McCoy: Brewers bash two more home runs, sweep Reds

Milwaukee Brewers' Keston Hiura, center, scores on a sacrifice fly ball hit by Mark Mathias during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Sunday, June 19, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

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Milwaukee Brewers' Keston Hiura, center, scores on a sacrifice fly ball hit by Mark Mathias during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Sunday, June 19, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Cincinnati has lost four straight games

The Milwaukee Mashers, also known as the Brew Crew Bashers, completed their three-day Home Run Derby exhibition Sunday afternoon in Great American Small Park, finishing a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds with a 6-3 victory.

The Brewers clubbed two more home runs Sunday and hit seven during the series. In nine games against the Reds this season the Brewers have cleared the walls 25 times.

Those long balls have enabled the Brewers to win seven of the nine games against the Reds this season.

Hunter Renfroe launched a two-run shot off relief pitcher Joel Kuhnel in the seventh that was headed for Dayton (Ohio, not Kentucky) when it was stopped by some empty seats in the left field upper deck, 444 feet from home plate.

It was Renfroe’s third home run in the three-game series, one each game.

Reds starter Mike Minor also was nicked for a home run, a two-run rip in the fourth inning by catcher Victor Caratini that gave the Brewers a 3-0 lead. In Minor’s 20 2/3s innings with the Reds, Minor’s major problem is the home run ball, six of them.

The Reds were facing Milwaukee starter Adrian Houser, who was 0-5 over his previous seven starts.

And after Milwaukee took the 3-0 lead, the Reds tied it with three in the bottom of the fourth.

Tommy Pham walked on a full count and Joey Votto singled on a full count. Pham scored on Kyle Farmer’s fielder’s choice and two runs scored on Albert Almora Jr.’s double to left.

The Brewers reclaimed the lead in the sixth on back-to-back one-out singles by Keston Hiura and Caratini, a walk to Tyrone Taylor and a sacrifice fly by Mark Mathias to make it 4-3.

Cincinnati’s bullpen blues continued when Kuhnel took over in the seventh. He gave up a one-out single to Andrew McCutchen and then Renfroe unloaded his cloud-parting homer for a 6-3 lead.

The Reds threatened in the seventh, loading the bases with two out against relief pitcher Trevor Kelly. But with Votto at the plate, left-hander Hoby Milner came in and struck out Votto on four pitches.

Brad Boxberger, Cincinnati’s No. 1 draft pick in 2009, retired the Reds in 1-2-3 order in the eighth. Boxberger was one of four players (Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Edinson Volquez) the Reds traded to San Diego for pitcher Mat Latos after the 2011 season.

With supreme closer Josh Hader on paternity leave, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell sent set-up pitcher Devin Williams to close it in the ninth.

Williams dusted the Reds quickly on a grounder to third by Almora, a three-pitch strikeout of pinch-hitter Max Schrock and a three-pitch strikeout of Jonathan India, 0 for 10 the last two games.

Over the course of 27 innings during the series, the Reds did not own a lead on their way to a fourth straight defeat.

And the degree of difficulty spikes for the Reds. After Monday’s off day, the high-octane Los Angeles Dodgers arrive Tuesday for the start of a three-game series.

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