The Milwaukee Brewers will try to close their three-game weekend series in style Sunday as they try to sweep the host Cincinnati Reds and put more space between themselves and the rest of the National League Central.
The Brewers capped their NL-leading 26th come-from-behind win Saturday night in a 7-4 victory in 11 innings that featured good starting pitching early and clutch defense and hitting late.
Luis Urias started a key double play in the ninth and made a diving stop of an Aristides Aquino liner in the 11th. Christian Yelich doubled home Willy Adames with the go-ahead run in the 11th as the Brewers have rebounded from three home losses last weekend to win the first two in Cincinnati and increase their lead over the Reds to six games.
“I think everybody knows that they’re trying to win against us because they are the team that is right behind us,” Adames said. “And obviously, we’re trying to win to push them a little farther into second place. Those games are going to be intense. You saw all the four games at home (in Milwaukee). All of the games were tight; all of the games were intense.”
For Cincinnati, the first two games of the series have been a disaster. They’ve lost both and have seen injuries to two players they feel are critical to success in the second half. Nick Castellanos suffered a bruised wrist and forearm Friday night and was unavailable in Saturday’s 11-inning loss.
“There’s no question there’s a lot on the line every game we play. It’s tough,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We have no choice to come back. There’s no doubt some losses are tougher. But with the toughness of our team, our players, I can’t wait to come out (Sunday).”
Bell blamed himself for using reliever Michael Lorenzen in the field and on the bases in the 10th inning to score the tying run after he pitched the eighth inning, his first appearance of the season.
Lorenzen pulled up ailing while sprinting home on a sacrifice fly.
“It’s definitely hamstring related,” Bell added. “It’s a little bit early to determine how severe. It’s such a huge loss. He’s so important to our team. I asked him to do a lot, and he wasn’t ready for it. … We’re very hopeful it’ll be OK (Sunday).”
The Brewers will send All-Star Corbin Burnes (4-4, 2.36 ERA) to the mound in the series finale. Burnes, a right-hander, will make his first appearance since allowing two runs and four hits over two innings and taking the loss in the American League’s 5-2 win over the National League in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Denver.
Burnes will make his 16th start of the season and first against the Reds. He is 0-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 10 career games against the Reds, all in relief.
The Reds will counter with right-hander Sonny Gray (2-4, 3.19), who is expected to come off the 10-day injured list (strain in right rib cage) to make his 13th start of the season. Gray landed on the injured list for a third time this season on the day after his 5-2 win on July 7 at Kansas City.
Gray is making his third start this season against the Brewers, receiving a no-decision in his previous two outings, both resulting in Cincinnati losses. Lifetime, Gray is 3-2 in 11 previous starts against the Brewers with a 2.56 ERA.
The Brewers lost one of their top set-up relievers as right-hander Devin Williams was placed on the 10-day injured list before Saturday’s game with right-elbow discomfort.
–Field Level Media