Carlos Gomez continued to dazzle with his defensive play in center field Thursday night, but his heroics might have been costly for the Milwaukee Brewers. The All-Star made a tremendous leaping grab of a Brandon Phillips drive to lead off the fourth inning, but fell heavily into the base of the wall and left with a sprained knee. An MRI is scheduled for Friday morning.
That wasn’t the only bad news for the Brewers, who lost the opener of a seven-game homestand to the Cincinnati Reds 2-1.
Kyle Lohse (8-8) was the tough luck loser for the Crew despite delivering the team’s sixth consecutive quality start. Lohse allowed two runs, one earned, and five hits over seven innings, with four walks—three in the first inning—and four strikeouts.
He was the victim of some bad luck in the top of the fifth. Devin Mesoraco led off with a grounder up the middle that second baseman Jeff Bianchi got to. But Bianchi’s throw pulled first baseman Juan Francisco off the bag and into the path of Mesoraco, who got up and scrambled to second base when the ball rolled away from Francisco. Bianchi was hit with a throwing error for the extra bag—Milwaukee’s league-worst 92nd error of the season.
Zack Cozart made the Brewers pay for the miscue, singling up the middle to score Mesoraco. Logan Schafer, who replaced Gomez in center field, made a strong throw to the plate, but it short-hopped catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Mesoraco slid home safely to tie the game.
The Brewers had taken an early 1-0 lead on Khris Davis’ long home run to left field off Tony Cingrani in the top of the second. Davis’ drive nearly hit Bernie Brewer’s slide and was estimated at 458 feet. It was Davis’ fifth homer of the season.
It was also Cingrani’s lone mistake. The rookie left-hander worked 6.1 innings and allowed just four hits and a walk while striking out nine.
The Crew had chances, but couldn’t take advantage. After Bianchi led off the bottom of the third with a single to center, he got picked off first base by Cingrani with Lohse at the plate ready to sacrifice.
In the seventh, Milwaukee got its first two hitters on base. Lucroy singled to right-center and Aramis Ramirez walked. Schafer, who leads the Brewers with nine sacrifice bunts, popped up a bunt that Mesoraco was able to grab with a nice sliding catch in foul territory behind the plate.
That ended Cingrani’s night. Reliever Sam LeCure came in to face Davis and induced a comebacker that turned into a 1-4-3 double play to end the threat.
In the bottom of the eighth, Bianchi reached on a one-out infield single, but was thrown out at second base attempting to steal. Pinch-hitter Scooter Gennett struck out against reliever Jonathan Broxton to end the inning.
Against closer Aroldis Chapman in the ninth, Norichika Aoki led off with a single to center and after Jean Segura flied out to deep right field, Aoki stole second. But Chapman came back to strike out Lucroy and Ramirez to end it for his 30th save in 34 chances.
Bianchi helped keep the Crew in the game early, making a diving catch on a soft liner by Ryan Ludwick after the Reds had loaded the bases in the top of the first on three walks—one intentional—by Lohse.
Ramirez, in his third game back from the disabled list, is still working out the kinks at the plate. He is now 0-for-9 with a walk and a hit by pitch since returning on Tuesday and he struck out three times on Thursday.
The series continues Friday night at Miller Park with a 7:10 Central Time first pitch. Tom Gorzelanny (3-4), who threw seven shutout innings in his last start at Seattle on Saturday, takes the ball for the Crew and will be opposed by right-hander Mike Leake (10-5).
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