the Reds. Like Nancy Sinatra, the Cubs walked all over the Reds.

The Cubs tied it, 1-1, in the bottom of the first on back-to-back doubles by Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ off Reds starter Luke Weaver.

Then came a most bizarre inning imaginable. The Cubs batted around, but they didn’t really bat around, they walked around.

Nine batters came to the plate, but only one hit safely. Weaver walked four, including two with the bases loaded to force in two runs.

And the inning started out just fine for Weaver. He retired the first two and he struck out the third hitter, which should have ended the inning.

But the ball was in the dirt on Hoerner’s strike-three swing and eluded catcher Luke Maile, enabling Hoerner to sprint to first base.

Weaver then walked Ian Happ. Cody Bellinger singled for a run, the only hit of the inning, giving the Cubs a 2-1 lead.

Weaver then walked Dansby Swanson to fill the bases and walked Christopher Morel on a full count (3-1) and walked Jeimer Candelario on a full count (4-1),

Plate umpire Derek Thomas called a tight strike zone all night, for both sides, and anything just off the plate was a ball.

Reds manager David Bell didn’t agree. When Thomas called ball four on Candelario, Bell sprinted from the dugout and was immediately ejected, but made certain Thomas could smell his breath in a face-to-face encounter.

The Reds left the bases loaded in the second when TJ Friedl grounded to short.

They got their leadoff hitter on base in the thlrd when Matt McLain singled and stole second, but the next three Reds made outs and McLain never vacated second base.

They scored in the fourth on Christian Encarnacion’s single and a single by Will Benson that sent CES to third. He scored, but it was on a double play hit into by Maile.

Spencer Steer led the sixth with a double, knocking out Cubs starter Jameson Taillon, but relief pitcher Mark Leiter Jr., struck out Joey Votto on three pitches, hit Encarnacion-Strand with a pitch, putting two runnerson, then struck out Benson on three pitches and ended the inning on a ground ball from Maile.

It stayed stayed 4-2 until Spencer Steer homered, his 17th, in the eighth inning, drawing the Reds to within one, 4-3.

But the Cubs, dormant since the walk-a-thon in the third, added a run in the bottom of the eighth against Fernando Cruz on leadoff hitter Swanson’s double, Candelario’s single and a sacrifice fly by Yan Gomes.

The Reds had only two hits over the last five innings against the Chicago bullpen and they struck out 14 times. They struck out nine times over the final four innings and Julian Merryweather struck out the side in the seventh.

The Reds were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven.

McCoy: Cubs Pound Reds Again, This Time By 16-6

By Hal McCoy
Contributing Writer

It is time for the Cincinnati Reds to put the Milwaukee Brewers in the rear-view mirror and focus their attention on the onrushing Chicago Cubs.

While the slumping Brewers lost again to the Washington Nationals, the Cubs once again flexed their muscles against the Reds Wednesday night in Wrigley Field.

The Reds led 3-0 and 5-2, then the Cubs assaulted the Cincinnati bullpen, scoring 14 runs with relief pitchers on the mound.

The result was a debilitating 16-6 defeat. Not only did the relief pitching crumble, the defense imploded with four errors, three by third baseman Nick Senzel.

While the Reds maintained their half-game lead over the Brewers, the Cubs are only three games behind after their 12th win in 15 games.

The Cubs obliterated the Reds, 20-9, Tuesday, but the Reds were never in it, just one of those games. And it was the first time a Cubs team scored 16 or more runs in back-to-back games since 1894.

But Wednesday loss was as disheartening to the Reds as any game this season.

The Cubs started left-hander Drew Smyly, who had a fast start this season but slumped in July and was relegated to the bulllpen.

He was making his first start in more than two weeks and the Reds took quick advantage.

Spencer Steer hit a two-out, two-strike home run in the first for a 2-0 Reds lead.

And every time Joey Votto seems lost at the plate, he emerges with a vengeance. He was 1 for 13 for his career against Smyly, but he cranked two home runs against him.

The first came in the second for the 3-0 lead.

