MILWAUKEE — With Christian Yelich on the bench, Milwaukee couldn’t even get a runner past second base.
Sonny Gray and three Cincinnati relievers held down the Brewers, who were missing Yelich because of back spasms, in the Reds’ 3-0 victory Tuesday night at Miller Park.
It was the major league-leading seventh shutout for the Reds as the Brewers were blanked for the first time this season.
Yelich was a late scratch from the starting lineup because of the back issue. Manager Craig Counsell said Yelich’s status would be reviewed Tuesday.
Yelich previously missed parts of seven games in late April and early May because of back problems, but did not go on the injured list. He was replaced by outfielder Ben Gamel, who hit a 10th inning solo home run to lead the Brewers to a 3-2 win Sunday over the Braves in Atlanta.
Gray (1-4) earned his first win of the season with six shutout innings in his first appearance ever at Miller Park. He tied his season-high with nine strikeouts. Raisel Iglesias earned his 10th save.
“I’ve had a plan, I just stayed with it and trusted that,” Gray said. “I just trusted it making big pitches with runners on.”
The Brewers did little without Yelich, the 2018 National League MVP, striking out 14 times. Yelich is batting .325 and had a major league-leading 19 home runs coming into Tuesday night.
Nick Senzel led off the first inning with a triple off Brewers starter Gio González (2-1) and scored when González threw a wild pitch to Phillip Ervin. Ervin then doubled, scoring Eugenio Suárez, who had walked. And Ervin scored when Kyle Farmer hit into a fielder’s choice.
“They caught me on my heels that first inning,” González said. “They were real aggressive right away.”
After cruising through the first three innings giving up only one hit, Gray walked Ryan Braun and Yasmani Grandal to start the fourth inning. But Braun was thrown out trying to steal third, Eric Thames grounded out and Keston Hiura struck out. The Brewers also put two runners on base in the fifth and sixth innings, but couldn’t score.
When Braun was caught stealing, he didn’t start running until Reds catcher Curt Casali had already caught a wide-and-outside pitch from Gray. Nick Senzel of the Reds was called out in the fifth inning for running out of the baseline. He was an easy out after he started to try to steal second base before González threw a pitch.
Brewers left-handed pitcher Brandon Woodruff lifted his season batting average to .333 (8-for-24) with a pinch-hit single. As a pinch hitter, he’s 2-for-3.
Out by strikeout
Reds left-hander Amir Garrett has recorded his last nine outs by strikeout. On Tuesday, he pitched the eighth inning and struck out all three batters he faced.
Hiura, a first-round draft pick of Milwaukee in 2017, made his first appearance at Miller Park. His major-league debut was on May 14.
The second baseman went 2-for-4 with two singles and two strikeouts.
From the infirmary
Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw (right wrist strain) is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Class AAA San Antonio on Wednesday after being placed on the 10-day injured list. He is hitting only .163 with four homers. “Just look at it like, let’s get you feeling good, let’s get you back locked in,” Counsell said on how long the assignment might last. ... 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 start but won’t be going on injured list, manager David Bell said. ... Reds left-hander Zach Duke (right calf strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Monday and IF Josh VanMeter was recalled from Class AAA Louisville ... Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett (right groin strain), who has been out since spring training on March 22, is increasing his activity and might begin swinging off a tee in the next day or two, Bell said. Gennett said he thought he might able to return in about two weeks.