McCoy: Reds salvage final game of series vs. Brewers

A home run played the big part in Sunday’s Milwaukee-Cincinnati game in Great American Ball Park. And for once it wasn’t hit by the Brewers.

Spencer Steer led off the eighth inning with a home run over the center-field wall, breaking a tie and lifting the Reds to a 2-1 victory.

It prevented a four-game sweep by the Brewers and stopped Milwaukee’s winning streak over the Reds at six.

The Brewers did get their usual home run against the Reds, a blast by Hunter Renfroe leading off the second inning to make it 1-0.

It was Renfroe’s third home run in two days and the 44th hit by the Brewers against the Reds this year. It tied a major league record for most home run by one team against another team during a season. The 1956 Reds hit 44 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Reds tied it in the fourth when Milwaukee pitcher Aaron Ashby hit Austin Romine with a pitch with the bases loaded. The Reds, though, left the bases loaded and it was ominous as the game droned on and the Reds couldn’t score.

Until Steer greeted relief pitcher Matt Bush with his eighth-inning home run.

All that was left was for Reds closer Alexis Diaz to wade through the toughest part of the Milwaukee lineup in the ninth.

No problem. He struck out Willy Adames. He struck out Christian Yelich. He struck out Renfroe — 14 pitches, 10 strikes. Game over and the Reds had only their fourth win in their last 17 games.

Reds starter Nick Lodolo was not at his sharpest, but Renfroe’s home run was all he gave up in six innings. He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out six.

The game was filled with oddities:

—T.J. Friedl was hit by a pitch, a pitch that brushed his long, flowing hair.

—Friedl was on second base with two outs in the third when Steer hit a slow roller that looked like an infield hit. But Friedl rounded third and headed home. He was too far off base and catcher Victor Caratini tagged him out.

—With runners on third and second, Milwaukee’s Tyrone Taylor lined a ball headed for left field and two runs, but the ball struck baserunner Keston Hiura for the third out.

—Lodolo struck out the filet mignon of Milwaukee’s batting order in the sixth, just as Diaz did, Adames, Yelich and Renfroe, all swinging. And he was removed from the game with 99 pitches.

—Aristides Aquino walked twice, the first time he accomplished that all year.

—Milwaukee pinch-hitter Rowdy Tellez lined one to the mound, knocking the glove off Reds pitcher Derek Law. He pursued the ball and threw to second to start a double play.

—Andrew McCutchen scorched one between first and second. First baseman Matt Reynolds backhanded it and despite running toward second, threw a bullet to Lodolo, covering first base for the out.

—Steer, owner of one home run, came to bat to lead the eighth and broadcaster Jeff Brantley said, “It would be nice if he hit one over the wall.” As soon as Brantley completed the sentence, Steer cleared the center-field wall for his second home run and a 2-1 eventual victory.

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