The Cubs cut it to 3-2 in the third when Reds starter Brandon Williamson gave up a two-out, two-run home run to Christopher Morel.

Votto struck again in the fourth, a two-run home run, giving him 11 in the 34 games he has played. And that gave the Reds a 5-2 lead.

Williamson stilll had the 5-2 lead in the fifth. But he walked Jeimer Candelario and gave up a one-out single to Nico Hoerner.

Manager David Bell made what might be his most fatal decision of the season when he removed Williamson.

The Cubs scored one in the fourth and then came a deluge of Chiago runs.

They batted around in the sixth and in the seventh, scoring five in the sixth and four in the seventh.

For the second straight night Reds catcher Luke Maile mopped up on the mound and he gave up a pair of home runs to Ian Happ, his second of the game, and Seiya Suzuki.

After hitting seven home runs Tuesday, the Cubs hit five Wednesday.

Every Reds relief pitcher who appeared had his earned run average fluffed up.

Buck Farmer gave up two runs, two hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. Lucas Sims gave up three runs, three hits and a walk. Alex Young gave up four runs (two earned), four hits and two walks. And Maile gave up two runs and three hits (two homers).

For the Cubs it was hit, hit, hit and hit some more.

For the second straight game, Jeimer Candelario had four hits while playing his second game for the Cubs after he was traded by the Washington Nationals. And he scored four runs.

Morel, Happ and Suzuki contributed two each to Chicago’s 16-hit attack. And the home runs were hit by Happ (2), Morel, Dansby Swanson (his fourth in the first three games of the series) and Suzuki.




McCoy: Bengals, er, Reds Lose a 20-9 Non-Thriller to the Cubs

By Hal McCoy
Contributing Writer

Cincinnati Reds General Manager Nick Krall spent 9 1/2 hours on the telephone Tuesday morning and afternoon, trying to make a deal before the trade deadline.

No deals.

“We’re good, we’ve got it, we can do it,” said Joey Votto in a pre-game interview with Bally Sports Ohio after the Reds stood pat.

But on the Wrigley Field playing surface Tuesday night the Reds didn’t have it and they got it put to them by the Chicago Cubs, 20-9, under a barrage of seven home runs. And the wind was not blowing out.

It was the most runs scored on the Reds this season and the previous high was 17. And it was the most runs scored by a Cubs team against a Reds team since 1927.

The loss was costly on two front. Milwaukee beat Washington and moved to within a half-game of the first-place Reds. And the third-place Cubs climbed back to within four games of the Reds.

The surging Cubs have won 9 of 11 while the Reds have won 9 of 12.

The Cubs hit a home run off Reds starter Ben Lively in each of the first four innings as they scored five, two, three and three in those four innings.

For Lively, it was not a night, it was a nightmare that he needs to wipe from his memory bank as quckly as possible.

In four innings he gave up 13 runs on 13 hits. That included a three-run home run in the first by Dansby Swanson, a two-run home run by Cody Bellinger in the second, a three-run home run by Mike Tauchman in the third and a two-run home run by Dansby, his second of the game, in the fourth.

A Reds pitcher hadn’t given up 13 runs since Charlie ‘King’ Lear did it in 1915, according to Elias Sports Bureau. But the ‘King’ did it in eight innings. Lively did it in four.

It started inauspiciously for the Reds in the first when Chicago’s Justin Steele (12-3) struck out Elly De La Cruz on three pitches, retired Nick Senzel on a first-pitch pop-up and ended the inning on a Matt McLain fifth-pitch pop-up.

Then the Cubs came to bat and the first six reached base in a raucous inning.

Tauchman led with a single. Nico Hoerner singled off second baseman Kevin Newman’s glove, sending Tauchman to third. Hoerner stole second and Tauchman scored when catcher Tyler Stephenson’s throw was high, wide and ugly into center field and Hoerner took third.

Ian Happ walked and Bellinger singled for the second run. Dansby then unloaded his three-run home run and it was 5-0.

