Reds' bid for rally in ninth thwarted by catch
Votto robbed of go-ahead two-run homer on leaping grab by Gomez
MILWAUKEE -- One fantastic game-ending play on Monday night brought two players to their knees for different reasons.
Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez hit the ground in quick prayer and lasting elation. The Reds' Joey Votto could only squat down briefly in disappointment and disbelief.
Gomez's leaping catch at the fence in the bottom of the ninth robbed Votto of a two-run homer that would have put the Reds ahead by a run. Instead, it sealed a 4-3 loss to the Brewers and gave Cincinnati three losses in its last four games.
"I was pretty surprised," Votto said. "I thought off the bat it was going to be a non-catch. He went up and made a pretty big play in the game."
Votto initially protested the last out, because Gomez didn't show the ball in his glove after he reached over the fence for the catch.
"I just wanted to confirm that he had it," Votto said.
Instead, Gomez had raised his bare hand in the air before turning his back to the field.
"When I jumped and I felt the ball in my glove, I threw my hands up like, 'I got it!'" Gomez said. "Then I do the thing that I do all the time [where he kneels and performs the sign of the cross]. Votto still was looking at the umpires and I said, 'Here's the ball right here, what do you want?'
"In that situation, when you save the game like that, or when you hit a walk-off home run, it's amazing. I've never hit one, but I've caught a home run ball to win the game ... it's something special. You can't wait to get home and see it over and over."
The Reds would probably rather forget that such video exists.
"We were just hoping it got far enough over the wall," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We could tell he had a bead on it. You don't go back like that if the ball is way out of the ballpark. He made a great play, timed it perfectly and brought it back. It was a bad feeling."
Also quickly forgotten were any thoughts of Homer Bailey matching former Reds pitcher Johnny Vander Meer's 75-year-old feat of back-to-back no-hitters in 1938. Bailey, who dealt the second no-hitter of his career against the Giants in Cincinnati last Tuesday, had more pressing issues, like beating a Brewers team he's rarely fared well against.
His latest outing was no exception.
Two batters into the first inning, Milwaukee's Jean Segura hit a single to right field. Two batters later, with two outs, Jonathan Lucroy hit an 0-1 pitch to left field for a two-run homer and 2-1 Brewers lead.
It was the fourth straight game that a Reds opponent homered in the first inning.
"He battled like a dog," Baker said. "He got out of some tough jams. The sad part was, he was almost out of those jams every time, especially early."
Segura hit a two-out RBI double to right field in the second inning and Milwaukee's fourth run crossed in the third inning on Rickie Weeks' two-out double to right-center field to make it a 4-1 game.
"We had two outs and just couldn't put them away," Bailey said. "We had some long counts and they had some really good at-bats up there. It's weird -- this team has kind of had my number. It's kind of one of those unexplainable things."
Bailey finished having allowed four runs and 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings, with three walks and three strikeouts. In 13 starts lifetime against Milwaukee, Bailey is 1-7 with a 5.92 ERA -- including 0-3 with a 6.33 ERA in five starts at Miller Park.
The Reds collected three two-out hits against Kyle Lohse in the first inning, including Jay Bruce's RBI single to right field for the game's first run. Another two-out RBI came in the top of the fourth, when Chris Heisey ripped a 1-1 pitch to left field for a solo homer.
Following a double play in the seventh, the Reds kept the pressure on the Brewers, as pinch-hitter Cesar Izturis and Shin-Soo Choo hit singles.
After Lohse was lifted for reliever John Axford, Xavier Paul pinch-hit for Zack Cozart and lifted an RBI single to right field that made it a 4-3 game. But Votto struck out against Axford to end the inning. The Reds left runners on first and second against Jim Henderson in the eighth.
A two-out walk to Derrick Robinson by closer Francisco Rodriguez brought Votto back for one more chance. He ripped a 2-2 pitch over the 400-foot mark at the center field wall.
Had it traveled 402 feet, there is likely a different conversation postgame.
"It was my first experience with that. It was kind of a random way to end the game," Votto said. "I hit a ball that in all likelihood was going to put us up. It'd be an actual homer over the fence and have the center fielder take it away from you -- one, ironically, I'm probably going to play beside at the All-Star Game -- the whole thing is really a random occurrence and what makes baseball so special.
"Carlos has had a fantastic year this year. He didn't have a good game offensively, and he goes out and makes a game-changing play on the defensive end. I did everything I could. He made a great play and kudos to him. More than anything, I was disappointed that we lost. It would have been a really nice way to sneak it out after trailing just about the entire game."