CINCINNATI -- A five-run sixth inning and Elian Herrera's eighth-inning solo shot helped the Brewers overcome another shaky start from Matt Garza as they beat the Reds, 8-6, in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
Garza gave up five runs (four earned) over 4 2/3 innings in his what manager Craig Counsell said would be the slumping right-hander's final start of the season, but the Brewers' lineup finally pounced on Reds rookie John Lamb in the sixth inning, scoring five runs to take a 6-5 lead.
The Reds rallied in the seventh inning to tie the game, stringing three straight singles together against reliever Jeremy Jeffress. Herrera then greeted Cincinnati reliever J.J. Hoover with a first-pitch homer to right field in the eighth, leading the Brewers to their fifth straight win.
"I felt good about that going out there in the sixth," Lamb said, "then the wheels fell off."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Homer Herrera: Herrera had a home run taken away upon replay review in Thursday's win over the Pirates at Miller Park when the umpires ruled his deep drive caromed off the yellow stripe atop the left-field wall for a double. But on Saturday, Herrera hit a no-doubter. His approximately 407-foot homer found the right-field seats and gave Herrera six homers this season in 216 plate appearances. He entered the year with one home run in 362 career plate appearances.
"[Herrera] is getting better as a player," Counsell said. "I really think that. He's doing a nice job. He's played himself into an everyday role. He's earned it, and it's to his credit. He keeps producing."
Bases loaded, no outs … one run: The Reds managed to tie the game in the seventh, but they had a chance to do much more. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Todd Frazier each singled against Jeffress to lead off the inning, but Skip Schumaker then grounded into a run-scoring double play. Eugenio Suarez, 3-for-3 in his first three trips to the plate, popped out to end the threat. Votto and Phillips combined to go 6-for-7 with three walks, as Votto reached safely four times and Phillips tied his career high with four hits.
Garza gets little help: Twice, misplays on the Brewers' infield led to Reds runs. In the second inning, shortstop Jean Segura threw wildly on a potential inning-ending double play grounder, giving the Reds an unearned run and a 2-0 lead. And in the fifth, after Garza opened the inning with consecutive walks to Jay Bruce and Votto, second baseman Herrera bobbled a potential double-play grounder off Phillips' bat for an infield hit, extending the inning for two more Reds runs, both of which were earned.
Neither does Lamb: Lamb had a chance to get out of the sixth inning in line for his first Major League win. With two on and one out, Hernan Perez dropped a single in front of left fielder Schumaker. With two outs and runners on second and third, pinch-hitter Adam Lind, batting lefty against lefty, sent a fly ball to the warning track in center field, but Jason Bourgeois couldn't track it down. Instead, the ball went over his head and landed for a game-tying, two-run double. More >
"It was a big spot in the game. It was a really big spot in the game," Counsell said. "We had some momentum working, and [Lind was] our best choice right there. ... To me, there wasn't a bigger spot than that spot right there."
"Well, the good news is we get to go back out and play another one, go out and win a ballgame and feel good at the end of the night." -- Reds manager Bryan Price
GARZA, BREWERS AT ODDS
Garza was furious about the Brewers' decision to remove him from the rotation, despite surrendering 23 earned runs in 18 innings over his last four starts to push his ERA up to 5.63. The only two qualified starters in the Major Leagues with a higher ERA had been previously removed from their club's pitching rotations; Garza's teammate Kyle Lohse owns a 6.27 ERA, and Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie is at 5.73. More >
"It's not any way I pictured myself going through this year with all the stuff I do in the offseason, all the hard work," Garza said. "Just, to wear it the way I wanted to this year is really tough. But it's all on me. I'm the one that makes the pitches, and that's that."
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers:Jimmy Nelson will try to make it two straight quality starts when he pitches Sunday's series finale against the Reds, which starts at 12:10 p.m. CT. The right-hander's last outing was a bounce-back; Nelson worked seven one-run innings against the Pirates without issuing a walk, six days after he set a career high with eight free passes in a loss at Cleveland. He has allowed 10 earned runs in eight innings over two starts this season at Great American Ball Park.
Reds: Right-hander Michael Lorenzen will start for the Reds as they wrap up the three-game series against the Brewers at 1:10 p.m. ET. Lorenzen rejoined Cincinnati's rotation on Monday, and he allowed five runs on six hits over 4 2/3 innings against the Cubs.