The Reds retrieved two runs in the second that began with Spencer Steer’s double. He took third on a wild pitch an scored on a wild pitch. Tyler Stephenson singled, his sixth hit in eight at bats against Steele.

Stephenson took second on Steele’s third wild pitch of the inning and scored on first baseman Jeimer Candelario, playing his first game for the Cubs after arriving in a trade with the Washington Nationals.

Stephenson later hit a two-run home run off Steele and was 7 for 10 at the time against the Cubs’ left-hander.

That cut the lead to 5-2, but the Cubs rampaged in the second, third and fourth.

GM Krall did make one deal the day before the deadline when he acquired left-handed relief pitcher Sam Moll from the Oakland A’s.

Moll made his Cincinnati debut in the sixth and pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up no runs, one hit and struck out three.

Fernando Cruz replaced Moll with one out in the seventh and Hoerner launched the Cubs’ fifth home run into the left-center bleachers. When Cruz gave up a double off the vines to Happ, Reds manager David Bell waved the white surrender flag.

He brought in catcher Luke Maile to pitch. . .in the seventh inning. And, of course, Wisdom drilled Maile’s third pitch over the center field wall, a two-run homer that made it 16-5.

And Maile gave up four runs in the eight, including the seventh Cubs homer and the second straight by a pinch-hitter, a two-run shot by Miguel Amaya.

When it finally came to a close, newly-acquired Candelario had four hits. Leadoff hitter Tauchman was on base his first four at bats, scored three and drove in three. Swanson drove in five runs with his two homers. Bellinger had three hits, drove in three and scored three.

“We started making calls and sending texts at 8:30 this morning,,” said Krall of his long day on his phone. “We had a bunch of conversations, about 100 calls and 200 texts. Nothing worked out. Nothing made sense for what we’re trying to do.”


McCoy: Reds Hold Off Cubs, 6-5, Increase NLC Lead to 1 1/2 Games

By Hal McCoy
Contributing Writer

On a rare night when Andrew Abbott was off his game, the ever-efficient Cincinnati Reds bullpen came to his rescue Monday night in Wrigley Field.

Abbott lasted only three innings and gave up four runs, but the Reds scored six in the first three innings off Marcus Stroman and made them stand up for a 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs, the Reds’ 24th one-run win against 21 losses.

It was a productive victory because the Milwaukee Brewers lost again, this time by 5-3 to the Washington Nationals, and the Reds increased their lead in the National League Central to 1 1/2 games.

And it put a temporary halt on Chicago’s encroachment on the Reds. By winning eight of their previous nine game, the Cubs had crept to within four games of the Reds, but dropped to five behind.

The Reds bullpen brigade was in full bloom as Buck Farmer, Fernando Cruz, Alex Young, Lucas Sims, Ian Gibaut and Alex Diaz held the Cubs to one run over the last six innings.

There were, though, some shaky moments.
With the Reds up, 6-4, Lucas Sims put the first two Cubs on base in the seventh by hitting Nick Madrigal with his first pitch and walking Nico Hoerner on a full count.

He found the escape hatch by striking out Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ and getting a pop-up from Cody Bellinger, who was hitting .406 in July.

Ian Gibaut put himself and the Reds in the danger zone in the eighth when he gave up a one-out double to Yan Gomes and a double to Christopher Morel that cut Cincinnati’s lead to 6-5.

And the Cubs had the tying run on second with one out. Gibaut struck out Mike Tauchman and induced a weak grounder to first from Madrigal.

All that was left was for closer Alexis Diaz to do his thing and he did it for the 32nd time in quick fashion. Facing the top of the order, he struck out Hoerner, got a fly ball from Suzuki and a game-ending ground ball from Happ for the save.

A season ago, Diaz’s brother, Edwin, was a sensation in New York with 32 saves for the Mets. Alexis had 32 in 33 opportunities with two months left in the season.

Stroman started the season 9-4 with a 2.28 earned run average but has since fallen on tough times — 1-3 with an 8.00 ERA since then entering Monday’s game.

