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DeSclafani starts well, but Reds falter in 7th

MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Amir Garrett turned and gazed towards right-center field as he watched a misplaced fastball hit by Eric Thames disappear into the seating. Thames has tormented the Reds since joining the Brewers, and his 13th career home run against Cincinnati spoiled a strong first six innings from Anthony DeSclafani and gave the Reds a 6-4 loss to Milwaukee on Thursday at Great American Ball Park.

"I just made a bad pitch," Garrett said. "Given my past history, I think he is 3-for-3 against me with three home runs. That is just baseball. The good thing is that I get to go back out there tomorrow."

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CINCINNATI -- Amir Garrett turned and gazed towards right-center field as he watched a misplaced fastball hit by Eric Thames disappear into the seating. Thames has tormented the Reds since joining the Brewers, and his 13th career home run against Cincinnati spoiled a strong first six innings from Anthony DeSclafani and gave the Reds a 6-4 loss to Milwaukee on Thursday at Great American Ball Park.

"I just made a bad pitch," Garrett said. "Given my past history, I think he is 3-for-3 against me with three home runs. That is just baseball. The good thing is that I get to go back out there tomorrow."

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DeSclafani initially pitched well enough to win and perhaps deserved a better fate, but the homer from Thames, which came two batters after DeSclafani exited in the seventh inning, soured the right-hander's bid for a fourth consecutive victory.

DeSclafani cruised through the first 6 1/3 innings of the game, scattering four hits and two runs that came when Jesus Aguilar put a 2-0 fastball over the left-field wall for a home run in the third. The homer tied the game at 2 after Cincinnati gifted DeSclafani two runs of support in the first inning on a Jose Peraza home run and a double from Eugenio Suarez, who finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

The Reds quickly countered Aguilar's blast when Jesse Winker launched an opposite-field two-run home run of his own later in the third inning off Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra. DeSclafani toted the 4-2 lead through the sixth inning, but an untidy beginning to the seventh led to his demise. A one-out walk to Erik Kratz was followed by a single from Orlando Arcia, which prompted DeSclafani's exit as Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman called for Garrett out of the bullpen.

Video: MIL@CIN: Winker lifts a 2-run jack to left field

Garrett induced a weak popup from pinch-hitter Jonathan Villar for the second out, but a 2-0 fastball to Thames caught too much of the plate and was pummeled over the wall. It was Thames' first home run off a left-hander this season and gave the Brewers a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"Just missed over the middle," Garrett said. "I definitely know with my stuff I can get him out. That is what happens when you leave it over the middle to a hitter like that. All he has to do is touch it. I supply the speed and he has the power, so that is going to happen."

Thames has done a number on the Reds over the past year and a half. He clubbed eight home runs against Cincinnati in the month of April alone last year and 10 for the season. Thursday's clout was his third against the Reds in '18.

"I always feel good when Amir is out there," Riggleman said. "I'll tell you, Thames has really done damage against us last year and this year. We just haven't had an answer for him. He's really hurt us. You get to a point here where you just have to tip your cap to him because he's really, really done the job against us."

Video: MIL@CIN: Riggleman on Reds' tough loss to the Brewers

Two of the runs that scored on Thames' homer belonged to DeSclafani, who allowed four earned runs on five hits with six strikeouts and a walk over 6 1/3 innings. He has made it to the seventh inning in each of his last two starts. DeSclafani has provided a measurable boost to the Reds rotation over his five outings since being activated off the 60-day disabled list on June 5 after suffering a strained oblique in Spring Training.

"I am just trying to make progress every start," DeSclafani said. "I feel like I have been doing that. Hopefully, I can continue to make progress, be pitch-efficient and give the team a chance to win every fifth day."

The hiccup from Garrett was an uncharacteristic one from a Reds bullpen that has been solid for the majority of the season. The defeat halted a streak of Reds starters earning a win in each of the last six games the team won, the longest such run since 2009. The Cincinnati rotation is 7-0 in an 11-game stretch during which the team has gone 9-2. The pitching staff as a whole boasted a 3.33 ERA in the last 15 games coming into Thursday.

The Reds put the tying run on second base in the bottom of the seventh, but they were retired quietly by the Milwaukee bullpen in the final two frames. The Brewers added an insurance run in the 9th inning on an Eric Sogard sacrifice fly and Corey Knebel nailed down his team-leading eighth save of the season.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
DeSclafani labors in seventh: DeSclafani kept the Brewers offense under wraps through six innings, aside from the blemish from Aguilar. But a shaky start to the seventh forged the path to Thames' damaging long ball. DeSclafani walked Kratz on four pitches and then left a two-seam fastball over the plate to Arcia two pitches later that resulted in a single and prompted Riggleman to give him the hook.

"It was a four-pitch walk and wasn't even a battle," DeSclafani said of the at-bat against Kratz. "That is unacceptable. I think that was the turning point in the game. I can't let that guy get on with a free pass. I at least have to challenge him and give myself a chance."

UP NEXT
Sal Romano gets the nod for the Reds in Game 2 of a four-game set with the Brewers. The right-hander put up four scoreless innings his last time out against the Cubs before things unraveled in a five-run fifth inning, though Cincinnati came back to win, 8-6. Prior to that, Romano had gone at least seven innings in each of his last two starts. Romano is 4-7 with a 5.40 ERA on the season. Chase Anderson is slated to take the mound for Milwaukee.

Brian Scott Rippee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Reds, Anthony DeSclafani, Amir Garrett