Bruce breaks slump with homer to down Brewers, 4-2


Jul 6, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds shortstop Ramon Santiago (7) slides into home plate but is called out due to fan interference in right during the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Bruce broke an 0-for-26 slump and hammered a two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth to lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday afternoon at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

The Brewers entered today’s contest holding a five-game lead over second place St. Louis. Milwaukee’s record of 52-36 is the best in the Senior Circuit and second best in the majors to Oakland’s 54-33 mark. Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 3.51 ERA) toed the rubber for the Brewers, while the Reds trotted out Mat Latos (1-1, 2.45 ERA), making only his fifth start of the year due to early season injuries.

Each club was minus a big bat in their line-up today: Milwaukee was missing right fielder Ryan Braun (back spasms) and the Reds were short their first baseman Joey Votto (regular day off).

Latos, the Reds heavily-tattooed right hander, looked to be at top form as he retired the Brewers in order in the top of the first on a fly ball and two groundouts.

The Reds used three singles to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom half of the opening inning.

Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips both lined singles to right, putting runners on the corners. Jay Bruce–in the midst of an 0-for-23 hitless dearth–hit a grounder up the middle that Scooter Gennett ranged for to his right, making the flip to second for the force, but Jean Segura’s relay to first was too late as Frazier scored.

Ryan Ludwick was plunked on the left shoulder to put runners at first and second.  Devin Mesoraco looped a ball to right that scored Bruce before right fielder Logan Schafer fired a one-hop bullet to third that erased Ludwick for the final out.

Latos continued his stellar pitching as he set down the Crew in order in the top half of number two, including a great running catch in short center by Phillips for out number three.

There was a little fan controversy in the bottom half of the inning.

With one out, Ramon Santiago hit a deep fly to right field. As Schafer went up to make a leaping grab, a fan in the first row reached out over the wall and interfered with the play. Schafer looked around in disbelief for a few seconds, before realizing the play was still ‘live.’ Santiago raced around the bags for an apparent home run before Brewer manager Ron Roenicke came out to chat with the umps.

After a ‘crew chief’ challenge, the call was overturned and Santiago was called out before Latos grounded out to end the inning.

The Brewers bats were again silenced in the third as Latos continued his dominance, retiring three in order to keep the Crew off the board.

In the bottom of the third, Phillips once again got into the act with a two-out chop single that Segura couldn’t make the bare-hand play on, but then was picked off first by Gallardo with Ludwick at the dish.

Segura drew a one-out walk in the fourth and advanced to second on Jonathan Lucroy’s short-hopper to short but was stranded when Carlos Gomez whiffed on a breaking pitch out of the zone.

The Reds put runners at first and second with a line drive by Mesoraco and and slow roller down the third base line by Zack Cozart but were left there when Santiago took a called strike for the final out.

The Brewers finally got off the schneid with their first hit in the fifth.

Aramis Ramirez looped a ball to medium left-center and seemingly hesitated before trying to stretch the single, only to see Phillips waiting with the ball at second for the easy out. A fly out and ground out ended the once-promising inning for Milwaukee.

The Reds got a two-out single by Frazier but he was forced at second as the score remained 2-0, Reds after five complete.

The Brewers finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth.

Schafer lined a ball deep down the right field line and coasted into third as the ball rattled around in the corner. Gallardo lined to Phillips for the first out, but then Gennett grounded to Phillips, enabling Schafer to score to cut the lead to 2-1. Segura grounded out to end the inning.

Mesoraco got his third hit of the game with his two-out liner to left, but was stuck at second as Cozart flied to right to end the sixth for the Reds.

Latos continued his dominance with a 1-2-3 Brewer seventh.

Gallardo got his second 1-2-3 inning of the game with fly outs to each outfielder in the bottom of the seventh.

The Brewers tied the contest with a pair of two-out hits in the top of the eighth against Latos.

Schafer notched his second long hit with a double over the speedy Hamilton and then scored on pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks’ single to left-center to tie the game at two.

Will Smith came out for the Brewers to face the Reds in the eighth and after one out, walked Phillips. One batter later, Bruce homered to right five rows deep to give  the Reds a 4-2 lead.

Jonathan Broxton came out in the top of the ninth for the Reds and got three groundouts as the Reds took the series with a 4-2 win.

Smith took the loss to drop to 1-2, while Latos improved to 2-1, with Broxton earning his sixth save of the year.