And he lived up to his recent doldrums. He retired the first five Reds. He had two outs and nobody on in the second.

Then the Reds went to work with four straight hits that plated three runs.

Suddenly resurgent Joey Votto started it with a single and hustled to third on Christian Encarnacion-Strand’s single.

Will Benson doubled for a run and Luke Maile doubled for two more, giving Abbott a 3-0 lead.

Abbott gave up a leadoff home run in the second to Dansby Swanson, then struck out the side.

The Reds scored three more in the third off Stroman. TJ Friedl walked and moved to second on Matt McLain’s grounder. Jake Fraley singled, scoring Friedl.

Fraley, the team leader wirth 63 RBI, stole second to take the team leadership in thefts with 19. Stroman walked Spencer Steer on a full count. Votto singled for a run and the Reds sixth run scored on Encarnacion-Strqnd’s ground ball.

That gave Abbott a 6-1 lead, but he walked number nine hitter Madrigal to open the third and it led to three runs.

Hoerner doubled, sending Madrigal to third. Two straight sacrifice flies scored Madrigal and Hoerner and Bellinger doubled into the center field vines for another run, cutting the Red lead to 6-4.

Both Stroman and Abbott were done after three innings. Stroman gave up six runs, six hits and walked two. Abbott gave up four runs, five hits and walked three.

And the Reds needed that bullpen help because three Cubs relief pitchers held the Reds to no runs and two hits over the final six innings.

McCoy: Reds Ravage Dodgers, 9-0, Reclaim First Place

By Hal McCoy
Contributing Writer

The Cincinnati Reds came out swinging from the opening bell Sunday afternoon in Dodger Stadium and they connected with regularity and intensity en route to a 9-0 demoltion of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

They scored seven runs and hit three home runs in the first three innings in front of a stunned and booing crowd of 45,936.

By winning two of three in Chavez Ravine, the Reds claimed the season’s series against the Natinal League West’s first place team four games to two.

The Reds reclaimed first place in the National League Central by a half-game over the Milwaukee Brewers. The Atlanta Braves swept three games from the Brewers, assaulting Milwaukee pitching in the three games with 29 runs, 41 hits and 11 lhome runs.

While the Reds went 3-10 against the Brewers this season, they are 55-39 against all other teams. And after a 7-15 start to the season, they are 51-34, scrambling from last place to first.

The Reds put together a 14 hit assault on the Dodgers, featuring four hits by Elly De La Cruz that included a home run. Jake Fraley contributed three hits. Matt McLain and Joey Votto each homered and Votto also doubled and drove in three runs.

The beneficiary of the offensive eruption was Reds starter Graham Ashcraft (6-7). When the Reds scored three in the first and three in the third, Ashcraftr breezed for six innings — no runs, five hits, no walks, five strikeouts.

Derek Law with two perfect innings and three strikeouts, and Daniel Duarte with a runless ninth, completed the Reds11th shutout this season.

Michael Grove, the third straight rookie to start against the Reds for the Dodgers, was in shock after throwing his first four pitches.

De La Cruz singled on the game’s first pitch. TJ Friedl doubled on Grove’s third pitch, scoring De La Cruz. McLain was hit by Grove’s fourth pitch.

Spencer Steer grounded out, scoring Friedl and Fraley singled for a 3-0 lead.

And the Reds poured it on. By the end of the third, Cincinnati’s top four hitters in the lineup were 6 for 8 with five runs and two home runs.

Grove faced 18 batter and nine reached base in the first three innings, but LA manager Dave Roberts, not wanting to ravage his bullpen in a 7-0 game, kept Grove working.

De La Cruz led the second with a 411-foot home run that plunged deep into the right field seats. They added three more in the third on a pair of home runs.

McLain led with his 11th home run. Fraley recorded an infield hit and stole second. Joey Votto, 5 for 50 after striking out in the first and screaming an epithet, plastered a home run into the Reds bullpen in right field, only his second home run in 51 at bats.

And he nearly added a second home run in the fifth, but LA center fielder James Outman went above the wall to bring it back.

