McCoy: Despite 5 errors, Reds hold off first-place Brewers

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

In recent history when the Cincinnati Reds are scheduled to face the Milwaukee Brewers, they might better spend the evening hunting ghosts in the rumored haunted Pfister Hotel.

Entering Friday night’s game in American Family Field, the Brewers had beaten the Reds 25 times in 35 meetings and won seven straight series.

Perhaps that is changing ... at least for one night as the Reds staggered to a 6-5 victory ove the National League Central leaders.

But how ...

How does a team win a game when it makes five errors?

How does a team win a game when its pitchers walk eight guys?

How does a team win a game when it takes a three-run lead into the ninth inning and the closer loads the bases with no outs?

That is all the stuff the Reds had to overcome, especially during the Vaudeville-like ninth inning.

Closer Alexis Diaz gave up back-to-back singles to Christian Yelich and Willy Adames. Rhys Hoskins rolled a soft ground to shortstop Elly De La Cruz and he muffed it, his third error.

That loaded the bases with no outs and nobody told Diaz that the Brewers were hitting .148 with the bases loaded.

Sal Frelick lined out to second baseman Jonathan India. One out.

Diaz walked Joey Ortiz, forcing in a run and it was 6-4 with the bases still loaded.

Rookie Jackson Chourilo shot a ball into right field, easily scoring the runner from third. Hoskins tried to score the tying run from second. Right fielder Will Benson fired a bullet up the line and catcher Tyler Stephens caught it and dove for Hoskins.

Home plate umpire Will Little called him safe. Tie game. But wait. The Reds challenged and Little’s call was overturned. Hoskins was out.

The Reds still led, 6-5, but the Brewers had the potential tying run on third and the potential winning run on second with two outs.

Inexplicably and amazingly, Brewers No. 9 hitter, rookie Blake Perkins, bunted Diaz’s first pitch and popped it up to Diaz.

Game over. Reds escape.

“Oh my, that was a heluva game, just battling back-and-forth,” said T.J. Friedl on Bally Sports Ohio after he contributed three hits that included a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. “All the way through, that was an incredible game.”

Of Benson’s throw and Stephenson’s tag, Friedl said, “That was incredible for him (Benson) to get to that ball and make a throw like that. . .and Stephenson to make that tag? I watched it on the JumboTron and I was so fired up and all the way around that game just had its moments”

None bigger, though, than Benson to Stephenson to New York for the replay/review.

The win enabled the Reds to lop a game off their deficit to six games behind The Brew Crew.

And they did it against Milwaukee’s best pitcher, Freddy Peralta, pounding him for 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings, the most hits he has given up in his career.

On the flip side, Reds starter Hunter Greene pushed an elephant off his shoulders. He was 0-4 with an 8.25 earned run average in five career starts agains the Brewers. And the Reds had lost all five of those starts.

He wasn’t sharp, issuing five walks, but his offensive teammates gave him five runs in during his five innings.

Friedl started things for the Reds with a home run in the third inning. But Milwaukee’s William Contreras matched it with a home run in the bottom of the third.

The Reds took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Jake Fraley singled, stole second and scored on Jonathan India’s single.

The lead swelled to 5-1 in the fourth on Friedl’s infield single, De La Cruz’s run-scoring triple and another home run by poker-hot Jeimer Candelario.

It was his team-leading 12th homer and the 100th of his career.

The Reds pushed it to 6-2 in the sixth when India was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Friedl’s third hit, a single to center.

Milwaukee scored a run in the sixth without a hit. Perkins reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second, then scored when Candelario made two errors, first bobbling the ball and then throwing it past first base.

That put it at 6-3, setting up the mind-boggling bottom of the ninth.

Friedl shot down any idea that the Reds put any more emphasis on this game or the three-game series, need to know that they can beat Milwaukee.

“No,” he said emphatically. “We know what we have in the clubhouse and it’s nothing against them. We just know what we have and we don’t aim at anyone or say, ‘We have to take them down.’

“We just go out and play our game because we know what we have, we play free, we play loose to make things happen and that’s what we’ve done over the last two or three weeks.”

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