MILWAUKEE -- In baseball, there are insurance runs, and then there's the Reds' sixth inning on Saturday night at Miller Park.
En route to beating the Brewers, 11-5, Cincinnati posted eight runs in a decisive sixth, putting its first seven batters on base before recording an out. Highlighted by Eugenio Suárez's three-run homer off Michael Blazek, the Reds tied their season high for runs in an inning as 12 batters came to the plate.
"They don't happen often in this sport, eight runs and going from a 1-0 game to a 9-0 game," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "That was really big. And we had to weather some storms after that. We weren't mowing them down after that. They came on themselves and swung the bat well, hit some homers and hit some balls really well. We never felt like we had really secured the game completely until the last out."
The Reds' outburst marked a rare blemish for Brewers starter Zach Davies, who had allowed 10 earned runs over his last six starts but yielded five runs over five innings Saturday.
"It went pretty smoothly in the first five being able to keep them off-balance, but then the sixth inning came around and it kind of fell apart," Davies said.
Joey Votto remained otherwordly at the dish with a 4-for-5 performance that included two doubles and two RBIs. The first baseman's .506 OBP since June 1 ranks first in the Major Leagues. For the Brewers, Scooter Gennett also tallied a four-hit night, matching his career high.
Dan Straily dipped out of trouble for most of the night, giving up two runs while scattering 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings to improve to 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA over his last six starts. Since the All-Star break, the Reds have won each of those six starts.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After botched bunt, Suarez goes deep: The Reds' big rally had already collected two runs when Suarez tried to squeeze bunt with runners on the corners. But it didn't work as Suarez fouled off the attempt as Brandon Phillips bolted for home. That proved to be good for the Reds as two pitches later, Suarez slugged Blazek's 2-1 pitch for the three-run homer to left field -- his 19th long ball of the season. It turned out that the squeeze bunt wasn't supposed to be on.
"It was a miscommunication," Price said. "I'm sending signs to Billy [Hatcher, third-base coach], who is in turn giving them to the hitters. We just wanted them to think there was a chance we could squeeze. We weren't trying to squeeze there. I think I inadvertently put the squeeze on, and Billy saw it and everyone got the sign. With nobody out in that situation, a squeeze play isn't a great idea, especially with Geno. ... It would have caught them all by surprise, certainly myself. I'm watching Brandon go down the line, going, 'What did I just do?'"
Miscue ball: Much went awry for the Brewers during the top of the sixth, including a series of defensive mishaps. Neither Davies nor Blazek had recorded an out by the time Straily came to the plate as the inning's seventh batter and laid down a sacrifice bunt. Catcher Martín Maldonado was unable to tag Straily, then fired off the mark trying to get the force at second. Shortstop Orlando Arcia, on the receiving end of Maldonado's throw, committed the second error on the play by throwing away a relay attempt to first. Later in the frame, Hernán Pérez misplayed a Votto line drive that contributed to another run scoring.
"We didn't play well these two games," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "That's too games in a row where we played poorly and mainly defensively, we got to play better. There's going to be mistakes made, but there's times in the game when we've got to make plays to cut an inning off or to cut a rally off. And the last two nights, we've had some chances to squash those innings and we made a mistake to keep it going."
Votto remains afire: Votto's average ticked above .300 for the first time in 2016 to a season-high .301 with his four-hit night. In the third inning after Billy Hamilton's one-out triple, Votto banged a single to left field for the game's first run. He had two more hits in the wild sixth inning, including the poorly played line drive to right field by Perez that was scored as a RBI double. In the eighth, Votto notched another double to the left-field wall that Ryan Braun was not able to catch. More >
Going yard: With homers by Braun and Maldonado, the Brewers have gone deep in 16 consecutive games. Braun notched his eighth career 20-plus homer season with a solo shot that got the Crew on the board in the sixth. A slider from Straily that caught too much of the plate became Braun's sixth homer in 10 games this month. Maldonado launched a two-run blast in the eighth to center field that made the score 11-4. Since trading away All-Star Jonathan Lucroy, the Milwaukee catching tandem of Maldonado and Manny Piña is batting .302 with a .434 OBP and three homers.
"Especially when you play more often, your timing is better," Maldonado said. "As a guy like Pina, he was playing every day day [in the Minors], so he's pretty good on timing. For me it took a couple weeks, but these couple of I've been feeling better every time I go up there." More >
"It was 1-0 going into the sixth inning then they put up the snowman, as Bryan put it in the dugout. You can't let those kind of ballgames slip away from you. I went out there and gave up a couple of hits in a row. They hit some pretty good pitches. The Braun home run was right down the middle ... good for you. The other guys hit some pretty good pitches. It was just one of those things where the offense tonight really carried the team and we did just a good enough job pitching to win the game." -- Straily
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With the league's top two base stealers hitting leadoff on Saturday, there was sure to be action on the basepaths. Jonathan Villar was thrown out trying to steal third base in the first, but the Brewers challenged the call. The call made by third-base umpire Bill Miller stood.
In the fourth inning with two outs, Perez slugged a double off the wall in right field that brought Gennett home from first base. After a nice relay from Scott Schebler to Phillips to catcher Tucker Barnhart, Gennett was called safe at the plate. But the Reds challenged the call and it was overturned when replays showed that Barnhart applied the tag before Gennett touched home.
Reds: Rookie Cody Reed (0-6, 6.36 ERA) will make another bid for his first Major League win when the series concludes at 2:10 p.m. ET Sunday. Reed is coming off of the best start of his short career with six scoreless innings and four hits on Monday vs. the Cardinals.
Brewers:Wily Peralta looks to light up the radar guns once again in his second start since his return from the Minors as the Crew attempts to avoid a sweep at 1:10 p.m. CT. Despite picking up a tough-luck loss, Peralta displayed swing-and-miss stuff, clocking his fastest pitch at 99.3 mph, according to Statcast™.
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