McCoy: Frustration mounts as struggling Reds drop fourth straight

Cincinnati falls to 11-17 with 3-2 loss to Milwaukee

For those who believe they’ve seen everything in baseball, well, you haven’t been watching the Cincinnati Reds this season.

During a 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night in Miller Park, the Reds did something seldom seen on a baseball field anywhere.

They had the bases loaded with no outs in the fifth inning. First, Joey Votto struck out for the third straight time.

Nick Castellanos shot what should have been a game-tying single to right field.

But Freddy Galvis, aboard third base, went back to third to tag up, believing the ball would be caught. Instead, right fielder Ben Gamel fielded it on one hop and threw a strike to home plate, forcing Galvis at home -- a 9-2 fielder’s choice on Casyellanos and an extremely embarrassing moment for Galvis.

Jesse Winker then popped up and the Reds didn’t score, despite having the bases loaded with no outs.

Reds manager David Bell defended the Galvis gaffe.

“As a baserunner in that situation, from the first day of professional baseball, you are taught with a ball hit to the outfield, you are breaking back to the base,” he said.

“What you don’t want to happen is the guy comes in and makes a diving catch and you don’t have time to tag up,” he added. “That’s what Freddy was thinking — if the ball does fall he has time to score. Freddy just wasn’t able to get his momentum back around to be able to score.”

The ball, though, was shallow and if Gamel had made he catch Galvis wouldn’t have been able to tag up and score.

“In that situation, the outfielder (Gamel) had all the momentum towards home plate and made a great throw to the plate,” said Bell.

That frustration was just heaped upon the fact they took another offensive vacation with only four hits, two in the fourth inning when they scored their only two runs.

Milwaukee starter Brandon Woodruff struck out the side to open the game, the first two on six pitches — Votto and Castellanos.

Woodruff retired the first 10 Reds in order before he hit Castellanos with a pitch with one out in the fourth and it led to two runs.

With two outs, Eugenio Suarez singled and stole second before Mike Moustakas banged a two-run single for a 2-0 Reds lead.

And that was it for the Reds on this night.

The Brewers scored all three runs off Reds starter Luis Castillo in the bottom of the fourth.

In began with an infield hit by Christian Yelich. It appeared he was out but a review upheld the safe call.

Keston Hiura singled and Justin Smoak grounded to Votto at first. His throw to second hit Hiura in the back and everybody was safe as Yelich scored.

Gamel doubled to right field to tie it, 2-2, and Orlando Arcia singled to make it 3-2.

Castillo pitched six innings and gave up three runs (two earned), five hits, walked four and struck out nine during a 113-pitch night.

Castillo, tub-thumped by many national baseball analysts before the season as a possible Cy Young award winner, is 0-and-4 halfway through the season with a 4.18 earned run average.

Woodruff also pitched six innings and gave up two runs, four hits, walked one and struck out eight. He is now 10-and-0 at Miller Park since 2016.

After the absurdity of the fifth inning — bases loaded, no outs, no runs — the Reds didn’t put another runner on base.

And flittering away that opportunity when the team already is in the doldrums has to be deflating.

“Yeah, it can happen,” said Bell. “Momentum is real.”

Cincinnati native Brent Sutter struck out the side in the seventh, Devon Williams pitched a 1-2-3 eighth with two strikeouts.

That forced the Reds to face Milwaukee’s immaculate closer Josh Hader in the ninth, a guy who had not given up a run or a hit in his eight previous appearances.

Make it nine appearances with no runs and no hits. He made quick work with a 1-2-3 ninth.

So, the last 12 Reds went down in order, six via strikeouts.

And the frustration mounts. Votto struck out all four times, three times called out by umpire Shane Livensparger.

After Votto was called out in the eighth inning, he got into Livensparger’s face as he ran to his position and was ejected. And Bell, protecting his player, also was ejected.

It all added up to the Reds fourth straight defeat, dropping their record to 11-and-17. And they are 3 for their last 27 with runners in scoring position.

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