Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The Brewers were back in action Monday at home to open a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Reds came into the series having just been swept by the Yankees, dropping them to fourth in the National League Central, just two-and-a-half games behind the Brewers and Cardinals tied in first place.
The Reds looked a lot like the Brewers did for the first half of July, and the Crew rolled to a 5-2 win that was never quite as close as the score would indicate.
Both pitchers started strong, allowing a hit each in the first inning. Skip Schumaker singled off Peralta but was erased on a double play off the bat of Todd Frazier, and Ryan Braun had a single in the Brewers half of the frame.
Santiago flew out to center to bring up Zack Cozart who grounded out to short to end the inning with two men stranded. The Brewers didn’t manage any hits in their half of the inning.
Peralta walked Latos to lead off the third inning. Billy Hamilton grounded out to first for the first out, moving Latos to second. Latos went to third on a wild pitch.
Latos was retired on a chopper to short by Schumaker. Latos broke for the plate but Jean Segura threw him out for the second out. Frazier bounced out for the final out.
The Brewers opened the scoring right away in the bottom of the inning. Jean Segura led off with a triple and scored on a throwing error by Santiago.
Santiago’s throw to third, which looked like it would have been in time to get Segura out, hit Segura and bounced into the dugout, awarding Segura home on the play.
Peralta and Carlos Gomez followed with singles. After a Gennett fly out Braun belted a double to left bringing in both base runners and give Milwaukee a 3-0 lead.
Peralta blew through the Reds in the top of the fourth. Segura laced a one-out single to right in the bottom of the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Peralta.
Gomez followed with a warning-track fly ball to left field. Heisey lost it in the lights and it bounced right next to him. Heisey, trying to field the ball, appeared to knock it over the wall in left.
The umpires held Gomez at second and Ron Roenicke went out to see why Gomez didn’t get third base (for Heisey knocking the ball out of play). Upon review the umpires kept Gomez at second with a ground rule double, but Segura scored either way.
Gomez stole third with Gennett batting. Gennett knocked a hard grounder to first and Lutz couldn’t handle it. He knocked it down and tossed to first but Gennett beat the throw and Gomez scored. Gennett’s hit was later changed to an error on Lutz.
Gennett stole second with Braun batting to move another runner to scoring position. Braun struck out to end the inning.
Peralta had another scoreless inning in the top of the fifth, cruising through the bottom of the Reds lineup. Latos did the same in the bottom half of the fifth.
Peralta lost his shut out in the bottom of the sixth when Hamilton belted a lead-off home run (6) into the Reds bullpen cut the lead to four runs. Of Hamilton’s six home runs this season, four have come against Milwaukee.
Schumaker followed with an apparent double to left. Logan Schafer‘s throw was right on the bag and Ron Roenicke went out to challenge the call but the ruling on the field was upheld.
Frazier grounded out to short, moving Schumaker to third. Mesoraco struck out on a check swing. Reds manager Bryan Price got ejected arguing the call. Peralta struck out Lutz to end the inning with no further damage.
Latos put the Brewers down in order in the bottom of the sixth.
Peralta rolled through Heisey, Santiago and Cozart in the top of the seventh, putting him at 102 pitches on the night.
Latos returned to the mound in the seventh for Cincinnati; he worked around a Gennett single for the only Brewer action in the frame.
Will Smith came on to pitch the eighth for Milwaukee. Peralta went seven innings and allowed one run on three hits. He walked two batters and struck out five.
Smith faced pinch-hitter Kristopher Negron, who promptly hit a home run on Smith’s first pitch to make it 5-2. Hamilton followed with a bunt single.
Smith settled down and struck out Schumaker, Frazier and Mesoraco in order to end the inning.
Carlos Contreras replaced Latos in the bottom of the eighth. Latos tossed seven innings, allowing five runs, four earned, on five hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three.
Hamilton robbed Lucroy of a double on a drive to the wall in center to lead off the inning. Cozart robbed Schafer of a single on a nice play at short, ranging to his left, spinning and firing to first for the out. Reynolds flew out to end the inning.
Francisco Rodriguez came out to work the save for Milwaukee. Lutz flew out to Braun for the first out. Heisey grounded out to third for the second out. Santiago flew out to Gomez to end the game.
Peralta earned the win for Milwaukee. Latos picked up the loss for Cincinnati. K-Rod earned yet another save.
The win combined with an off-day for the Cardinals puts Milwaukee back in sole possession of first place in the division.