Grove was still on the mound in the sixth when Will Benson doubled and scored on Friedl’s two-out double to make it 8-0.

Amazingly, while he had given up eight runs and 10 hits in six innings, Grove struck out 10. Roberts finally mercifully excused him after the sixth.

And what is always the ultimate embarrassment, the Dodgers used infielder Miguel Rojas to pitch the ninth inning. He gave up a single to Kevin Newman and a run-scoring double to Votto to make it 9-0.

The Dodgers, losers in five of their last seven, were without Mookie Betts. And J.D. Martinez and Will Smith left the game early with injuries.

And the Reds placed Jonathan India on the 10-dayl injured list with plantar faciitis, meaning he probably is safe from being traded before Tuesday’s trade deadline.

The Reds open a four-game seriees in Wrigley Field Monday night against the Chicago Cubs, who had won eight straight before losing Sunday to the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-0.


McCoy: Reds hold LA to Two Hits But Lose 3-2 On Two Muncy HRs

By Hal McCoy
Contributing Writer

The Cincinnati Reds good fortune with pitcher Luke Weaver ran out Saturday night in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in front of 51,015 in raucous Dodger Stadium.

In Weaver’s previous 10 starts he pitched to a hideous 8.79 earned run average, but the Reds were 9-1 in those games.

The irony was that Weaver pitched his best game of the season, two hits over six innings.

But while eight Dodgers in the lineup went 0-for-24, Max Muncy hit two home runs, LA’s only hits of the game.

The Reds muffed a chance to claim first place in the National League Central when Milwaukee was mauled in Atlanta, 11-5, so they remain a half-game behind the Brewers.

The Dodgers scored two unearned runs off Weaver in the first. Reds third baseman Spencer Steer booted leadoff hitter David Peralta’s grounder for an error.

Weaver retired the next two before Muncy pulled one into the right field seats for a 2-0 lead.

The Reds were facing rookie Emmet Sheehan, owner of a 6.75 earned run average and a penchant for throwing pitches hither and yon.

But the Reds helped him out by consistently swinging at pitches high, wide, low, inside, mostly out of the strike zone.

The 23-year-old right-hander who was pitching in Class A ball last season, is one of several LA rookies rushed to the big leagues due to the Dodgers’ injury ravaged starting rotation.

He held the Reds to no runs and two hits over five innings. He averages nearly five walks per nine inning, but walked one and struck out five.

The Reds had two on with two outs in the second but Nick Senzel flied to center on the first pitch. Catcher Luke Maile led the third with a double over the center fielder’s head, but Elly De La Cruz flied out, TJ. Friedl flied out and Matt McLain struck out.

Those were the Reds’ only opportunities against Sheehan, but LA manager Dave Roberts took him down after five innings and only 82 pitches.

And the Reds jumped on relief pitcher Caleb Ferguson, a Columbus native, for two runs in the sixth to tie it, 2-2.

De La Cruz opened with a double and moved to third on Friedl’s infield hit.Pinch-hitter Kevin Newman, batting for the first time since July 9, lofted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring De La Cruz and sending Friedl to second. Steer’s two-out single scored Friedl to make it 2-2.

Joey Votto walked and Christian Encarnacion-Strand walked to fill the bases. Relief pitcher Joe Kelly, making his first appearance after being acquired in a trade this week with the Chicago White Sox, caught pinch-hitter Will Benson looking at strike three, leaving the bases loaded.

So it was 2-2. . .briefly.

Weaver retired the first two in the sixth. He fell behind Muncy 3-and-0 and Muncy ambushed the cripple pitch for a home run inside the right field foul pole for the eventual game-winner.

Pinch-hitter Tyler Stephenson singled with two outs in the ninth, the potential tying run, but Dodger closer Evan Phillips induced a weak game-ending fly ball to left from De La Cruz.

The Reds continue to hang on and win games despite several players struggling at the plate. Joey Votto is 5 for 49, De La Cruz is 10 for 58, Friedl is 2 for 20, Tyler Stephenson is 5 for 41 and Nick Senzel is 1 for 14.

