Crew shows heart, but can't overcome big deficit
MILWAUKEE -- With more than half of their 2018 home run total hit by players sidelined with injuries, the Brewers managed just two singles off Luis Castillo through the first six innings and couldn't overcome a nine-run deficit en route to a 10-4 loss to the Reds on Monday night at Miller Park to open a seven-game homestand.
Castillo (1-2), who entered with a 7.31 ERA after his first three starts, improved to 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA in three career starts against the Brewers.
"We got something going late, but especially the first time through the order, he got through us pretty good and quickly, in probably about 30, 35 pitches," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's been tough against us, for sure."
The Reds scored three runs in the second off starter Brent Suter (1-2), then pounded the Brewers' bullpen to notch just their third victory against 13 losses. The Brewers were without Eric Thames and his team-best five homers; as well as starters Ryan Braun, Christian Yelich and Manny Pina. The four had accounted for 10 of Milwaukee's 18 home runs.
"Just a couple pitches I want back, because I was pounding the strike zone pretty well," said Suter, who threw 53 of his 69 pitches for strikes. "I think my strike percentage was as high as it's been, so a little bit frustrating result-wise, for sure."
Trailing 9-0, Brewers reliever Jorge Lopez was left in to bat with two outs in the seventh and responded with his first career hit, a bases-loaded double to make it 9-2 and end Castillo's outing.
Rookie catcher Jacob Nottingham, called up earlier in the day, had worked a two-out walk in his first big league at-bat to load the bases for Lopez. Nottingham then scored on a wild pitch, and Lopez came home on Jonathan Villar's single.
Milwaukee's best opportunity with the game still in reach came in the fifth with the Reds up 3-0. Hernan Perez walked with one out. Orlando Arcia singled Perez to third and took second on the throw. After Castillo struck out Jett Bandy, pinch-hitter Eric Sogard narrowly missed a home run when he jerked a 2-2 pitch just to the right of the right-field foul pole. Castillo then retired Sogard on a grounder to first.
"I thought we had a chance to score in the fifth with Sogard, and it was probably about five feet from tying the game," Counsell said.
The Reds then jumped on reliever Oliver Drake in a six-run sixth that included four doubles to push the lead to 9-0. Adam Duvall and former Brewer Scooter Gennett opened the inning with consecutive doubles. Gennett was erased in a rundown between second and third on Phillip Ervin's fielder's choice. Phil Gosselin was intentionally walked with two outs to get to Castillo, who responded with a two-strike RBI single down the right-field line. Billy Hamilton singled in another run to make it 6-0, and Jose Peraza and Joey Votto followed with back-to-back doubles.
"You give up a hit to the pitcher, it's obviously a big spot," Counsell said. "It's 4-0 at that point, it's certainly still a ballgame. His single only knocked in one, but then the rest of the inning, he was just unable to make a pitch to close it out."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Suter can't finish off Hamilton: Suter was within one pitch of escaping the second with just one run, but Hamilton punched a 1-2 pitch to right for a two-out, two-run single to make it 3-0.
"I was trying to go up and in, and it leaked back just a little bit middle to give him a chance," Suter said. "You've got to tip your hat. He put it in play for a two-RBI hit, so that was really the back-breaker."
Drake had allowed just one run in eight innings in his first six appearances for a 1.13 ERA. After his rough inning Monday, his ERA ballooned to 7.00.
HE SAID IT
"When I hit that ball, I didn't see what was going on," Lopez said of his first hit. "I thought it was foul or something because I didn't see where it was going. I just kept running. Seeing those guys running, I just kept following."
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Braun, held out of the starting lineup due to back tightness, legged out what was called a pinch-hit single in the ninth after second baseman Gennett made a diving stop behind second and threw to first. But the call was overturned after a 52-second review.
Veteran right-hander Junior Guerra, recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on April 11, makes his second start of the season Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. CT vs. the Reds. He allowed one run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings in his first start in St. Louis, but got a no-decision in the Brewers' 3-2 victory. After a surprising 9-3 record in 2016, Guerra was the Brewers' Opening Day starter last season, but he posted a 1-4 record and 5.12 ERA, battled injuries and was eventually sent to Triple-A. Sal Romano is expected to start for Cincy.