MILWAUKEE -- Lucky breaks and goofy plays epitomized the first of two comeback efforts by the Reds on Tuesday night. Straight-up good hitting personified comeback No. 2.What did they both have in common? Scooter Gennett.It was Gennett's two-out home run in the ninth inning that put the Reds ahead for
MILWAUKEE -- Lucky breaks and goofy plays epitomized the first of two comeback efforts by the Reds on Tuesday night. Straight-up good hitting personified comeback No. 2.
What did they both have in common? Scooter Gennett.
It was Gennett's two-out home run in the ninth inning that put the Reds ahead for good in a 9-7 victory at Miller Park. His soft roller into no-man's land between the mound and shortstop also provided a 6-5 lead in a wild and wacky top of the fourth inning.
"I preferred the last one," Gennett said of the homer. "It's always good when we get a win. And that was a fun game. It was kind of back-and-forth a little bit. That one half-inning was pretty crazy. I don't think any of us have really seen anything happen like that all in one inning. It was good to be on the right side of that."
The Reds and starting pitcher Sal Romano were down, 4-0, after one inning before they staged a wild comeback with seven runs over the third and fourth innings. Only two of the seven runs in those innings were earned against Brewers starter Junior Guerra.
Romano, who came into the game 1-for-33 on the season, lined an RBI single to right field for the Reds' first run. He later scored when right fielder Eric Thames bobbled Phillip Ervin's single, and Gennett's sacrifice fly made it a one-run game. Romano gave up a Travis Shaw homer to begin the bottom of the third, but he retired nine of his last 10 batters and the final seven in a row to keep his team in the game.
The fourth inning featured a cornucopia of wacky plays that helped the Reds storm back. With runners on the corners and one out, Brandon Dixon grounded to third base for a fielder's choice play. But Mike Moustakas short-hopped the throw to the plate for an error that allowed Mason Williams to score. With two out, Cincinnati notched three consecutive infield hits with Ervin's being the luckiest of the three. His would-have-been third-out line drive towards Shaw near second base instead struck umpire Hunter Wendelstedt and changed course. It was ruled a dead ball, but still an RBI single for Ervin that made it 5-5.
"I feel like things are going my way a little bit right now, especially when I hit the ball and it's going straight to the second baseman," Ervin said. "Definitely happy about it."
Standing on second base after Ervin's good fortune, Billy Hamilton couldn't believe it.
"You look up and the second baseman is right there where the ball would have been. It was hit right to him," Hamilton said. "You think, 'This inning has to be our inning. We have to do something with this inning. It's just like made for us.'"
Next was Gennett's single for the go-ahead run. He was fortunate to even get a chance to bat since two pitches before, catcher Erik Kratz had Dixon picked off at third base with a good throw until Moustakas dropped the ball to keep the inning alive.
The inning's ninth batter, Eugenio Suarez, swung at a strike when a passed ball scored Hamilton.
"It was probably one of the craziest innings I've been in baseball," Hamilton said. "We get three infield singles and one hits the umpire, and you get a passed ball, and the guy goes back to third and misses it at third. It's like, 'I have no idea. It's just a crazy inning.' It's definitely one of the top ones I've been a part of. I'm glad it just worked out on our end. It helped us out, big time."
"A lot of good things happened throughout the game and then a lot of ... a missed hit-and-run, didn't get bunts down, details of the game that we have to clean up and you're usually not going to win those games," interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We had a man on second, nobody out, and didn't get him over. It looked like it was going to come back to haunt us because they scored two to tie it up."
Cincinnati took a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the eighth when David Hernandez opened the door by giving up a leadoff home run to pinch-hitter Jonathan Schoop, followed by Kratz's single. With one out, closer Raisel Iglesias yielded Ryan Braun's tying RBI double through the gap in left-center field.
After right-handed reliever Trevor Williams retired the first two Reds in the ninth inning, the Brewers called on lefty Dan Jennings to face the left-handed-hitting Gennett. On Jennings' first pitch -- a hanging slider -- Gennett launched it to right field for his 19th homer of the season.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Hamilton's two-out hit back to Guerra had an exit velocity of only 61.5 mph, according to Statcast™, but it proved to be huge. The soft comebacker kissed off of Guerra's glove and got away to where no infielder could get to it in time. That loaded the bases and set up Ervin's game-tying hit.
"I was definitely happy about that situation," Hamilton said. "When you play like me and you're battling and trying to get hits, you take all of the hits you can get no matter how. It can be a dribbler the pitcher tries to barehand, you take all the hits. There weren't many hard hit balls that inning we had four runs and [five] hits. Most of them didn't get out of the infield."
HE SAID IT
"There's a lot of strange plays in that inning. That was one of the stranger innings you'll ever see. We had one out we could have gotten [at the plate]. If the ball doesn't hit the umpire it's a one-run inning. They get three runs after a ground ball hit right at one of our players. And then the ball didn't leave the infield. It was a strange inning. Squibber infield hits there was nothing we could do about. It was a crazy inning." -- Brewers manager Craig Counsell, on the top of the fourth inning
As the Reds expect to go back to a five-man rotation next week, Wednesday's start could be an important one for Robert Stephenson, who will face the Brewers at 2:10 p.m. ET in the series finale at Miller Park. Stephenson is 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA in his two big league starts since being recalled from Triple-A Louisville. He lasted a career-low 1 2/3 innings with four walks and 57 pitches in last Wednesday's no-decision against the Indians. Right-hander Freddy Peralta (5-4, 4.48 ERA) will start for Milwaukee.
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.