Abbott, Reds bested by 'one swing' against rival Brewers

June 16th, 2024

MILWAUKEE -- With a concert scheduled nearby later on Saturday, rapper Snoop Dogg visited American Family Field and threw a ceremonial first pitch for the Brewers. Then he joined their television broadcast for two innings.

It didn't take long for Snoop to get introduced to . Shaded towards the middle of the infield in the second inning, De La Cruz had to move quickly to his right to backhand scoop Brice Turang's grounder and then fling the ball across his body to first base. The speedy Turang was out to end the inning.

“Who is that with that rocket? Oh lord! He’s got a rocket in his pocket," Snoop said of De La Cruz.

As for the rest of the afternoon, the Reds could do little else to generate more superlatives from Snoop, or sustained offensive momentum for themselves, during a 3-1 loss to Milwaukee. It was Cincinnati's fewest runs scored since having one run in a May 28 loss to the Cardinals.

After pouncing on the Brewers for early runs and add-on runs during Friday's 6-5 win, the Reds were held scoreless until the ninth inning Saturday. De La Cruz drew a leadoff walk, stole second base and scored after a red-hot Jeimer Candelario hit an RBI double to the gap in left-center field.

Cincinnati batters had several hard-hit balls go right to the gloves of Milwaukee defenders. Most notably, in the seventh inning, pinch-hitter Stuart Fairchild was robbed of a hit when shortstop Willy Adames made a leaping grab of his line drive.

"That was impressive to shut this team out [for the first eight innings]. I mean, they're hot, and they're good. Our defense was great today," Brewers manager Pat Murphy said.

For Reds starter , the entire game came down to the bottom of the fifth inning. To open the inning, Abbott issued back-to-back walks to the eighth and ninth hitters -- Jackson Chourio and Turang.

Next was Joey Ortiz, who hit a 1-1 Abbott changeup to left-center field for a three-run home run to snap a scoreless tie.

“The homer was a good swing. Missed location," Abbott said. "One pitch doesn’t define an outing. The umpire before that kind of squeezed me on a couple of calls. It put me in a tough situation, but I have to make those pitches. I know that. It’s really unfortunate that it comes to that but it’s a game of baseball. You’re going to have moments like that and it helps you learn for next time.”

Overall, Abbott pitched five innings and allowed three earned runs, four hits and three walks with three strikeouts.

A 29-pitch first inning ran up Abbott's pitch count early. With two outs, Christian Yelich hit a single before Adames walked. He escaped on a foul popout to the catcher by Rhys Hoskins.

“I was glad I was able to hold them to zero," Abbott said. "That could have easily slipped away with a good team like that.”

Abbott finished with 94 pitches as his record dropped to 5-6 with a 3.42 ERA in 14 starts this season.

“First inning, he had to work hard," Reds manager David Bell said. "He settled in and was really good. Just the walks and the one pitch. Back-to-back changeups to Ortiz. He just left it up a little bit too much. Other than that, a pretty good day.”

On the heels of Friday's five-error defensive effort -- including three errors by De La Cruz -- the Reds played a better game in the field. After Yelich hit a slow chopper in the eighth inning, De La Cruz charged the ball and made a quick throw to get the runner by a half-step.

“If it’s possible to make those plays look easy, he did," Bell said of De La Cruz said. "It’s not lost on us watching those plays. Some of them, nobody else makes that. Defense is really important to us. We’ll just keep working and working and continue to improve.”

The loss slowed the 34-36 Reds' recent upward mobility and foiled an opportunity to get back to a .500 record for the first time since May 4.

“Any chance you get to get back to that and keep going, it’s disappointing not to get to it," Abbott said. "But there’s a lot of games left. We know how we’re playing. We’re playing really good. Just have to keep going, day-by-day. These division games are different. They’re hard. We all know that going in. You just got to bring your A-game every day.”