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Reds deal blow to Crew in Wild Card race

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- With a wire-to-wire win on Wednesday, the Reds dealt another blow to the Brewers' hopes of a postseason trip.

Joey Votto and Tucker Barnhart homered, Homer Bailey pitched a season-high seven innings and the Reds spoiled fan appreciation night at Miller Park with a 6-0 win on Wednesday. It pushed the Brewers further down the National League Wild Card standings on the same night the Cubs clinched the NL Central.

Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- With a wire-to-wire win on Wednesday, the Reds dealt another blow to the Brewers' hopes of a postseason trip.

Joey Votto and Tucker Barnhart homered, Homer Bailey pitched a season-high seven innings and the Reds spoiled fan appreciation night at Miller Park with a 6-0 win on Wednesday. It pushed the Brewers further down the National League Wild Card standings on the same night the Cubs clinched the NL Central.

Full Game Coverage

The Rockies had already routed the Marlins earlier in the day to strengthen their grip of the second NL Wild Card spot when the Brewers made their final out. Milwaukee fell 2 1/2 games behind Colorado with four games to go. The Cardinals, who host the Brewers this weekend at Busch Stadium, are still mathematically alive at 3 1/2 games back.

"There are so many guys on that other team that I respect," Bailey said of the Brewers. "And playing against them for so long -- whether it's Neil Walker, Ryan Braun and those guys -- seeing them have their run is really good, and I wish them the best of luck as people. But it was my last start and I'm sorry-not sorry. I wanted to go out there and do well."

• Bailey finishes 2017 on high note

Video: CIN@MIL: Bailey retires Aguilar to preserve shutout

While Bailey scattered four hits and three walks to go with four strikeouts, the Reds roughed up rookie Brandon Woodruff. Votto homered with two outs in the first inning and Barnhart went deep to lead off what became a five-run third. All six of those runs were charged to Woodruff, who had a 1.52 ERA after his first four Major League starts but has surrendered 19 earned runs on 26 hits in in 19 1/3 innings over his last four outings.

"It stings a little bit more at the end of the year in this type of race," Woodruff said. "You're trying to go out and give your team a chance to win. It hurts a little bit more, yeah."

Michael Lorenzen and Kevin Shackelford finished Cincinnati's eighth shutout victory this season while the club snapped its seven-game losing streak.

"Homer pitched great, the guys out of the bullpen pitched outstanding and kept a good offense down," Barnhart said. "That's what you've got to do, first and foremost. We were lucky we scored some runs early, got on them early and didn't let up."

Video: CIN@MIL: Shackelford retires Arcia, completes shutout

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bailey with the bat: After Barnhart's home run gave the Reds a 2-0 lead in the third inning, Bailey kept the line moving with a hard-hit double to the gap in right-center field that sparked a long rally against three Brewers pitchers. Votto cashed in with an RBI single against Woodruff, Scott Schebler singled home another run against Wei-Chung Wang and Adam Duvall lifted a sacrifice fly against Carlos Torres to make it 6-0 before the Reds made their ninth out of the night.

"Any big innings in the National League often revolve around the pitcher getting on base. You've got to make that spot an out," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It removes a lot of big inning potential. Certainly, the hit from him turns the lineup over and it gets tough."

Video: CIN@MIL: Bailey smacks a double to right-center field

Don't test me: Trailing by six runs with two outs in the fourth inning and facing a Reds outfield that leads Major League Baseball in assists, Brewers third-base coach Ed Sedar opted to test the arm of Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton by waving home Travis Shaw on Orlando Arcia's single up the middle. Shaw was out at the plate, where Barnhart made a nice play to receive Hamilton's throw and swipe a tag as Shaw tried to slide by. It was the Reds' Major League-leading 40th outfield assist and Hamilton's 13th, tops among center fielders.

"A couple of years ago, I would have gotten absolutely demolished there at the plate, for sure, because [the throw] led me up the line a little bit," Barnhart said. "But we've got the best throwing outfield in the league. It's just facts. I like my chances whenever a guy in our outfield comes up throwing. I like our chances, whatever base it's at."

Video: CIN@MIL: Hamilton fires home to throw out Shaw

Did Sedar make a mistake by waving Shaw home?

"Well, look, the score obviously matters and we have to be cautious there," Counsell said. "[Hamilton] made a perfect throw and that's what it took. It is two outs, so obviously nothing is guaranteed after that. We are going to be more aggressive with two outs. When you are down six, it costs you."

Video: CIN@MIL: Counsell discusses what led to the 6-0 loss

QUOTABLE
"They have a balanced lineup, speed, all the other stuff. They have different ways to beat you. We took a big lead but didn't give anything back. The play that Billy made was big. You give these guys and inch they'll take a mile, the way they play. We were able to not allow them to get excited." -- Reds manager Bryan Price, on Hamilton's important outfield assist

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In the Brewers' fifth inning, Brett Phillips led off with a liner to left field where Duvall made a nice run and diving catch. According to Statcast™, it was a four-star catch as it had a 29 percent catch probability. Duvall had to hustle 54 feet in 3.6 seconds to snare the ball. It was his 16th catch of the season that rated four or five stars in 2017, trailing only Byron Buxton, Ender Inciarte and Mookie Betts.

Video: CIN@MIL: Duvall lays out in left to take away a hit

INJURY REPORT
Reds shortstop Zack Cozart exited the game before the bottom of the third inning with tightness in his right quad and was replaced by Jose Peraza. Cozart has had intermittent issues with his quad most of the season, including two stints on the disabled list. The club has taken extra precautions with the injury throughout the second half.

"It's not nearly as bad as I had earlier in the year," Cozart said. "I don't think I'll play [Thursday], but I will be back in there on Friday."

For the Brewers, Eric Thames fouled a pitch off his right foot in the eighth and had to exit in the middle of the at-bat. He hit the ground in obvious pain and was helped to the dugout by a member of Milwaukee's athletic training staff. X-rays were negative, but Thames wasn't sure he would be in the lineup Thursday.

• Thames' injury caps Brewers' bad day

Video: CIN@MIL: Thames exits after a foul ball off his leg

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Brewers' best chance to get to Bailey came right off the top, when Thames singled and Walker walked to start the bottom of the first inning. Braun followed with a grounder to shortstop and it initially appeared he won the race to first base to avoid a double play. The Reds challenged, and Braun was called out upon review, giving Bailey the second out of what became a scoreless inning.

Video: CIN@MIL: Reds challenge, turn two in the 1st

WHAT'S NEXT
Reds: In the 4:10 p.m. ET series finale, rookie Sal Romano will get the chance to put a bow on his rookie season while making another bid to show he belongs in the 2018 rotation. Romano is 3-2 with a 2.95 ERA over his last seven starts but did not pitch well Friday vs. the Red Sox, lasting four innings and allowing five earned runs, five hits and four walks while striking out three in a 5-4 loss.

Brewers: Their division hopes mathematically dashed, the Brewers will chase the Wild Card behind left-hander Brent Suter on Thursday in the final regular-season home game at Miller Park. Suter's first pitch against the Reds is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. CT.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

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.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.