My guy did it again! Pinch hitter Brayan Pena hit a go ahead two-run home run in the eighth inning, and right-hander Homer Bailey pitched eight solid innings, helping the Cincinnati Reds to an 8-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in the opener of a four-game series.
Third baseman Todd Frazier hit a two-run home run and rookie catcher Tucker Barnhart connected on his first career homer for Cincinnati.
Bailey retired 12 of 13 in one stretch before allowing three straight singles, including a two-run double by center fielder Carlos Gomez, which tied the score at 3 in the seventh. He walked one and struck out four.
Brewers starter Marco Estrada walked four of six batters in one stretch, including right-fielder Jay Bruce just ahead of Frazier’s two-run homer in the sixth that put the Reds ahead 3-1.
Estrada allowed three runs, all on home runs, walked four and struck out six in six innings.
In the seventh, Milwaukee handed the game to its reliable bullpen, which owned the fourth-best ERA in the major leagues.
In the eighth, Pena connected on a Jim Henderson’s first pitch into the visitors bullpen in right field to put Cincinnati ahead 5-3.
Henderson allowed five earned runs and four hits in two-thirds of an inning.
Right-hander Rob Wooten, walked Frazier with the bases loaded to force home the Reds’ sixth run. Left-fielder Ryan Ludwick followed with a two-run single making it 8-3.
Thursday’s game began with center fielder Billy Hamilton making a hell of a diving catch on Gomez’s line drive to center. Hamilton, who was holding his wrist after the catch, remained in the game but was replaced by Chris Heisey when the Reds came to bat in the bottom half of the inning.
Gomez returned the favor when he made a leaping grab of first baseman Joey Votto’s drive up against the center-field wall.
Milwaukee hit Bailey hard in second inning, collecting three straight singles, including a RBI hit by shortstop Jean Segura that put the Brewers up 1-0.
After the rough second inning, Bailey only allowed one hit and struck out two in the next three innings.
The Reds tied the score on Barnhart’s first career homer off Estrada leading off the fifth.
Solid win, it’s huge to get the first in this important four game series against a team you are chasing in the standings.
Tomorrow night both teams are back it, Mike Leake will take the mound for the Reds. First pitch is at 7:10pm
UPDATE: Reds closer Aroldis Chapman made his first rehab start for Class A Dayton tonight, throwing 18 pitches, 11 for strikes, with two strikeouts in one inning. Cincinnati placed starter Tony Cingrani on the 15-disabled list with left shoulder tendinitis and recalled RHP Curtis Partch from Triple-A Louisville.