Marco Estrada is the Milwaukee Brewers’ road warrior and he showed it on Sunday at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, throwing seven innings of one-hit shutout baseball as the Brewers wrapped up a series win over the Cincinnati Reds with a 3-1 win.
For the Crew, it was their first series win at GABP since a three-game sweep Sept. 16-18, 2011, and improved their record there to 3-6 this season. Overall, the Reds lead the season series 9-7, with the final three games of the season set for Sept. 13-15 at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Estrada has some of the most dramatic home/road splits in baseball this season and Sunday’s start will only extend the gap.
In seven starts at Miller Park this season, Estrada is just 2-2 with a 7.43 ERA and 1.651 WHIP. But in nine road starts, Estrada is now 4-2 with a 2.53 ERA and 0.894 WHIP.
Estrada allowed a leadoff single to Shin-Soo Choo in the bottom of the first inning and the Brewers did everything they could do defensively to let Cincinnati score. After Todd Frazier flew out, Choo stole second. Jonathan Lucroy’s throw appeared to beat Choo to the bag, but shortstop Jean Segura couldn’t corral it and Choo was safe.
As Estrada delivered ball four to Joey Votto, Choo broke for third and again Lucroy’s throw was in time. Aramis Ramirez had the ball kicked out of his glove on Choo’s slide. As the ball rolled away, Ramirez didn’t react, allowing Votto to reach second with one out.
Brandon Phillips lined a ball to Carlos Gomez in center field and Choo tagged, but stopped. However, Gomez’s throw was well up the first-base line past Lucroy and Choo broke for the plate. Estrada backed up the play and tossed the ball to Lucroy, who tagged out a standing Choo—who didn’t slide—to complete an off 8-1-2 double play to end the inning.
From there, Estrada (6-4) was nearly untouchable, retiring 18 of the last 19 batters he faced, including 15 in a row. The only other baserunner Estrada allowed came in the bottom of the sixth, a two-out walk to Choo.
Caleb Gindl, starting in right field in place of Norichika Aoki, got the Crew on the board in the second. Gomez was hit by a pitch from Cincinnati’s emergency starter, Greg Reynolds, to lead off the inning and one out later, Gindl launched a long home run into the right-field seats. It was Gindl’s second homer in as many games—in as many at-bats, actually—as he hit a pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning Saturday night.
That was more than enough for Estrada, who struck out a Milwaukee season-high nine batters, including six in a row at one stretch.
It was also Estrada’s first career win at GABP. He came in 0-1 in four career appearances, two starts, at Cincinnati’s home park.
The Crew added an insurance run in the seventh off former Brewer Manny Parra, who relieved Reynolds after the sixth. Yuniesky Betancourt, pinch-hitting for Juan Francisco, singled to lead off the inning, went to second on a sacrifice by Estrada and moved to third on a groundout by Scooter Gennett.
The Reds brought in right-hander Sam LeCure to face Segura, but the move backfired when the All-Star shortstop lined a hanging curveball on LeCure’s first pitch into left field to chase home Betancourt.
The Brewer bullpen, which imploded while allowing five runs in Saturday’s 6-3 loss, tried to give it away again.
Brandon Kintzler came on after Estrada had thrown 100 pitches through his seven innings and surrendered back-to-back singles to Devin Mesoraco and pinch-hitter Ryan Ludwick to start the bottom of the eighth. Zack Cozart bounced into a fielder’s choice to leave runners at first and third with one out, but Kintzler struck out Chris Heisey and Choo to get out of the inning unscathed.
Jim Henderson notched his 21st save, but did surrender Joey Votto’s 20th home run of the season in the ninth. It was the first extra-base hit Henderson has allowed since June 20.
Khris Davis extended his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games with a fourth-inning double.
The Crew has an off-day on Monday before finishing up their six-game road trip with three games at PNC Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday through Thursday. Kyle Lohse (9-8) is set to take on Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole (6-6) in Tuesday’s series opener.
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