Cincinnati Reds edge Milwaukee Brewers, snap losing skid

By Mark Schmetzer, The Sports Xchange  |  July 16, 2016 at 12:23 AM
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CINCINNATI -- Ryan Braun has hit more home runs against the Cincinnati Reds than off any other team. He's hit more homers at Great American Ball Park than at any other venue.

Facing a Cincinnati bullpen best described this season as beleaguered, the Reds' 5-4 ninth-inning lead on Friday looked less than safe with Braun batting with bases-loaded and two outs. Yet, somehow, Ross Ohlendorf prevailed, getting Braun to pop up to shortstop Zack Cozart to preserve the win and earn his second save of the season.

"Backup slider for a ball, then a fastball in that he popped up, and we're 1-0 in the second half," Cincinnati catcher Tucker Barnhart, who also drove in the go-ahead runs, said with a smile about the approach to Braun.

"We had it set up," manager Craig Counsell said. "We had an opportunity, for sure."

Barnhart laced a go-ahead, two-run double down the left-field line and the Reds snapped a three-game losing streak. He made up for missing previous opportunities, he said, including lining out to shortstop in his first at bat.

"He came in and said, 'Stupid hitting,' after lining out in his first at bat," manager Bryan Price said. "We had so many good at bats (in the sixth) that got us to Tucker. We did some good things in that inning offensively."

Barnhart broke his bat on the double.

"I missed two pitches earlier in the at bat to hit," he said. "I fought one off and found a hole."

Reds All-Star Adam Duvall, who competed in the Home Run Derby, just missed hitting a three-run homer, settling for a run-scoring double that helped set up Barnhart's clutch, sixth-inning hit.

Jay Bruce, Cincinnati's other All-Star, added an RBI double in the seventh to help Anthony DeSclafani (4-0) overcome Jonathan Villar's run-scoring single and a Scooter Gennett solo home run. DeSclafani finished six innings in his seventh start since missing the first two months of the season with a strained left oblique.

Raisel Iglesias had three strikeouts in two scoreless relief innings before Ohlendorf came on in relief of Tony Cingrani with two outs and clinched Milwaukee's third straight loss and fourth in its last five games.

The Brewers had won four of their last five games against Cincinnati.

Matt Garza (1-3), who was 3-0 with a 3.65 earned-run average over his last six starts against the Reds, lasted 5 1/3 innings in his sixth start since missing the first 2 1/2 months with a muscle strain.

"It's coming back," Garza said. "It feels good. I'm getting more control of my stuff every time out. I've just got to stay with the program."

Milwaukee All-Star Jonathan Lucroy hit the first pitch he saw in the so-called second half of the season for an RBI single.

Villar led off the game with a drive that nearly was a home run as it sailed down the left-field line and sliced just outside the foul pole. He settled for a leadoff single to left -- extending his hitting streak to six games -- and, one out later, went to third on Braun's hit-and-run single to right.

Lucroy followed with a soft single to right, scoring Villar.

Bruce helped keep the deficit to one run with a leaping catch against the right-field wall that robbed Chris Carter of at least an extra-base hit and possibly his 23rd homer of the season in the fourth inning.

Billy Hamilton tied it in the fourth, scoring all the way from second on Adam Duvall's potential double-play grounder to third baseman Will Middlebrooks with Bruce on first. Middlebrooks hesitated before deciding to go for the double play, allowing Duvall to beat the relay.

Hamilton never stopped running, easily beating the throw home with a slide.

Bruce's play helped DeSclafani extend to 12 his streak of consecutive hitters retired before Ramon Flores singled with one out in the fifth. Garza sacrificed him to second and Villar hit a chopper up the first-base line that bounced off the base and eluded Joey Votto. The ball rolled down the right-field line, allowing Flores to score and break the 1-1 tie.

NOTES: The Brewers recalled RHP Corey Knebel from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday. Knebel replaces RHP Michael Blazek, who was optioned following Sunday's game. ... Milwaukee LHP Chris Capuano is at the team's Phoenix, Ariz., complex as he continues trying to get over left elbow soreness. Capuano went on the disabled list on May 26. He is expected to rejoin the Brewers when they return home on July 22, manager Craig Counsell said. ... OF Domingo Santana took early batting practice on Friday and could start hitting on the field shortly, manager Craig Counsell said, adding that if Santana continues to make progress, he could start a rehab assignment "within a week." Santana has been on the disabled list since June 10 with right elbow soreness. ... Reds RHP Homer Bailey made the fourth start of his rehab assignment on Friday with Triple-A Louisville. Bailey reached four innings, allowing three hits and three runs, one earned, with two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 67 pitches, 44 for strikes. He is scheduled to start again on July 20.

NOTES: The Brewers recalled RHP Corey Knebel from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday. He replaces RHP Michael Blazek, who was optioned after Sunday's game. ... Milwaukee LHP Chris Capuano is at the team's Phoenix, Ariz., complex as he continues trying to get over left elbow soreness. Capuano went on the disabled list May 26. He is expected to rejoin the Brewers when they return home on July 22, manager Craig Counsell said. ... OF Domingo Santana took early batting practice and could start hitting on the field shortly, manager Craig Counsell said, adding that if Santana continues to make progress, he could start a rehab assignment "within a week." Santana has been on the disabled list since June 10 with right elbow soreness. ... Reds RHP Homer Bailey was scheduled to make the fourth start of his rehab assignment on Friday with Triple-A Louisville. Bailey reached 3 2/3 innings in his last start on July 7. He is scheduled to start again on July 20.

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