MILWAUKEE — Yasmani Grandal’s home run helped the Milwaukee Brewers get back in the game. But it was a bizarre double play the catcher started on a pitch that got past him that really saved the day.
The Brewers overcame an early five-run deficit and outlasted the Cincinnati Reds 11-9 Wednesday, with Grandal in the thick of things at Miller Park.
In the sixth, Grandal hit a tying two-run homer. The Brewers then tacked on three more runs in the inning for an 11-8 lead.
The Reds scored once in the seventh and had the bases loaded with one out. Reliever Jeremy Jeffress struck out Phillip Ervin swinging, but the ball zipped past Grandal. Fortunately for the Brewers, the ball caromed off the back wall and right back to Grandal.
“The ball gets past the catcher and a lot of times as a runner, you just react,” Reds manager David Bell said.
Curt Casali took off from first, assuming all the runners would advance. Derek Dietrich, however, stayed at third, seeing the ball ricochet to Grandal.
Grandal threw down to first and Casali was tagged out after a rundown.
“That’s a play we work on every day,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said, laughing. “We caught a break there, 100 percent.”
The game had been set up as a pitching duel between the Brewers’ Zach Davies and Luis Castillo. They entered with the second-lowest (Davies, 1.54) and third-lowest (Castillo, 1.90) ERAs in the National League.
It turned out to be the shortest outing of the season for both, as Davies gave up six runs in three innings and Castillo allowed four in 2⅔.
“They were pretty aggressive,” Davies said. “That’s where my pitch execution comes in and I just didn’t have it today.”
Castillo said he couldn’t execute his changeup.
“I didn’t trust that pitch today,” he said. “I was using it, but more like in fastball counts.”
Cincinnati and Milwaukee each used six pitchers. Josh Hader finished it, earning his 12th save in 12 chances.
The Brewers, shut out for the first time this season in a 3-0 loss to the Reds on Tuesday, played their second straight game without Christian Yelich. The 2018 NL MVP was out with back spasms, and it isn’t known when he’ll return.
Tucker Barnhart’s fourth homer, a second-deck drive to right field, capped a five-run second that put the Reds up 5-0. Dietrich hit his 12th in the third for a 6-1 lead.
The Brewers tied it at 6 in the fourth on a two-run single by Eric Thames. Keston Hiura and Mike Moustakas also homered for Milwaukee.
Milwaukee reliever Junior Guerra (2-0) earned the win. Wandy Peralta (0-1) took the loss.
Hitless and on base
Brewers left fielder Ben Gamel got on base four times without getting a hit, being walked twice and hit by a pitch twice.
Struck ‘em out
Reds left-hander Amir Garrett has recorded his last nine outs by strikeout, most recently retiring the side that way in the eighth inning on Tuesday. “It may not be the ninth (inning), but he’s pitching in situations that are as important as they get,” Bell said.
From the infirmary
Yelich will “go through a bunch of treatments today and see how he is,” Counsell said before the game. “He’s had some muscle issues in his back but they’ve been short-term, five-day injuries. That’s not a chronic characterization, for me.” ... Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig, who suffered a sprained right shoulder after making a catch in right field and crashing into the padded wall in Cincinnati on Sunday, didn’t play for the second straight game. Bell said he expects Puig to return to the lineup Friday after an off-day for the team on Thursday.
The Brewers open a three-game series at home against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday. The Brewers will start Chase Anderson (2-0, 2.66) against Philadelphia's Jerad Eickhoff (2-2, 3.23).