With America now into her 238th birthday, the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers played a game that harkened back to the earliest days of baseball, a 1-0 loss for the Redlegs.
Bailey’s day began innoxiously enough with two strikeouts before a double from Jonathan Lucroy and a walk to Carlos Gomez set the stage for Aramis Ramirez. The man likely to win the National League’s fan vote for starting third baseman in next week’s All-Star Game, Ramirez would bring home Lucroy on a soft base hit to left field that would put the Brewers up 1-0. They would never look back.
For the second consecutive outing, Homer Bailey was on top of his game. He had only one clean, 1-2-3 inning, but Bailey still racked up eight strikeouts, while turning a timely double play and saving the bullpen. Such are the breaks for Bailey, as he has been the benefactor on multiple occasions in 2014 where the offense allowed him to pick up a victory he may not necessarily would have merited.
Coming into his start on Saturday, Matt Garza had allowed less than three runs in a start only once since April 30. With the Reds offense seemingly have turned the corner within the friendly confines of Great American Ball Park, crooked numbers seemed assured.
It took until the fifth inning for the Redlegs to reach base on a Brandon Phillips opposite field base hit. Jay Bruce followed up the leadoff single with a rocket shot that was snared by Milwaukee first baseman Mark Reynolds. The inning took a drastic turn from run scoring, to a line drive double play. Bruce hit the ball so hard; it tore the webbing out from Reynolds’ glove.
Bruce would finish the day 0-for-3, meaning it has now been a week since his last base hit. A dreadful 0-for-23 slump has seen his average plummet all the way down to a horrific .228.
Even with his bat not producing, Bruce still found a way to influence the game. In consecutive innings (sixth and seventh), a relay from Bruce to a middle infielder would nail a Brewer at the plate, cutting a run off the board and keeping Cincinnati within striking distance. Jonathan Lucroy and Mark Reynolds are not the most fleet of foot members of the Milwaukee brigade, which makes the decision seem all the more curious—especially with one of the best throwing arms in baseball patrolling right field.
Only one batter would so much as reach second base against Garza on Saturday. Zack Cozart’s double in the sixth was lost in the back-to-back strikeouts of Homer Bailey and Billy Hamilton to squelch any type of rally before it ever began.
It was 111 pitches of absolute mastery from Garza. He saved life on his fastball for late in the contest, especially when he would blow away Joey Votto with 95 MPH on the outside corner to seal the contest. He would only allow two hits and walk two batters en route to his first shutout of the season, and only the fourth of his career.
Rome was not built in a day, and the National League Central Division lead cannot be conquered in one series. With a victory in the rubber match on Sunday, the Reds will have skimmed a game off the lead of the Brewers with three solid months of baseball still to be played.
In a rematch from just a few short weeks ago, Mat Latos and Yovani Gallardo will toe the slab opposite one another. The first pitch is slated for 1:10 p.m. with a capacity crowd expected to be in attendance within the walls of Great American Ball Park.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds