Billy Hamilton drove in Zach Cozart in the top of the ninth to give the Cincinnati Reds a 6-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on a full-moon, Friday the 13th evening at Miller Park. Matt Garza (4-4, 4.42 ERA) toed the rubber for the home team, while Homer Bailey (7-3, 4.60 ERA) took the mound for the Reds.
The Reds got on the board in their half of the first, with a little help from Garza, who is notorious for having throwing yips when going to the bases. With one out, Todd Frazier hit a hard grounder past a diving Irving Falu, who was subbing for Jean Segura at shortstop. Joey Votto flew out to centerfield to bring up Brandon Phillips. Frazier broke for second, only to see Garza step off and apparently have the Reds baserunner dead to rights. Unfortunately, Garza spiked the ball ten feet short of second base and the ball bounced past Falu and into short center as Frazier moseyed over to third.
Phillips promptly lined a ball past a diving Mark Reynolds at first base to make it 1-0 for the guests before Jay Bruce struck out to end the inning.
The Brewers had a chance in the bottom of the first after Scooter Gennett singled to left field and Ryan Braun reached on a hit by pitch, but a line out 4-6 twin killing and a Carlos Gomez line out ended the inning for Milwaukee.
Skip Schumaker reached on a one-out throwing error by Falu in the top of the second, but was stranded there. Bailey whiffed the side in the bottom half of the frame to keep Milwaukee off the board.
Both teams went 1-2-3 in the third inning.
Bruce singled with one out in the fourth but died on first as Cincinnati maintained its 1-0 lead.
The Brewers were able to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth after a two-out walk from Carlos Gomez. With the speedy Brewer on first, Aramis Ramirez smoked a ball that one-hopped the fence in front of the Brewers bullpen, allowing Gomez to race around to make it 1-1.
Khris Davis and Reynolds both walked to jam the sacks, but Falu popped to short to end the rally.
The Reds busted the game open in the top of the fifth with four runs.
Cozart opened the frame with an infield single. Bailey dropped a bunt in front of Garza, who promptly turned and fired the ball into the first base stands, giving the Reds runners at second and third with no outs.
After a Hamilton line out, Frazier drove a ball to right for an RBI. Votto followed with a shot to right, also scoring a run. With runners on first and third, Phillips smacked a sacrifice fly to right to make it 4-1. Then Bruce doubled to left and the ball skipped past Davis, allowing Votto to score to give the Reds a 5-1 lead.
The Brewers battled back in the bottom of the seventh to tie the contest.
Davis led off with an opposite field blast–his 11th of the year–to cut the lead to 5-2. Reynolds squibbed a ball past Votto for a base hit and then one out later, pinch-hitter Logan Schaefer lined a pitch to left field to give the Brewers two men on the bases.
Bailey’s night (6 1/3, four earned runs, six strikeouts and three walks) was ended when he was replaced by Sam LeCure, who promptly saw Gennett rip a ball to right to cut the lead to 5-3 as Reynolds scored. After a Braun strikeout, Lucroy scored Schaefer on a bouncer to third base that the Milwaukee catcher was able to beat out.
The Brewers tied the game when Gomez poked a ball down the left field line for a double, scoring Gennett. Logan Ondrusek came in for Cincinnati and retired Ramirez on a grounder to short.
Zach Duke entered the game in the top of the eighth for Milwaukee and did his job well, retiring the side in order, including two punch-outs. Garza left after seven innings, allowing five runs, but only one was earned. He struck out one and walked one.
Falu walked with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks bounced to pitcher Jonathan Broxton to end the threat.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez came in for the top of the ninth but struggled mightily.
Cozart hit a soft liner to left for a single before he was sacrificed to second by pinch-hitter Ramon Santiago. Hamilton then earned the game-winner with his shot to right field and he moved to second on Braun’s late throw to the plate. Hamilton was then almost picked off, but got out of the pickle and went back to second.
Frazier walked to give the Reds another runner, but Votto grounded out and Phillips popped up to end the inning.
Aroldis Chapman came in to seal the deal and that he did, striking out Segura and Lucroy around a 6-3 groundout by Braun to collect his 11th save. Broxton notched the win to go to 2-0, while K-Rod dropped to 2-2 with the loss.
The Brewers (40-28) host the Reds (32-34) tomorrow in the middle game of the three-game set at Miller Park.