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Brewers: Milwaukee hangs on to beat Cincinnati

September 27, 2017

MILWAUKEE — Domingo Santana and the Milwaukee Brewers had no illusions that the last-place Cincinnati Reds would just roll over and let them march to an NL wild card spot.

Santana’s three-run homer keyed a four-run first inning for the Brewers, who spent the rest of Tuesday night playing keep-away in a 7-6 win over the relentless Reds at Miller Park. Three times, the Reds pulled within a run. Three times, the Brewers held on — and held their ground in the chase for a postseason spot.

“You look at the way we won tonight,” catcher Stephen Vogt said. “It may not be pretty but it was a win. We have five games left and we want to win them all. There’s no tomorrow. There’s no yesterday. There’s just today.”

Scott Schebler hit a two-run home run for the Reds in the second inning and Zack Cozart and Jesse Winker hit two-out solo homers in the seventh and eighth as the Reds kept coming.

“It’s been a real challenge to beat them all year,” Santana said. “I’m glad we got that one.”

The Brewers have five games left and need help to reach the postseason. They remained 1½ games behind Colorado for the second NL wild card after the Rockies blanked Miami 6-0.

Milwaukee (83-74) moved within five games of the first-place Cubs in the NL Central when Chicago lost 8-7 at St. Louis. The Brewers need to win out and have the Cubs lose their last five to force a tiebreaker for the division title.

Santana’s homer and the first of Vogt’s career-high three doubles highlighted a two-out, four-run opening-inning rally against Reds rookie Deck McGuire, who pitched three innings in his first major league start.

The Brewers have outscored foes 110-67 in the first inning this season.

“It goes almost double when you have a young pitcher out there making his first big league start,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

“You don’t want him to get into his comfort zone. We didn’t let him get comfortable and breathe. That was a big key.”

The lead grew to 6-2 in the third, but with starter Zach Davies in a jam and fighting a bad head cold, Counsell opted to tap his bullpen with two on and nobody out in the fifth. Josh Hader was awarded the win in relief.

The Reds, who swept the Brewers in a three-game series in Cincinnati from Sept. 4-6, again proved pesky. After center fielder Keon Broxton’s diving grab to open the ninth — he needed to cover 71 feet in 4.1 seconds to make the four-star catch, according to Statcast — Cincinnati put the tying runner in scoring position against Brewers All-Star closer Corey Knebel. He struck out ex-teammate Scooter Gennett and retired Eugenio Suarez on a flyout for his 38th save.

“I feel like we battled the whole game. We just came up a little short,” Schebler said. “We had a good run there in the ninth inning to put up some runs. They’re a good team. We’re never just going to give in. Our at-bats kind of displayed that tonight.”

Schebler’s two-run homer cut the Brewers’ lead in half in the second, and they were threatening for more when the next batter, Adam Duvall, singled with nobody out.

Duvall tried to score from first base on Tucker Barnhart’s double to left-center field, and Brewers center fielder Brett Phillips relayed the ball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who fired a throw home that pulled catcher Vogt up the third-base line.

Vogt was able to catch the ball and apply a tag in one motion for the first out of the inning, and Davies retired the next two batters to end the threat with no further runs.

“I know it was the second inning, but it’s the play of the game,” Counsell said. “It squashes that inning, makes that inning kind of go away. If we don’t get an out there, they get a run and there’s a lot happening. … Stephen made a heck of a catch, really. To make the catch and hold on was a heck of a play.”“I don’t think he’s trying to make something happen,” Reds manager Bryan Price said of Hatcher. “He knows there’s nobody out there. Unfortunately as those plays develop, what looks like the guy will score easily sometimes turn into that situation where it’s, ‘Hey, this might be a close play.’ There’s no way he’s trying to force the issue there, even with the pitcher coming up.”

Trainer’s room

Brewers catcher Manny Pina was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game after injuring his left thumb on a play at the plate Thursday against the Cubs. It is uncertain if Pina will be able to return before the end of the regular season.

Reds right-hander Drew Storen had Tommy John surgery in Cincinnati. He is expected to miss the entire 2018 season.

Up next

Brewers right-hander Brandon Woodruff (2-2. 3.76) is slated to make his eighth career start and first against the Reds. He received a no-decision last time out on Sept. 22 after allowing four runs over five innings against the Cubs.

Reds right-hander Homer Bailey (5-9, 6.96 ERA) will start for the fourth time this season against the Brewers tonight. He has a 7.07 ERA in his previous three outings against Milwaukee but did allow just three runs over six innings in a 5-4 win on Sept. 4.

Cincinnati AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Hamilton cf 5 1 1 0 0 1 .250

Cozart ss 4 1 1 1 1 0 .302

Votto 1b 2 1 1 1 2 0 .318

Ervin pr 0 0 0 0 0 0 .265

Gennett 2b 5 0 1 0 0 2 .297

Suarez 3b 4 1 1 1 0 1 .261

Schebler rf 4 1 2 2 0 2 .235

Duvall lf 4 0 2 0 0 2 .246

Barnhart c 4 0 1 0 0 0 .269

McGuire p 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Peraza ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 .255

Kivlehan ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 .203

Winker ph 1 1 1 1 0 0 .286

Totals 36 6 11 6 3 9

Milwaukee AB R H BI BB SO Avg.

Thames 1b 4 1 2 0 1 1 .246

Walker 2b 3 1 0 0 2 1 .266

Braun lf 4 0 0 0 1 2 .273

Shaw 3b 5 1 1 0 0 1 .273

Santana rf 4 1 1 3 0 1 .276

Sogard 2b 0 0 0 0 0 0 .275

Vogt c 4 2 3 0 0 1 .233

Arcia ss 4 1 3 1 0 0 .274

Phillips cf 3 0 0 0 0 1 .261

Aguilar ph 0 0 0 0 1 0 .264

Broxton pr-cf 0 0 0 0 0 0 .222

Davies p 2 0 0 0 0 1 .125

Hader p 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000

Perez rf 0 0 0 1 0 0 .262

Totals 34 7 10 5 5 9

Cincinnati 020 010 210 — 6 11 1

Milwaukee 402 000 10x — 7 10 1

E — Gennett (8), Vogt (9). LOB — Cincinnati 8, Milwaukee 9. 2B — Barnhart (23), Thames (25), Vogt 3 (15). 3B — Hamilton (11). HR — Schebler (30), off Davies; Cozart (24), off Hader; Winker (7), off Swarzak; Santana (29), off McGuire. RBIs — Cozart (63), Votto (97), Suarez (82), Schebler 2 (65), Winker (14), Santana 3 (83), Arcia (50), Perez (51). SB — Ervin (4), Arcia (14), Broxton (21). SF — Votto, Perez.

DP — Milwaukee 1.

Cincinnati IP H R ER BB SO ERA

McGuire, L, 0-1 3 6 6 4 2 5 4.15

Hernandez 2 3 0 0 2 0 5.32

Farrell 1 0 0 0 0 1 6.17

Peralta 1 1 1 1 1 1 3.88

Lorenzen 1 0 0 0 0 2 4.32

Milwaukee IP H R ER BB SO ERA

Davies 4 6 3 3 2 0 3.90

Hader, W, 2-3 22/3 2 2 2 1 6 1.93

Swarzak, H, 26 11/3 2 1 1 0 2 2.17

Knebel, S, 38-44 1 1 0 0 0 1 1.58

Davies pitched to 2 batters in the 5th.

Inherited runners-scored — Hader 2-1, Swarzak 2-1. HBP — Davies (Suarez). WP — Peralta.

T — 3:19. Att. — 30,079.