MILWAUKEE -- The box score from a wild 11-7 Reds victory over the Brewers on Friday at Miller Park will show some big hits and important add-on runs from Cincinnati’s lineup to extend the club’s season-high winning streak to six games. But Derek Dietrich’s 0-for-1 night in five plate appearances stands out the most because of what the left fielder did with his other moments in the batter’s box.
Dietrich set a Reds record by being hit by a pitch three times, which is also enough to tie a Major League record. He also drew a walk and scored all four times, which was ultimately the difference in the game. According to Elias, Dietrich is the first player to be hit by pitches five times in a series of any length since Washington’s Jake Stahl in 1904.
There are still two games remaining in this four-game series in Milwaukee.
“It’s funny, the guys were asking me, ‘How many of those do you think you’re getting hit by and how many did you try to get hit by?’” Dietrich said. “I was like, ‘Well, I don’t really try to get hit by any of them. If they come up and in, they come up and in.’ It just kind of happens. It’s part of the game. I’ve never really shied away from it. Guys try to get out of the way. I don’t try to get out of the way. I hold my ground. I stay in the box.
“Getting on base is big whether it’s a walk, hit, hit by pitch, it doesn’t matter. When you’re on base, you’re creating chaos. The way we’re hitting now, it’s important.”
With his three hit-by-pitches, Dietrich now leads the Majors with 14 this season. After the second one, Brewers manager Craig Counsell came out to argue that he was leaning into the pitches.
"It's the umpire's judgment if he is intentionally putting himself into the balls. I don't know, but the second one, especially,” Counsell said. “But that's what he does. He's done it his whole career. And he gets hit a lot because of it. In Major League Baseball, I don't know when I've seen [an umpire call it]."
All of the pitches that hit Dietrich caught the left-handed hitter somewhere on his right arm, where he wears a protective shield. The third one left a small gash on his bicep that was still bleeding after the game. If the bruises were being worn like a badge of honor, the biggest one was on his right foot from being hit by a pitch on Thursday.
“Look at this one,” Dietrich showed, taking off his flip-flop and showing a red mark on top of his foot. “That one hurts worse. The toe hurts. The arm, hits the guard, misses the guard, I’ve been hit enough on the arm. The best part about it is, I scored every single time.”
Brewers starter Chase Anderson opened the game laboring and after a one-out walk, he hit both Eugenio Suarez and Dietrich to load the bases. A Yasiel Puig walk forced in a run, and Jose Iglesias’ two-run bloop single into shallow center field made it a 3-0 game.
Dietrich led off the third inning and was again hit by Anderson. Then with one out, Jose Peraza hit a two-run triple to the right-field corner. Things got tense in the seventh when Milwaukee reliever Junior Guerra almost hit Dietrich with a first-pitch fastball. On the second pitch, another fastball, Guerra drilled him just above the right elbow. Dietrich stared at Guerra and the two appeared to exchange some words. Home-plate umpire Jansen Visconti walked between them and kept order.
“I wasn’t really upset,” Dietrich said. “I know he wasn’t trying to hit me on purpose, at least I hope not. Maybe they’re game planning to go hard in or something like that. After two, it’s just like, ‘OK, enough already.’ If he would’ve hit me again, I would’ve been like, ‘There’s history,’ and I would’ve taken my base and hopefully scored another run. It’s all good.”
It proved to be a key moment of the game as the Reds saw their 6-1 lead after four innings shrink to two runs in the fifth. Curt Casali drew another bases-loaded walk and Kyle Farmer delivered a two-run single to right field.
“Dietrich, I don’t know how to explain that,” Reds manager David Bell said. “I’ve seen other guys have that -- I don’t know if it’s an ability or inability to get out of the way or whatever -- but that was actually a big part of the game.”
In the eighth inning, Dietrich was on first base with a two-out walk against Corbin Burnes when Yasiel Puig slugged a two-run homer that was projected by Statcast to have traveled 453 feet. It was his second-longest homer since Statcast started tracking them in 2015.
Dietrich offered no apologies for how he reached base.
“I think if you get hit by a pitch, you get hit by a pitch and you take your bag,” he said. “I mean, that’s the way I see it. I’m looking to hit pitches in the zone, so if it’s not and it hits me, it must not be in the zone. I know the guys behind me appreciate it, and I’ve always kind of embraced that. It’s a dubious honor. I guess I made history tonight, a little Crash Davis type. Bull Durham there, a little dubious history. All in all, six wins in a row, playing good ball and it’s been a lot of fun.”