6-run 5th helps Brewers win 7th straight game
CINCINNATI -- In a top of the fifth inning that seemed to feature a little bit of everything, the Brewers scored six runs on their way to a 7-3 victory over the Reds and extended their season-high winning streak to seven games Saturday night -- though Milwaukee center fielder Carlos Gomez was hit by a pitch and suffered a left wrist contusion.
As Reds starter Josh Smith labored, Milwaukee sent 12 men to the plate in the big rally as Cincinnati made two pitching changes. It also featured a hit batsman, a replay challenge, an ejection, an error on a pick-off throw, a run-scoring balk and a stretch where six straight batters reached safely.
"It was a struggle in general," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "They had 11 hits, but 23 base runners. That speaks a little bit about our command challenges as a staff tonight."
Smith was finished after he was charged with five earned runs and five hits over 4 1/3 innings with three walks (one intentional), four hit batters and two strikeouts. Ryan Mattheus replaced Smith and gave up three-straight hits and allowed two runs of his own, including a balk that brought home Aramis Ramirez.
Jimmy Nelson completed 5 2/3 innings for the win and allowed three earned runs and eight hits. Nelson walked one and struck out five.
In winning the first two games of the three-game series, the Brewers have outscored the Reds, 19-4.
"He did a nice job tonight," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He did a really nice job. I just thought that fifth inning, it felt like it was 45 minutes and it's hard for any pitcher to sit there for that long. So I thought he could go longer in the game, but it happens, guys that sit there for that long you get a little bit out of rhythm."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Brewers score six in fifth: The Brewers opened the game up with a six-run fifth inning off five singles, three walks a hit-by-pitch and a balk. The scoring started off a RBI single by Ryan Braun. Following the single Braun stole second and third base, which was challenged by the Reds, but upheld. Things started to snowball from there with the Brewers scoring on three straight singles from Ramirez, Jean Segura and Scooter Gennett, a balk by Mattheus and a walk of Jonathan Lucroy. Smith, Mattheus and Pedro Villarreal pitched for the Reds during the inning.
"We had a lot of positive two-out at-bats there," Counsell said. "We had a lot of base hits, walks and everything. We kept the inning alive and kept the line moving. It was a one run, one run, one run, one run. There was no big hit that really broke it open." More >
Plunks-a-plenty: The four hit batters by Smith tied a club record with Jake Weimer, which was set on July 28, 1907, vs. the New York Giants. The last time it happened in the Majors was July 28, 2005, when Livan Hernandez did it for the Nationals vs. the Rockies. Hit batter No. 4 was costly to Gomez in the fifth -- he left the game and is day to day with a left wrist contusion.
"That can't happen," Smith said. "I'm trying to pitch in and the balls got away from me a little bit." More >
Lind homers: After watching his teammates hit three home runs on Friday, Adam Lind joined the fun on Saturday with a solo homer to right field in the fourth inning. The home run came on a 1-1 curveball from Smith and tied the game 1-1. With the home run, Lind has at least one RBI in his last eight games to give him 12 during the stretch.
Costly E1: The top of the fifth began to go awry for Smith after Gerardo Parra was on first base with a leadoff single. His error on a pickoff throw allowed Parra to move to second base and set up the inning's first run on Braun's one-out single.
"Guys over there are very aggressive on the bases and we're trying the best we can to limit their leads and breaks. One just got away," Price said. "It certainly doesn't necessitate a six-run lead. I didn't think it was the precursor to the big inning by any means."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Saturday's game marked the 900th time Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips started a game together, the most on the right side of the infield for any tandem in Reds history. It's the second-most starts among active players as the Phillies' Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have started 1,130 games together.
With 11 more hits on Saturday, the Brewers have seven straight road games with 10 or more hits for the first time since 1999.
A REPLAY AND EJECTION
After he swiped second base against Smith in the top of the fifth, Braun also stole third base just ahead of Todd Frazier's tag. The Reds challenged third-base umpire Tony Randazzo's call and because replays weren't conclusive, it was determined that the call stands after a delay of four minutes, 11 seconds. Moments later, Reds catcher Brayan Pena had words for home-plate umpire and crew chief Bill Welke, and was ejected.
"It's not that I'm talking bad or nothing about them, but I'm just being honest because everyone saw it on the big scoreboard. Way before he got to the bag, Frazier tagged him and that can change a game," Pena said. "In my opinion, it changed the game, against us. It would have made a difference. It's not the same, 2-1 and nobody out and continue to play the game. I just got a little heated up to be honest with you."
"I certainly learned it first-hand last year that's a big no-no. You can't argue," Price said. "When we're arguing with the umpires on the field, we're arguing with the people who don't have any opinion on the decision that's being made in New York. They're an outlet to vent frustration. When you vent frustration, you get ejected."
Brewers: Rookie right hander Taylor Jungmann will get the start in the series finale against the Reds at Great American Ball Park on Sunday. Jungmann threw six innings, giving up three runs -- two earned -- and five hits in a no-decision against the Phillies on Tuesday. First pitch is at 12:10 p.m. CT.
Reds: Todd Frazier, who had four hits on Saturday, will find out Sunday if he is the National League All-Star starting third baseman. Before that, he will be in the lineup when the Reds complete their three-game series with the Brewers at 1:10 p.m. ET. Mike Leake will make the start for Cincinnati.
Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.