MILWAUKEE -- Matt Harvey threw everything he had at Manny Pina the third time he faced him on Wednesday. The Reds starter tried fastballs, sliders and changeups with varied locations. Pina just kept fouling everything off.The at-bat lasted 13 pitches with nine foul balls from Pina, seven coming with two
MILWAUKEE -- Matt Harvey threw everything he had at Manny Pina the third time he faced him on Wednesday. The Reds starter tried fastballs, sliders and changeups with varied locations. Pina just kept fouling everything off.
The at-bat lasted 13 pitches with nine foul balls from Pina, seven coming with two strikes. He was the clear winner of the clash, as pitch No. 13 -- a 3-2 slider -- resulted in a three-run home run that put Harvey away and gave the game its final score, handing the Reds in a 7-0 loss at Miller Park. Cincinnati dropped two out of three to a Milwaukee club that protected its lead in the National League Wild Card race and kept pressure on the Cubs in the NL Central.
"He's in that area where the hitters have seen you a few times and it's a 13-pitch at-bat," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "There's not much more he can throw up there. That was pretty much the ballgame right there."
Harvey pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits and two walks (one intentional) while striking out five.
"That's obviously not acceptable," Harvey said. "The whole start was just not good. I have to be better. It wasn't good. There's not much else to say."
Defensive miscues played a supporting role in leading to all of the runs. In the first inning, a passed ball by Tucker Barnhart led to the first run of the game. Christian Yelich went from second base to third on the play, and he scored when Jesus Aguilar hit an infield single that was stopped behind second base by a sliding Scooter Gennett.
Harvey didn't help himself in the third inning by opening the frame with a walk to Milwaukee starter Giovany Gonzalez. Two batters later, with one out, Yelich hit a slow grounder toward Harvey, who pivoted to second base for a potential force play on Gonzalez. But he didn't throw the ball to shortstop Jose Peraza, and first baseman Joey Votto made a move away from the base to attempt a play on the ball, so he couldn't cover first base when Harvey looked there.
Yelich, who passed Gennett in the race for the National League batting title on Tuesday, was gifted an infield hit by Cincinnati. Harvey accepted the blame.
"I fumbled a little, but it was one of those plays where you have to be better and know who's on first, know you have time," Harvey said. "Obviously, I didn't do a good job there and we weren't able to get one out. It was kind of a big part of the game."
"The inning got away from us from there," Riggleman said.
Two pitches later, an 0-1 fastball up and over the plate to Aguilar from Harvey was launched into the right-field seats for a three-run homer to right field and 4-0 Brewers lead.
Harvey then settled in and retired nine straight to keep the Reds in the game for a while. That stretch ended with one out in the sixth inning, when Domingo Santana lifted a fly ball to right-center field. Both Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler converged on the ball, but appearing to fear a collision, both pulled up and the ball fell in. It bounced past Schebler and rolled to the wall for a triple.
Following an intentional walk to Mike Moustakas was Harvey's lost showdown vs. Pina. The homer came on Harvey's 104th and final pitch of the evening.
"He threw me pitches inside, outside, I was fighting it off," Pina said. "I knew he was kind of tired. I thought, 'He's going to hang me a pitch.' That's the pitch I hit for a homer. … I needed it. My mind right now is on 'help the team to make the playoffs.' That's what we want right now, everybody."
Thus ended a nice stretch of starts for Harvey, who was 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA over his previous seven outings. He had completed six innings in each of his last three starts coming in. Harvey will finish 2018 with a 1-2 record and 7.20 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee.
"I felt good. The ball was coming out good. I made two bad pitches," Harvey said. "There were runners on and it cost us the game."
The Reds notched just two hits against Gonzalez, who dominated them for six innings on his 33rd birthday. Three Milwaukee relievers combined for three hitless innings to close the game.
Wednesday marked the fifth time this season that the Brewers shut out Cincinnati. The Reds haven't been shut out by a single team five times in one season since the Pirates also did it to them five times in 1960. The only other time Milwaukee shut out a team five times in a single season was '71, against the Angels.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
On the very first pitch of the game, Schebler lifted a pop fly into foul ground on the left side. Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia gave chase, covering 137 feet at a top sprint speed of 28.2 mph, according to Statcast™, and made the catch along the railing in front of a fan, who put his arms around Arcia and gave him a hug.
The last leg of the Reds final road trip of 2018 is in Miami, where the Reds will open a four-game series against the Marlins at 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday. Coming off of striking a career-high 10 batters over five scoreless innings in a loss to the Cubs on Saturday, left-hander Cody Reed will start for Cincinnati against right-hander Jeff Brigham.
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.