Take 2: Suarez homers twice vs. Brewers

July 23rd, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- had no intention of letting his team fold quietly into the night.

Against the Brewers on Monday, the Reds appeared headed for another stinging defeat after the eighth inning when closer blew a save opportunity and gave up a grand slam to Tyler Saladino. Suarez, the third baseman, showed some leadership.

“After the third out, I came to the dugout and yelled loud at the players, all my teammates, ‘Let’s go! We’ve got to get this one back. We’ve got to win this game,’ like loud,” Suarez said. “We have to battle in this game. I feel like we’ve got to win this game.”

One out from the game ending in the top of the ninth, Suarez delivered and picked up his team when he hit the second of his two home runs on the night to give the Reds a wild 6-5 win over the Brewers at Miller Park.

“That's what it takes sometimes,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It's not how you draw it up, but all you can do is continue to compete and when the Brewers took the lead, Geno came in to the dugout and you could hear it in his voice, he wanted that opportunity.”

Suarez’s two-run homer in the seventh extended Cincinnati’s lead to 4-1. After Mike Moustakas opened the bottom of the eighth inning with a single against Amir Garrett, Iglesias was summoned for a potential six-out save. Everything fell apart after he gave up a soft single to Jesus Aguilar. A four-pitch walk to pinch-hitter Keston Hiura loaded the bases with no outs. With one swing, Iglesias’ first pitch fastball to Saladino was crushed to center field for what seemed like a back-breaking grand slam.

The reliever’s ERA jumped to 4.60 with three blown saves in 20 attempts overall after he saved 11 in a row. He’s also surrendered nine home runs, including one in each of his last three appearances. He was unable to complete the eighth inning.

Iglesias declined to speak to reporters after the game, but Bell maintained support for his closer and has no plans to change his role.

“No. He's certainly one of our guys,” Bell said. “We've been saying this, but once we do get on a roll or win a bunch of games, Raisel is going to be one of the guys that we rely on and we'll need to rely on and I want to rely on.”

With one out in the top of the ninth inning against Jeremy Jeffress, Nick Senzel beat out an infield single to the shortstop. After Joey Votto grounded out to third base and moved Senzel to second base, Suarez saw his moment.

“I was so concentrated on that at-bat,” Suarez said. “I knew it would be a big at-bat for me. I tried to win this game. I tried to win my at-bat. He made that mistake right in the middle and I just did my best. I put my best swing on it and I hit a ball out.

On a 1-0 breaking ball from Jeffress, Suarez left no doubt where the ball was headed. Barreled with 107 mph exit velocity, according to Statcast, it traveled 433 feet high into the left field seats and was his team-leading 26th homer of the season.

Lifetime against Jeffress coming into the game, Suarez was 0-for-10 in 13 plate appearances.

"You don't see games like that much. It was one of those that you're really glad it turns out in your favor,” said Reds starting pitcher Sonny Gray, who delivered his fifth-straight quality start with one earned run allowed over six innings. “Every pitcher is going to miss a little bit. When you miss against him, the ball is getting hit hard somewhere. He's a great hitter."

It was only the Reds’ fourth win in their last 14 games. It was the Brewers’ first loss all season in 49 games when leading after eight innings.

Since the All-Star break, Suarez has hit safely in nine of 11 games with six home runs.

“We get to see him every day and he's just turning himself into such a good player and a good hitter,” Bell said. “There's no question, there's no hesitation on his part to ever want to be up in a big spot like that. He believes in his ability and he wants to be the guy in that position and that's really the approach you have to take. It doesn't always work out, but if you have that approach, you're going to come through. He's a big-time player.”