A forgettable trip concluded with the Reds taking a 5-1 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon to finish a sweep at Miller Park. Combined with being swept at Yankee Stadium as well, Cincinnati's season-high losing streak is now at six, while the club has dropped to 5 1/2 games behind first-place Milwaukee in the National League Central.
"Anybody that watches our six games on this road trip would understand we're not playing as we were leading into the break," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We're not scoring a lot of runs. We're not getting terribly efficient starting pitching. And we know we're a better club than we've represented in the last six games."
Still missing Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips and lacking production from Jay Bruce, the Reds have scored only 12 runs over the last six games. Pitching wise, they have gotten just one quality start while the rotation has gone 0-4.
"Offensively, we averaged two runs a game. That's not going to cut it," third baseman Todd Frazier said. "We depend on our pitchers, and they're pitching great. When we depend on them, we have to also produce. I just think we made some mistakes and couldn't produce offensively in these first six games. We just need to keep battling and understand that we're good hitters."
The last time the Reds had been swept in a series by the Brewers was Aug. 6-8, 2012, also at Miller Park. This season, Cincinnati had won all three of the previous series over Milwaukee.
"They've given us some problems all year," said Brewers first baseman Mark Reynolds, who hit two home runs in the game. "It probably helped us that we missed Johnny Cueto and Alfredo Simon, but their other pitchers are really good, too. I think it's good getting some confidence, knowing we can beat these guys, and now really have that in the back of our heads that they've been wearing us out all year."
Reds starter Mike Leake allowed four earned runs and a season-high-tying 11 hits over six innings, with no walks and four strikeouts.
For only the second time during this road trip, the Reds took a lead when they scored the game's first run in the fifth inning. Against Kyle Lohse, Skip Schumaker hit a leadoff single and Ramon Santiago walked. The rally yielded only one run, however, on Billy Hamilton's sacrifice fly to right field.
Milwaukee responded quickly with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Lohse lined a one-out single to left field and scored when next batter Carlos Gomez's drive near the right-field line was missed by a diving Bruce. Gomez reached third base with a RBI triple. Ryan Braun's two-out infield hit to second base scored the go-ahead run.
Leake surrendered a leadoff double to left field by Rickie Weeks in the sixth. There was one out when Reynolds made it a three-run game by pulling a 1-1 fastball over the left-field fence for a two-run homer. Reynolds added a solo shot in the eighth against reliever Jumbo Diaz.
"They hit a few balls hard and a few balls that weren't hard that found holes," Leake said. "Really, the Weeks double and Reynolds home run were the two I would like to take back. I still felt like I threw the ball pretty decent. Unfortunate stuff, and I missed a couple of spots."
The Reds, who have also dropped a season-high nine road games in a row, haven't begun the second half of a season with six straight losses since going 0-8 following the 1991 All-Star break. They hadn't gone winless on a road trip of at least six games since July 20-26, 2009.
Heading into this year's break, the Reds won eight of 11 and trailed Milwaukee by a 1 1/2 games. The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline falls in exactly one week, which Leake thinks could potentially benefit the club.
"Don't get me wrong. We're all trying. We're all working hard," Leake said. "We have two of our best players, if not the two best players, that are rehabbing right now. It's tough on us. We either have to pick it up or get help. There's only one of two ways to go about it. We'll see what happens."
The Reds will get a day off on Thursday before another task begins. They will open a homestand with a three-game series against the Nationals -- another first-place team.
"I think a day off is good," Frazier said. "Clear the mind and hopefully we can get back on track where were against Pittsburgh, coming back in games. When we get guys over, we have to score. Offensively, it just wasn't clicking."