Reds squeak by Brewers on ninth-inning wild pitch
MILWAUKEE -- There were no offensive fireworks at Miller Park on Wednesday night. Johnny Cueto and Jimmy Nelson made sure of that.
Cueto, the Reds' ace, and Nelson, the Brewers' No. 5 starter who has pitched far above his standing, surrendered a run apiece before settling into a classic pitchers' duel for eight innings that was settled in the ninth after both had exited. Francisco Rodriguez's run-scoring wild pitch handed the Reds a 2-1 win and dealt the Brewers their eighth straight loss.
Billy Hamilton scampered home on Rodriguez's 55-foot changeup to make a winner of Cueto, who allowed one run on four hits in eight innings. When Aroldis Chapman converted the save, he positioned the Reds for a four-game sweep in Thursday's series finale.
"I told myself we're going to be the best baserunning team in baseball, not just by stolen bases," Hamilton said. "We're going to go first to third, tag on crazy popups, score on balls in the dirt, take the extra base. I knew for me to get first-to-third there with Todd Frazier coming up, our chances are really good. I did the job and we got the job done, and [it's] a big win for us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Man of steal: Hamilton opened the game with a single and stole his Majors-leading ninth base, then scored immediately on a Joey Votto base hit. The theft extended Cincy's club-record streak of 17 steals without a caught stealing to open the season. The Reds are chasing the Minnesota Twins of 2007, who opened the year 19 for 19. More >
What you balking about? Cueto was called for a balk by first-base umpire Angel Hernandez in the first, allowing Elian Herrera to move to second base. Herrera later scored when Adam Lind delivered a seeing-eye single through the right side with two outs. Cueto was tagged with a second balk in the second inning and became the first MLB pitcher to commit two balks in one game since Chris Hatcher of Miami on May 23, 2014, also against the Brewers. Cueto committed one balk in all of 2014. The last Reds player to commit two balks in one game: Chris Hammond on Aug. 18, 1990, against Pittsburgh.
Double the pleasure: Nelson stayed out of trouble early by inducing three double plays in the first five innings, including a critical twin-killing in the first inning after Hamilton and Votto led off the game with successive hits. Frazier, who hit one of the Reds' two grand slams the night before, hit a comebacker to Nelson for a 1-4-3 double play, and Nelson immediately settled in. He surrendered only one more hit through the eighth. More >
Eighth wonder: Cueto pitched into the eighth inning for the first time this season. After leadoff hitter Logan Schafer doubled and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, Cueto struck out Herrera, walked Ryan Braun, and punched out Lind on his career-high 125th pitch to preserve the tie. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
WIth the loss Wednesday, the Brewers became only the 14th National League team to lose 13 times in the span of its first 15 games, and the first since the 1998 D-backs. More >
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES
On Tuesday, the same teams playing in the same ballpark combined for 26 runs and seven home runs, including a trio of grand slams. On Wednesday, they managed only seven singles through the first seven innings, until Schafer led off Milwaukee's half of the eighth with a pinch-hit double.
"I'm whining a little bit here, but I tell you what, I'm tired of the pitches we're getting called on us. Call the pitches strikes when they're strikes. I'm tired of it. Last night was the same thing. The pitch on [Herrera for an eighth-inning strikeout] was high; the first pitch to [Khris] Davis in the last inning is on the white line and inside. [Chapman is] throwing 100 miles an hour, and the umpire is calling a strike on the white line on a pitch inside? Then Jason Rogers' is six inches outside to end the game. Come on." -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, with a rare comment on the umpiring
Reds: Homer Bailey makes his second start of the season after his return from the disabled list, looking to bounce back after allowing five runs to St. Louis in 5 1/2 frames.
Brewers: The Brewers begin their fourth turn through the starting rotation with Kyle Lohse, who has lost each of his first three starts while surrendering at least four runs in each outing. Thursday's series finale begins at 1:40 p.m. ET/12:40 p.m. CT.
Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.