By HAL McCOY
It was Groundhog Day in Miller Park Wednesday afternoon for the Cincinnati Reds, another 2-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
It was as if they took a videotape of Tuesday’s 2-0 loss and replayed it Wednesday.
—Just as he did Tuesday, Milwaukee first baseman Eric Thames hit a two-run home run to provide the game’s only runs.
—Just as they did Tuesday, the Reds managed only three hits, one of them by Joey Votto both days.
—Sal Romano pitched five innings Tuesday and gave up two runs and four hits. Tyler Mahle pitched five innings Wednesday and gave up two runs and seven hits.
—Just as they did Tuesday, the Reds had a runner on base in the ninth inning, but couldn’t score, pushing their scoreless innings streak to 18.
The Reds couldn’t score even when their first batter of the game, Jesse Winker doubled and moved on to third on center fielder Christian Yelich’s error.
Jose Peraza grounded to third and Winker held, Votto walked on four pitches, Adam Duvall grounded to the pitcher and Scooter Gennett grounded to second.
Cincinnati’s second hit came in the third, a leadoff single by Votto. With one out, first baseman Thames made an error, putting runners on third and first with one out. But Winker got caught in a rundown off third base on Tucker Barnhart’s grounder to the pitcher. Alex Blandino was walked intentionally to fill the bases and pitcher Mahle grounded hard to second.
The third and final hit was a two-out bunt single by Peraza, but Votto grounded to first.
The Reds mounted one final push in the seventh. They put two on with one out via a walk and an error, but Winker hit into a double play.
Mahle gave up a leadoff single in the third to No. 8 hitter, catcher Jeff Bandy, and Thames struck again, mashing his two-run home run, his 12th against the Reds in the last two seasons. It was the fifth home run given up by Mahle in a 12-inning span.
Mahle could only survive five innings because four walks piled up his pitch count to 94.
He did pitch he way out of a couple of jams.
After the Thames homer in the third, the Brewers had two runners on with two outs and Mahle retired Hernan Perez on a line drive to left. The Brewers had the bases loaded with two outs in the fourth and he struck out Christian Yelich.
Milwaukee starter Zach Davies came into the game with a 0-and-2 record and a 6.75 earned run average after winning 17 games last season.
But he held the Reds scoreless on three hits while walking two and striking out only two.
The Reds bullpen continues to shine as Austin Brice, Wandy Peralta and Jared Hughes all pitched a scoreless inning.
The Reds, now 3-and-15, take a day off before opening a three-game series Friday night in St. Louis after losing four straight to the Cardinals last week at Great American Ball Park.