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Reds blow multiple leads, fall to Brewers 5-4 in series finale

Two outta three ain’t bad.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game

The Cincinnati Reds had a chance to make a statement against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday afternoon, with a potential sweep on the line. They jumped out early and later took another multi-run lead, but simply couldn’t hold on for the victory.

Sound familiar?

Anyhoo, it sure wasn’t the fault of Josh VanMeter, who got the start at 3B today while Eugenio Suarez had the day off. VanMeter crushed a 463 foot dinger - the longest by a Reds hitter this year - and that was just one part of his 3 for 4 afternoon. He drove in a pair, too, and increasingly looks more and more like a legit big leaguer.

Honorable Mentions are due to: Philip Ervin, who singled, doubled, swiped a bag, and scored twice (while not being part of the starting lineup); Joey Votto, who doubled in a run; and Michael Lorenzen, who fired a clean inning of relief.

Key Plays

  • Nick Senzel worked a great at-bat to lead off the game, eventually hitting a solid single into RF. Unfortunately, after rounding 1B and heading back to the bag, he appeared dazed, dizzy, what have you. He immediately exited the game, with Phil Ervin taking over on 1B. Phlerv then swiped 2B, and after Jhoulys Chacin later walked Yasiel Puig on 4 pitches, VanMeter smacked an RBI single into RF. Scooter then followed with an RBI double down the RF line, and the Reds held an early 2-0 lead.
  • The Brewers struck back immediately in the Bottom of the 1st, however. Lucas Sims walked Yasmani Grandal on 4 pitches before Ryan Braun turned around a meatball for a 2-run dinger over the wall in right-center. Game tied, 2-2.
  • The Reds jumped back on top in the Top of the 2nd, as Ervin hit a 2-out single into LF and ended up on 2B when Braun bobbled it. That proved large, as Votto followed with an RBI single down the RF line, and the Reds were up 3-2.
  • VanMeter’s obliteration came off Chacin in the Top of the 3rd, a solo shot that put the Reds ahead, 4-2.
  • Keston Hiura ended Sims’ streak of retiring fools like a boss, clubbing a massive solo homer off the batter’s eye in CF to lead off the Bottom of the 5th. Later, Sims walked Orlando Arcia and allowed a single to Lorenzo Cain - a hit that ended the Cincinnati starter’s night - and David Bell turned to lefty Amir Garrett with Christian Yelich at the plate. That backfired, however, as Garrett walked Yelich and then allowed a single into LF by Yasmani Grandal that plated a pair and put Milwaukee back ahead, 5-4.
  • Unfortunately for the Reds, they ran into lefty Josh Hader for the 7th and 8th innings, and that went about as predictably as you’d expect. Reds fell, 5-4.

Tony Graphanino

Source: FanGraphs

Other Notes

  • Senzel’s exit is obviously concerning. He appeared to be a bit wobbly and was seen squinting while being evaluated at 1B. He has already fought vertigo and migraine issues since being a pro, and we can only hope it’s a much less serious issue that caused his exit today. The early word for why he exited, though, has merely been qualified as ‘illness,’ as The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans relayed.
  • Lucas Sims’ final line was not pretty, though he pitched a fairly decent game, in all honesty. Inherited runs and the Brewers playing long-ball ultimately doomed his day, however. His day: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K on 76 pitches.
  • Speaking of exits, Juan Graterol was removed from the game in the Bottom of the 3rd after taking a pair of foul balls off his catcher’s mask. Considering the Reds lost Kyle Farmer to a concussion last week, it seemed they were erring on the side of caution. That said, with Farmer, Tucker Barnhart, and Curt Casali all also out, it’s Ryan Lavarnway and Ryan Lavarnway only until we get word that Graterol’s doing fine. Think Alex Blandino can figure out how to catch?
  • The Reds have an off-day on Thursday, and on Friday they’ll open play against the reeling Colorado Rockies. The Rockies, of course, took 2 of 3 from the Reds just a few weeks ago at Coors Field despite being outscored by the Reds in the series, because of course. The Reds will send ace Luis Castillo to the mound to start the opener, while Colorado has yet to name a starter for Friday. First pitch is set for an early 6:40 PM ET start, so plan accordingly.
  • Tunes.