CINCINNATI -- With a three-run rally in the sixth, the Reds started the second half of their season by ending a three-game losing streak as they topped the Brewers 5-4 Friday night at Great American Ball Park.
Trailing 3-1, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce got the sixth started with a single and a walk. Adam Duvall drove a near-homer off the top of the left-field wall for an RBI double, which ended starter Matt Garza's night. Tucker Barnhart poked one through the left side of the infield in the next at-bat off Carlos Torres to give the Reds the 4-3 lead. A two-out double in the seventh from Bruce gave the Reds a key insurance run, giving them a two-run lead.
"There were so many good at-bats in that inning, to get to Tucker and to get to that opportunity with Joey leading off with the base hit and things going from there," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We just did some really good things today, offensively."
That was really the only blemish on Garza's night, with the other run allowed coming on heads-up baserunning from Billy Hamilton, who took two bases on a Duvall fielder's choice in the fourth. Garza was charged with four runs in 5 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and striking out three.
The Brewers had the lead early in the game, notching three singles in their first four at-bats off Anthony DeSclafani with catcher Jonathan Lucroy delivering the RBI hit. DeSclafani settled down after that, retiring 12 straight batters from the first into the fifth until the Brewers scored on a carom off the first base bag that allowed Ramon Flores to score. They added one more in the sixth on a Scooter Gennett homer.
DeSclafani pitched six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out eight, while Raisel Iglesias threw two shutout innings of relief. Tony Cingrani nearly blew the game, giving up one in the ninth, but he induced a Gennett popout with the bases loaded before yielding to Ross Ohlendorf, who induced another popout from Ryan Braun to end the game, handing the Brewers their third straight loss.
"We had it set up," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Just to get Ryan up that inning was a good result."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Soft hit, big results: After Duvall's double, Barnhart was set up nicely with two men in scoring position and one out. While he didn't make particularly hard contact against Torres, hitting it 65 mph off the bat, Barnhart found a hole between third and short and drove in two runs, giving the Reds their first lead of the game.
"I missed two pitches earlier in the at-bat to hit, and just kind of fought one off and found a hole," Barnhart said.
Good hop: … Or a bad hop, depending on your rooting interest. Tied at 1 in the fifth, the Brewers put a runner in scoring position when DeSclafani opted for a sure out at first base on Garza's sacrifice bunt, rather than throwing to second in an attempt to retire the lead runner. That decision mattered when the next batter, Jonathan Villar, hit a soft bouncer -- 55.8 mph off the bat, according to Statcast™ -- along the first base line. Votto couldn't get in front of the bag before the baseball hit it and took a big hop over his glove, giving Villar a fortuitous RBI single.
Speed thrills: Hamilton and Duvall combined to steal a critical run in the fourth, when Duvall was able to beat second baseman Gennett's relay throw on the Brewers' double play attempt. Gennett said afterward that Duvall surprised him with his time down the line, and he lamented trying for the double play at all. Hamilton's speed, meanwhile, was no surprise at all. He never broke stride and was able to score all the way from second base for a 1-1 tie, topping out at 22 mph, according to Statcast™.
"We talk about how do you defend it, how do you prepare for it," Counsell said. "He's the only guy in baseball who scores there, and even tries, probably. It's what his speed does." More >
Bruce robs one: With one out in the top of the fourth, Brewers first baseman Chris Carter drove a ball deep to right field. As right fielder Bruce got to the warning track, he jumped and managed to come down with the ball, his glove near the yellow strip atop the outfield wall. The ball, which traveled 346 feet, would've been extra bases -- if not a home run -- had Bruce not caught it.
"I made pitches, got the ball on the ground when I needed to. … There's always a guy on every staff that goes through this, every time. I'm built for this. I've gone through plenty, and it's not going to deter me from what I want to do. I'm going to keep grinding, keep going." -- Garza, on his tough-luck loss
"He just got hurt with Villar on a 3-1 fastball to start the game and a 3-1 fastball on Gennett, really, for the homer. Beyond that, I thought he really did a nice job of staying ahead. Milwaukee did a great job of going deeper in the count. They did not make a lot of early outs. We were making some early outs off Garza and he was around the plate and Anthony was also, but they didn't seem to be able to put the ball in play until later, and it got his pitch count up and really forced him to have to work for his outs tonight." -- Price on DeSclafani's performance
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the sixth, Duvall drove a ball deep to left field that hit near the yellow line on the top of the wall and then bounced back into play. Although the fireworks went off signaling a home run, umpires ruled the hit a double. After a crew chief review, the call on the field was confirmed. The double brought in a run, bringing the score to 3-2, and left two in scoring position with one out.
After an awkward swing in his at-bat in the sixth, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips exited the game for Jose Peraza. The team announced that Phillips left with a strained right calf and was day-to-day. Phillips was 1-for-3 with a strikeout. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers: Winless in his final seven starts of the first half, Jimmy Nelson will return from the All-Star break aiming for a better result when the Brewers and Reds meet Saturday beginning at 6:10 p.m. CT. Nelson is 0-4 with a 5.14 ERA in those seven games, but he has made two straight quality starts.
Reds: Lefty John Lamb looks to correct his recent rough stretch in his first start after the All-Star break in Saturday's 7:10 ET game against the Brewers. In his last six starts, Lamb has a 6.30 ERA after posting two straight starts of seven or more innings and one earned run to start the month of June.