Sep 25, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo (49) waits on the mound with second baseman Rickie Weeks (23) and catcher Jonathan Lucroy (20) in the fourth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
With the Brewers still technically alive in the post-season race, they were back at it in Cincinnati today in a must-win, season-series finale against the Reds.
The finale saw Yovani Gallardo (8-10, 3.46 ERA) taking on David Holmberg (1-2, 5.25). Holmberg was making just his sixth career big league start, and fifth of the season. It was rough for Holmberg his firs two times out this season but in his last two starts he allowed just three runs on seven hits against the Brewers and Cardinals.
It was a back and forth game with the Brewers taking the lead twice early, but giving it away both times and the Reds pulled away and held off a Brewers rally to take a 5-3 win and end Milwaukee’s already slim playoff hopes.
After a quiet first inning for the Crew, the Reds loaded the bases in the bottom half of the frame. Brayan Pena knocked a one-out single to center, and moved to second on a Jay Bruce single. Ryan Ludwick walked to load the bases, but Gallardo struck out Yorman Rodriguez to end the inning with no damage done.
The Brewers answered back and took the lead in the top of the second on a two out home run (8) by Rickie Weeks.
The Reds tied the game in the bottom of the third. Brandon Phillips led off with a single, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Pena, and took third on a wild pitch. Bruce singled to right to bring in Phillies and make it a 1-1 game.
The Brewers retook the lead in the fourth. Ryan Braun singled to lead off the inning, and Jonathan Lucroy followed with a walk. Aramis Ramirez grounded to Phillips at second, and Phillips threw Braun out at the plate, allowing Ramirez to reach base and moving Lucroy to third. Khris Davis knocked a fly ball to right to bring in Lucroy and give Milwaukee a 2-1 lead.
The Reds took advantage of the Brewers defense to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Pena led off with a single up the middle. Todd Frazier grounded to Ramirez and third, Ramirez fired to Weeks for the lead out and Weeks made the turn for the double play but Jason Rogers couldn’t handle the throw, leaving Frazier safe at first.
Bruce doubled to put Frazier at third. Gallardo got Ludwick to pop out to Weeks in shallow right, but Weeks dropped the ball so nobody was out and Frazier came in to score. Yorman Rodriguez singled to right to bring in Bruce and give the Reds a 3-2 lead after two Brewer errors.
The Reds extended the lead in the sixth after Jason Bourgeois singled to lead off the inning, and Phillips belted his 8th home run of the year, well out of the park in left, to end the day for Gallardo.
Gallardo went 5-plus innings and allowed five runs, three earned, on 10 hits and one walk. He struck out four batters. Will Smith came on to resume the sixth for the Brewers and finished the inning without issue.
Despite only allowing two hits and throwing 77 pithces, Holmberg didn’t return to the hill in the 7th inning for the Reds. Sam LeCure took over on the hill. Holmberg went six, and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk. He struck out two Brewers.
Weeks singled to lead off the inning and moved to second on a pinch-hit single by Lyle Overbay, hitting for Rogers. Overbay was hitting .344 as a pinch hitter after that single, the second highest mark in baseball.
Jean Segura knocked a single through the infield to left to load the bases against LeCure. Scooter Gennett came in to pinch hit for Smith with the bases loaded. Gennett grounded into a double play, but Weeks came in to score and bring the Brewers back within two runs at 5-3.
Carlos Gomez followed with a two-out walk; after falling behind 1-2 he didn’t see another strike. That put two on for Braun and spelled the end of the day for LeCure. The Reds called for Jumbo Diaz. Braun hit a high chopper to third to cap a nine-pitch at bat, but the Reds made the play. The Brewers loaded the bases with nobody out and only managed one run.
Brandon Kintzler came on to pitch the seventh for the Crew and worked a one-two-three inning to keep the Brewers within striking distance.
Diaz worked through Lucroy, Ramirez and Davis without issue in the top of the eighth to bring the Brewers within three outs of being mathematically eliminated from the post-season.
Jonathan Broxton came on to toss the bottom half of the inning for Milwaukee with no room for error and set the Reds down in order.
Aroldis Champion came on to work the save for the Reds in the top of the ninth. He struck out Weeks to open the inning. Hector Gomez grounded out for the second out while pinch hitting for Overbay. Segura grounded out to first to end the game, and the Brewers slim playoff hopes.
The Brewers will go home tonight and finish their season with a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs.