The Cincinnati Reds blew a four run lead in Milwaukee, but came back to beat the Brewers in the ninth on Friday, 6-5.
The win marked the third straight win in a row for Cincinnati (32-34) to bring them to within seven games of the first place Brewers (40-28). In fact, the Reds have won four of five against Milwaukee this season, also holding a three game win streak in the series.
Homer Bailey could not follow the quality starts of Johnny Cueto and Alfredo Simon, as he watched the bullpen give away the lead in the seventh. Matt Garza also lasted into the fifth inning despite allowing five runs, but only one of those were earned thanks to four Brewers' errors.
Garza had no one to blame but himself for the first error as he had Todd Frazier caught stealing, but his mishap allowed Frazier to advance to third. Two batters later Brandon Phillips scored him on an RBI single to make it a 1-0 game. Phillips was in the lineup despite leaving after the sixth when he injured he throwing hand while fielding.
The score stayed that way until the bottom of the fourth when Bailey was haunted by a two out walk to Carlos Gomez. Aramis Ramirez doubled home Gomez to tie the game at one, but the Brewers were looking for much more. Irving Falu had a chance to break the game open after back-to-back walks loaded the bases, but Bailey got him to pop out to short and end the threat.
Garza and the Brewers would not be so lucky in the top of the fifth as Zack Cozart singled and then moved on to third as Bailey not only laid down a successful sacrifice bunt, but also reached on another error by Garza. Frazier singled home Cozart while Joey Votto brought home Bailey for a 3-1 advantage. Phillips plated Frazier on a sac fly and Votto scored on a double by Jay Bruce that was aided by another error, this time by left fielder Khris Davis. Garza finally got Devin Mesoraco to fly out and end the inning.
Davis made up for his blunder in the seventh as he homered to right to start the inning against Bailey. Mark Reynolds and Logan Schafer each added singles to chase Bailey from the game with one out in the seventh.
Sam LeCure came on and continued his recent struggles by immediately allowing one of the inherited runners to score on a Scooter Gennett single. Gennett got himself into scoring position by stealing second, but Ryan Braun struck out for the second time in as many at bats. Jonathan Lucroy picked up the slack by singling home Schafer to cut the lead to one. Gomez tied the game at five when he doubled in Gennett to end LeCure's day. Logan Ondrusek came on and got Ramirez to ground out and end the long inning.
One-time Red Zach Duke worked a 1-2-3 eighth for Milwaukee, while Jonathan Broxton (2-0) worked around a two-out walk to hold the Brewers off the scoreboard. The ninth was not so kind to Francisco Rodriguez as he allowed a leadoff single to Cozart and then scored two batters later on single by Billy Hamilton. Hamilton swiped third, but was stranded their by Votto and Phillips to keep it a one run game.
Aroldis Chapman came on looking for his 11th save and did so by striking out two of the three hitters he faced in heart of the Brewers order. The two teams continue the series on Saturday as Yovani Gallardo (4-4, 3.71 ERA) squares off against Mat Latos (season debut) who is coming off the disabled list.
With Latos returning, the struggling Tony Cingrani will most likely be bounced from the rotation as the man who was supposed to be a fill in for Latos, Simon, is tied for the league lead in wins (9). Cingrani could see time in the bullpen or be sent down to work on his mechanics and right the left handers issues.