Reds fall, but Corcino impressive in first career start

Filling in for injured Latos, righty limits Crew to two runs in six innings

Reds fall, but Corcino impressive in first career start

MILWAUKEE -- Back at the All-Star break when the Brewers were riding high in first place and the Reds sat just 1 1/2 games out in the National League Central, a September showdown between the teams had the makings of a classic pennant-chase battle.

Fast forward to Friday night at Miller Park -- the fading Brewers are just trying to hang on for a NL Wild Card spot. The Reds are reduced to trying to play spoiler and getting a look at what some young players can do. While they dropped a 3-2 decision on a bases-loaded single by Lyle Overbay in the ninth inning, eyes were opened about starting pitching prospect Daniel Corcino.

In his first big league start, and third game in the Majors, Corcino was tasked with replacing the injured Mat Latos. Corcino, who spent most of this season at Double-A Pensacola, did a nice job as he went six innings and allowed two earned runs, two hits and one walk with four strikeouts in a no-decision.

"We didn't know what to expect," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He impressed me a great deal. No. 1, he threw the ball over the plate consistently. And No. 2, he competed extremely well. He was able to throw his breaking ball and changeup for strikes behind in the count. He's a little bit more polished than I anticipated seeing and he handled that situation very, very well."

Two batters into the game against Kyle Lohse, Kristopher Negron gave the Reds a 1-0 lead with a homer to center field. It held for a while as Corcino retired his first nine batters.

In the Milwaukee fourth, Carlos Gomez struck out and went to first base on a wild pitch and catcher Brayan Pena's errant throw on the play put Gomez on second base. Jonathan Lucroy hit a one-out RBI single to right field and after another wild pitch, Lucroy scored on Ryan Braun's RBI single.

Corcino did not allow another hit and retired seven of his last eight batters.

"I just tried to make a first-pitch strike and good things happened," said Corcino, who also singled in his first Major League at-bat.

There were no nerves about a first start to shake for the 24-year-old Corcino, who made his big league debut out of the bullpen Aug. 26. He was informed he might get the ball Friday when Latos was diagnosed with a bone bruise in his right elbow.

"As soon as I got to the mound, I forgot about everything," Corcino said. "You've got to the do the job. I never was nervous."

"He was gaining confidence every time he went out there," Pena said. "Every inning, he was trusting his stuff more and more. I was very encouraged to see a guy like that coming up in such a big stage and pitched a great baseball game like he did."

Against Jumbo Diaz in the bottom of the ninth of a 2-2 game, Lucroy hit a drive to left-center field for a double. With one out and Lucroy on third, Price elected to intentionally walk Braun and Gerardo Parra and load the bases.

Overbay roped Diaz's first pitch to left-center field for a walk-off single. It was the Major League-most 36th one-run loss for the Reds.

"Overbay is an accomplished, seasoned hitter as well," Price said about passing on Braun and Parra. "But we had to pick our poison there. I thought we had a better chance there. He doesn't run as well as Parra. I was going for the double play there. He did his job. He got a good first pitch to hit out over the plate and he hit it hard."

Cincinnati (70-78) fell 11 games behind the first-place Cardinals and have an elimination number of four. Milwaukee (77-71) remains 1 1/2 games out of the second Wild Card spot and four behind the Cards.

Latos' turn to pitch comes up again Wednesday vs. the Cubs, but the ball could wind up in Corcino's hand.

"We don't have a ton of starting options on our roster," Price said. "Certainly with the way he threw the ball today, he deserves an opportunity to throw if Mat's not ready to go."

Corcino was eager for another chance.

"I have an opportunity," he said. "I've got to prepare for five days and be ready for the next start to do the same or better."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.