It was Cincinnati’s 44th one-run game and they are 23-21, while the Dodgers are 11-12. But LA is 31-18 in Dodger Stadium while the Reds fell to 29-20 on the road.

The Reds lead the season series three gsmes to two, but have split the first two games in Dodger Stadium with the third game scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

McCoy: Reds Strike out 18 Times In Another Loss to Brewers

By Hal McCoy
Contributing Writer

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.

McCoy: Reds Hold Off Brewers’ 9th-Inning Uprising For 4-3 win.

By Hal McCoy
Contributing Writer

The Cincinnati Reds have searched and searched and searched for a way to beat the Milwaukee Brewers.

And they found a way Tuesday night in American Family Field and it earned them a breath-holding 4-3 victory, only their third win in 12 games against the Brewers.

But as has been the custom in nearly every Reds-Brewers game, it hung in the balance until the last at bat.

When Will Benson crushed a two-run home run in the top of the ninth, the Reds breathed easier because it gave them a comfortable 4-0 lead. . .they thought it was comfortable.

Benson’s home run turned out to be a game-winner because Christian Yeliich hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. And the Brewers had the tying and winning runs on base.

Asked to protect that 4-0 lead, recently recalled relief pitcher Daniel Duarte retired the first two, one out away from a shutout victory.

Then he walked number eight hitter Sal Frelick. Number nine hitter Blake Perkins nubbed an infield hit up the third-base line.

Yelich unloaded his three-run home run, his third hit, over the left field wall and it was 4-3. Yelich nearly missed a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh, but left fielder Spencer Steer chased it down on the warning track.

Yelich’s home run forced manager David Bell to go to closer Alexis Diaz. It looked as if the game was over when William Contreras grounded to third and Elly De La Cruz and umpire Adrian Johnson called Contreras out.

Game over? Nope. Replay/Review ruled him safe. Game resumes.

Pinch-runner Tyrone Taylor stole second, putting the tying run on second. Diaz then hit Willy Adames in the head with a 3-and-2 pitch. Adames had struck out five times in his first six at bats of the series.

It ended. . .for sure, when Diaz coaxed a shallow fly ball to center from Andruw Monasterio, Diaz’s 30th save, albeit a shaky one.

For eight innings, it appeared the Reds would tag a shutout on the Brewers, something Milwaukee has done to them three times this season.

Andew Abbott, Ian Gibaut and Lucas Sims combined to help the Reds end a five-game losing streak to the Brewers and scramble to within a half-game of first place Milwaukee.

Abbott was sensational, and he had to be. He pitched six scoreless innings, extending his scoreless streak to 16 straight innings. He gave up no runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out nine.

He has faced the Brewers four times in his first 10 major league starts and is 2-2. He is 4-0 with a 1.14 earned run average in his other six starts.

The rookie left-hander kept the Brewers guessing by mixing up his full repertoire, keeping them off balance with early in the count breaking pitches and finishing them with high fastballs.
It was a difficult task for the Reds. They were facing Corbin Burnes, who brought a personal four straight wins into the game, including a game on July 15 when he pitched a six scoreless, two-hit, 13 strikeout game in a 1-0 win over the Reds.

The Reds took advantage of one Burnes lapse. Entering the fourth inning of a 0-0 game, the Reds had one base-runner, an infield hit by Matt McLain with two outs in the first.

But Burnes opened the fourth by hitting TJ Friedl with a pitch and he issued his only walk of the game, a free pass to McLain. Both scored.

Jonathan India pulled an infield hit that ricocheted into foul territory off third baseman Andruw Monasterio’s glove and Friedl scored from second.

Joey Votto, 0 for 19 and 2 for 37, blooped a single to center and McLain scored for a 2-0 lead.

Burnes pitched six innings and gave up two runs on three dubious hits, two of the infield variety and Votto’s blooper that parachuted into center field.

Benson’s big blast, the decisive blow, came off Milwaukee relief pitcher Bryce Wilson.

