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Sonny Gray leads Reds to MLB-high 7th shutout

Reds score 3 in 1st inning to back right-hander
May 22, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- Before Tuesday night, Sonny Gray’s first season in Cincinnati hadn’t exactly gone the way he, or the Reds, had hoped. Gray was winless in his first nine starts and had a 4.30 ERA. But against the Brewers, the right-hander offered a glimpse of what once made him one

MILWAUKEE -- Before Tuesday night, Sonny Gray’s first season in Cincinnati hadn’t exactly gone the way he, or the Reds, had hoped. Gray was winless in his first nine starts and had a 4.30 ERA.

But against the Brewers, the right-hander offered a glimpse of what once made him one of the game's best young pitching talents, as well as what the Reds hoped he could be again when they acquired him from the Yankees during the offseason -- and signed him to an extension.

Box score

The right-hander tied a season high with nine strikeouts and didn't allow a run in six innings of work as the Reds opened a five-game National League Central road trip with a 3-0 victory over the Brewers at Miller Park. It was Cincinnati's MLB-leading seventh shutout of the season.

"It's taken a while to get here," Gray said. "Hopefully, this is something I can build on and I'm able to put a few good starts together."

Gray gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the first to Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain, but he didn't allow another hit until Brandon Woodruff's two-out pinch-hit single in the fifth. In between, he had to work through his command at times and walked four batters, one off his season high.

"I was pitching with traffic on base all night but I was able to make good pitches and get out of some tough spots," Gray said.

Gray allowed two singles in each of his last two innings but struck out five batters in those two frames to limit the damage, leaving manager David Bell impressed.

"It's one thing when you're throwing the ball right where you want it and commanding everything the whole game, but to do what he did tonight without his best command, he just competed," Bell said. "He was determined to get us to that point of the game with the lead, and it was nice to get him the win."

Cincinnati's offense staked Gray to an early lead putting three first-inning runs on the board against Milwaukee left-hander Gio Gonzalez. Nick Senzel got it started with a leadoff triple, and then he scored on a wild pitch to put the Reds on the baord. Phillip Ervin doubled in Eugenio Suarez to make it a 2-0 game, and Ervin scored on Kyle Farmer fielder's choice.

Cincinnati didn't record another hit until Joey Votto's two-out single in the eighth inning, but the early offense was not only more than enough for Gray, but also for relievers David Hernandez, Amir Garrett and Raisel Iglesias, who allowed two combined baserunners while striking out five over the game's final three innings.

"Can't say enough about the job our pitching did, and we had what we needed offensively in the first inning," Bell said.

The victory marked Cincinnati’s first against Milwaukee this season. The Reds were swept in a three-game series earlier this season at Great American Ball Park and had dropped seven of the last eight meetings with the Brewers, who had a six-game home winning streak snapped and were shut out for the first time this season.