For the first time all season, the Cincinnati Reds are victims of a five-game losing streak. Falling for the fifth consecutive time since the All-Star break, the Milwaukee Brewers were walk-off winners over the Reds by a final of 4-3.
The loss situates the Redlegs at 51-49 after having played exactly 100 of the 162 games on the schedule thus far in 2014. Regardless of the peaks and valleys, this Reds club has proverbially hung around the .500 mark all year.
It was the fourth instance in which Homer Bailey had faced the Brewers so far this season, so the familiarity was undoubtedly there. After allowing two solo home runs in the first inning to Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez, Bailey would go on to pitch an extremely solid ball game, qualifying for a quality start.
Foregoing the over-the-head motion Bailey had been tinkering with throughout the season, it was back to just picking his hands up to his chest during his windup. Whether the new mechanics helped Bailey with his velocity is not known, but consistently sitting at 96-97 MPH all night was quite advantageous.
After the back-to-back home runs in the first, Bailey would go on to retire 11 consecutive batters. Coming into the game, Brewers’ left fielder Khris Davis was 7-for-15 against Bailey, but Homer would retire him all three times the two would square off.
The Brewer batter with even better numbers than Davis against Bailey was backup second baseman Rickie Weeks. Entering the game in the fifth inning due to Scooter Gennett leaving due to injury, Weeks’ first at-bat came with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. Entering the plate appearance 14-for-27 off Bailey, a huge sigh of relief came from the road dugout when Weeks broke his bat and was retired on a groundball fielded by Zack Cozart.
As far as Cozart is concerned, it was a dangerous night at the ballpark. He would have to leave the game in the seventh inning after taking a fastball from Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson off his fingers, which were trapped underneath the bat on a bunt attempt. Cozart was in a considerable amount of agony at the time, although x-rays came back negative.
It may have been only Jimmy Nelson’s fourth career Major League start, but he showed off the stuff that had allowed him to mow throw the minor leagues all of this season. Featuring a mid-90s fastball and a hammer of a curveball, the development of Nelson’s additional pitches will be a work in progress, but on Tuesday night, that was none of the Reds’ concern.
Through the front six innings, there was not much of anything happening for the Cincinnati bats. The only run that would score through the front six came via a high-chopper off the bat of Jay Bruce that snuck over the head of first baseman Lyle Overbay due to his drawn-in positioning. The hit would get Bruce off his 0-for-15 slide, but he would strike out twice on the evening and finish 1-for-4.
Come the seventh inning, Nelson fell on hard times. Giving up back-to-back singles to Ryan Ludwick and Brayan Pena to lead off the frame, the Redlegs were in business. After the previously mentioned plunking of Cozart, the bases were loaded for the Reds hottest hitter in Ramon Santiago.
With two strikes against him the count, it did not appear Santiago made much of an effort to get out of the way of Nelson’s offering in the dirt, which drilled him in the foot to bring in a run. Pinch-hitter Chris Heisey would lash a ball into left field to knot the game at three and keep the line moving. Unfortunate mistakes struck again as Billy Hamilton hit a lined smash directly at second baseman Rickie Weeks who would flip the ball to second base for a double play after Cozart was caught off the bag. Just like that, the Reds last legitimate opportunity went by the wayside.
With an already thin bench, the Reds did not have many options heading into a tied game in the ninth inning. Chris Heisey had been used as a pinch-hitter and Kristopher Negron was forced to enter the game as a replacement for the injured Cozart. That left only Devin Mesoraco and Donald Lutz on the bench.
To end the top of the ninth, Ramon Santiago, batting in the number eight spot in the order, went down swinging. With that, the pitcher’s spot would lead off the top of the tenth. Rather than use Aroldis Chapman for an inning that would not be a save situation, manager Bryan Price turned to the usually dependable Sam LeCure. Three pitches into his appearance, Jonathan Lucroy was circling the bases and chucking his helmet towards the heavens after a walk-off home run.
The loss serves as the Reds eighth consecutive on the road. Wednesday afternoon serves as the last game on the road trip before an off day, and then a homestand.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds