MILWAUKEE -- In a season in which the Brewers came away with a winning home record even while beginning to rebuild, the Reds spoiled the season finale at Miller Park on Sunday afternoon.Cincinnati left-hander Brandon Finnegan only allowed three hits and no walks over five scoreless innings and the Reds
MILWAUKEE -- In a season in which the Brewers came away with a winning home record even while beginning to rebuild, the Reds spoiled the season finale at Miller Park on Sunday afternoon.
Cincinnati left-hander Brandon Finnegan only allowed three hits and no walks over five scoreless innings and the Reds jumped out to an early lead en route to a 4-2 win to take the series.
Adam Duvall doubled in a run during a two-run first against Brewers starter Wily Peralta, as Scott Schebler and Steve Selsky added RBI singles. Peralta finished with a quality start, going six innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits while striking out five, picking up his 11th loss. The two early runs gave Finnegan a nice boost.
• Finnegan finishes strong after taking liner off leg
"Especially off a guy like Peralta," said Finnegan, who stayed in the game despite taking a Hernán Pérez line drive off of his right knee in the second inning. "He throws hard and he's got good stuff. When you put runs on a guy like that, it gives you a lot of confidence."
Milwaukee finished 41-40 on the season at home and drew over 2.3 million fans for the 11th consecutive season.
"We've played well at home," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We've got lots of progress to make. We can sit here and say there's been some good things happening and that's true, but we also have a long way to go. We can't take our eye off that, and what it takes to build something sustainable is difficult."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Duvall your pleasure: It's been a rough second half for Duvall, who came in batting .220 since the All-Star break and .175 in September. But the Reds' outfielder has a double in back-to-back games and his first-inning two-bagger off of the left-field wall scored Schebler for the game's first run. It came after Schebler hit a one-out double, which was followed by a Joey Votto walk.
End of an era? The ovations grew each time Ryan Braun stepped to the plate Sunday, as fans pondered whether they were watching his final game in a Brewers uniform at Miller Park. Braun, who was nearly traded to the Dodgers on Aug. 31 and figures to be one of the big names in the winter rumor mill, tripled in the first inning to start a two-hit afternoon but missed an opportunity to provide a big boost in the sixth. He popped out against Reds reliever Josh A. Smith with one out and runners at second and third. In the eighth, Braun acknowledged the cheers with a symbolic tip of the cap before striking out.
"The fans here have treated me so well," Braun said. "The love and support I've received here is as great as any athlete could ever hope to get from any fanbase. I think that the people here, at least most of them, recognize that there's at least a chance that there's at least a chance that today's my last home game as a Brewer.
"I don't think there's a great chance, but it's certainly a higher chance than there's been at any other point in the 10 years I've spent here. I've always appreciated the support. It means a lot to me." More >
Strong ending: The Reds pitching staff struck out the final seven batters in some impressive bullpen work. The ninth inning belonged to Raisel Iglesias, who pitched on back-to-back days for the first time this season. Iglesias struck out Chris Carter, Perez and Orlando Arcia for his fourth save while showing no loss of zip in his pitches.
"I think this is something that could have happened much earlier in the season," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "However, we, as an organization, and I think we made the right decision to be cautious in how we utilized him in how he came back. He's been available to throw back-to-back, there just hasn't been that many opportunities in which to do so. So, I thought he looked as good today as yesterday, if not better. I don't think there's any issues in regard to his health at this point in time."
On the board: It wasn't the prettiest of innings, but the Brewers found their way onto the scoreboard against Reds reliever Jumbo Díaz in the seventh. With runners at the corners and no outs after successive singles by Perez and Arcia, Arcia stole second and induced an off-target throw from catcher Ramón Cabrera, allowing Perez to trot home from third. Arcia then scored on Scooter Gennett's pinch-hit groundout to get the Brewers back into the game at 4-2.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Eight Major League teams have topped the 2.3 million mark in attendance in each the last 11 seasons: The Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals, Angels -- and the small market Brewers. A crowd of 31,776 pushed the Brewers over 2.3 million fans on Sunday.
Reds: Cincinnati's road trip moves on to St. Louis for four games that begin at 8:15 p.m. ET on Monday vs. the Cardinals. Tim Adleman will make the start coming off a career-high 6 1/3 innings with two earned runs in a no-decision last Monday at Wrigley Field.
Brewers: Familiar faces will abound when the Brewers open a three-game Interleague series at Texas on Monday at 7:05 p.m. CT. Former Rangers right-hander Matt Garza starts for Milwaukee against a Texas team stocked with former Brewers, including catcher Jonathan Lucroy, outfielder Carlos Gómez, reliever Jeremy Jeffress and even first baseman Prince Fielder. The Rangers, who already clinched the American League West, will start left-hander Martin Pérez.
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Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.