The Brewers were 2 for 16 with runners in scoring postion during their 3-2 win Monday night. And on Tuesday, they stranded runners in all nine innings.

The one-run decision was the fifth in the 12 games and the Brewers had won the first four, 5-4, 1-0, 1-0 and 3-2.

The Reds and Brewers conclude the series Wednesday afternoon, the last game of the season between the two National League Central contenders.

McCoy: Brewers Walk Off The Reds In The Ninth, 3-2

By Hal McCoy
Contributing Writer

The Milwaukee Mystique continues to flummox the Cincinnati Reds.

For the ninth time in 11 games this season, the Brewers found a way and that way enabled them to score a walk-off 3-2 win Monday night in American Family Field, ending Cincinnati’s five-game winning streak.

It ended in the bottom of the ninth when Christian Yelich rolled a game-ending single to right field against Reds closer Alexis Diaz.

Diaz is a close the door and lock it guy in save situations, but historically is not good in tie games. And he retired nobody in the ninth as the Brewers extended their lead over the Reds to 1 1/2 games in the National League Central.

Diaz was asked to protect a 2-2 tie in the ninth. He walked the first batter, Bruce Perkins, on four pitches. Former Reds teammate Jesse Winker pulled a pinch-hit single to right, putting runners on second and first.

When Yelich came to the plate, the Brewers were an incredible 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position.

They put their leadoff batter on base four times before the ninth inning and scored only once. Four times they had a runner on third with less than two outs and didn’t score. They had runners on base in all nine innings.

Yelich ended the 1 for 15 RISP dilemma with his game-ending single.

Meanwhile, the Reds couldn’t beg borrow or steal a run other than what Elly De La Cruz produced.

De La Cruz led the game with a deep drive to center field that had all the symptoms of a home run. But center fielder and University of Cincinnati product Joey Wiemer vaulted high against the wall and brought it back.

When De La Cruz came to bat his next time, the Brewers scoreboard flashed the message: “De La Cruz ALMOST hit a home run his first at bat.”

The Brewers led at the time, 1-0, in the third. Tyler Stephenson, 3 for 31, led the third with an infield single.

De La Cruz then unleashed his high-octane swing and nearly left the building. The 456-foot home run cleared an SUV perched on a pedestal high in the right-center stands.

And the Reds led, 2-1.

The Brewers scored the first run when Reds starter Graham Ashcraft walked leadoff hitter Yelich on a full count. He stole second and scored on William Contreras’ single.

Ashcraft pitched as if he had a rabbit’s foot in each back pocked and a stack of four-leaf clovers stuffed in his glove.

The first two Brewers reached in the second. They didn’t score.

The first two Brewers reached in the third, but the Reds turned a difficult double play — a strikeout that ended in a rundown and Contreras thrown out at home trying to score. They didn’t score.

They put a runner on third with one out in the fourth. They didn’t score.

They put a runner on in the fifth but the Reds turned another double play. They didn’t score.

It ended in the sixth when the Brewers didn’t put their leadoff man on base. With one out, rookie Sal Frelick, who made his major league debut less than a week ago, pulled a 1-and-2 Ashcraft pitch into the right field seats. His first major league home run tied it, 2-2.

The Reds? After De La Cruz’s third-inning home run, only four runners reaced base over the last six innings and none touched third base.

Their best opportunity surfaced in the sixth when with one out Matt McLain walked and Jake Fraley singled. But Spencer Steer hit into an inning-ending double play.

Milwaukee closer Devin Williams pitched the ninth. In Milwaukee’s first eight wins over the Reds, he had six saves and the 
Reds had zero hits.

Williams didn’t get a save this time. He got the win with a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out Steer and Joey Votto, who is now 2-for-36.

It was the fifth time the Brewers beat the Reds by one run. Milwaukee is 20-8 in one-run games and the Reds are 21-20. And the Brewers are 21-9 versus the National League Central to Cincinnati’s 12-18, nine of those defeats handed to them by Milwaukee.