CINCINNATI -- As the Reds' bullpen set a Major League record with 23 consecutive games with at least one run allowed, the relievers didn't hide from it, nor did they focus on it. However, they could hang their hats on how the dubious streak finally ended.
During Friday's 5-1 win over the Brewers, the bullpen wasn't handed a gimme, as it had to record 12 outs over four scoreless innings. One night earlier, when Alfredo Simon pitched 7 2/3 innings for the win, the final four outs came with two runs against J.J. Hoover.
"We mentioned it in the bullpen, but we weren't like, 'Oh man, we're at 22 games, we can't go 23 games!' Whatever. It happens," said Tony Cingrani, who notched his first career save with the final 1 2/3 scoreless innings. "We did play the best teams in baseball. It's going to happen."
Reds starter Tim Adleman completed five strong innings, but he was taken out after 101 pitches. To begin the bullpen's first scoreless night of work since April 10 vs. the Cubs, Caleb Cotham followed Adleman and allowed one single over scoreless sixth and seventh innings.
"Yeah, we're aware of it. It's not something -- I wouldn't say it drives us," Cotham said. "It's definitely on our mind, it's something we think about. We take pride in doing our job, and it just hasn't worked out the way we think we're capable of pitching. The results are what they are. All we can do is control how we go about it, our work every game."
Blake Wood took over to begin the eighth and gave up two singles in the three hitters he faced. Cingrani entered and got Colin Walsh to hit grounder to the hole at shortstop, where Zack Cozart made a nice play for the force at third base. After pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy walked to load the bases, pinch-hitter Hernan Perez represented the tying run.
Perez lifted a 1-0 pitch to short left field for the third out, and Cingrani escaped the jam.
"So we threw the slider, and it kind of got [Perez] off the heater to give him something different to look at," Cingrani said. "Then threw that fastball inside, and he just popped it up and ended the threat. It was a good play by Cozart, too."
In the ninth, Cingrani gave up Jonathan Villar's leadoff single, but he was able to use his deceptive move to pick him off of first base as Alex Presley batted.
"That's a nice weapon to have," Cingrani said. "If I didn't do that, I would have had to throw more pitches, and if [Ryan] Braun had hit a home run, it would have been a closer game. Getting that guy out was huge."
Cingrani got Presley and Braun to fly out to end the game and end the streak.
"Four innings, not giving up a run, holding the lead there, it's a win for us, and we'll take it. I think we threw the ball well," Cotham said. "We're just trying to do our job and get as many outs as we can until they take the ball from us. Baseball's a crazy game, and there's a lot of randomness in that type of streak. I don't think it's indicative of who we are and what we're capable of doing."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.