McCoy: Brewers blast Reds to complete three-game sweep

Milwaukee Brewers' Luis Urias (2) celebrates a play during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati, Sunday, July 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
Milwaukee Brewers' Luis Urias (2) celebrates a play during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati, Sunday, July 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Credit: Bryan Woolston

Credit: Bryan Woolston

First-place Milwaukee extends lead over Cincinnati to 7 games in NL Central

All the hard work the Cincinnati Reds displayed in Milwaukee, all the success they achieved, went poof, poof and poof over the weekend in Great American Ball Park.

After taking three of four in Milwaukee to move within four games of the first-place Brewers before the All-Star break, the Reds lost all three at home after the break to the Brewers and are back to seven games behind.

And Sunday’s finale was no contest. With All-Star pitcher Corbin Burnes rendering the Reds nearly helpless at the plate, the Brewers coasted, 8-0.

Burnes nearly accomplished the rarest of the rare these days, a complete-game shutout. He strapped down the Reds on no runs, three singles, one walk and he struck out 12.

But the complete game eluded him in the ninth when the Reds loaded the bases with one out. Jesse Winker ended a 0 for 16 slide with a single, then an error and an infield hit by Tyler Naquin ended Burnes’ day.

Angel Perdomo replaced Burnes and struck out Eugenio Suarez, the third whiff of the game for Suarez, and he preserved the shutout by striking out Tucker Barnhart.

Burnes walked the first hitter he faced in the first inning, Jonathan India, but breezed after that until the ninth. He had a seven-pitch inning and a six-pitch inning. He struck out the side twice, including in the eighth inning when he displayed no signs of fatigue.

It was a game for four innings, a 1-0 lead for the Brewers, the run achieved in the first inning when Reds starter Sonny Gray hit Rowdy Tellez with a pitch with the bases loaded.

The game burst at the seams in the fifth when manager David Bell took a risk with Gray and it exploded in his hands.

Luis Urias singled with one out, but Gray struck out Christian Yelich. He also struck out Jace Peterson to open the inning.

So he had two outs and one runner on. But he issued back-to-back full count walks to fill the bases.

Pitching coach Derek Johnson trudged to the mound for a long chat and Gray remained in the game.

No. 7 hitter Tyrone Taylor, hitting .235, poked a two-run single to make it 3-0. No. 8 hitter Jackie Bradley Jr., hitting .165, pulled a two-run triple to the right-field corner to push the lead to 5-0.

About Johnson’s visit, Gray said, “He told me to just make a pitch (to Taylor). Just make a good pitch because at the moment that’s where we were. Just make a pitch, you’ve been in this situation before, just make a pitch.

“That was frustrating because I felt I did execute the pitch,” said Gray. “It was a ground ball through the six-hole (shortstop) hole. Then after that was when I needed to be able to reset myself to keep where it was.”

The reset button didn’t work. Bradley yanked the next pitch for his two-run triple.

With the way the bullpen has performed, plus some were not available after the way it was worked in the first two games, Bell can’t be faulted for sticking with Gray.

“He was the guy for that inning, he still had pitches,” said Bell. “With our bullpen in the shape it was in, I thought the way Sonny had competed without his best stuff … he was able to compete. We’ve seen Sonny do it many, many times where he is able to keep going and get out of an inning.”

Chrisitan Yelich, a former Reds’ destroyer, has done nothing of note this season, but he led the seventh with a cloud-scraping, long-distance home run to left center off Cionel Perez and it was 6-0.

The new Reds’ destroyer is shortstop Willy Adames. He drilled a two-run home run of new bullpenner Tony Santillan in the ninth, turning the game into an 8-0 laugher.

Adames was on base all five times he walked to the plate Sunday — home run, single, three walks.

And Adames has been the catalyst to Milwaukee’s surge to the top of the National League Central. Since the Brewers acquired him in mid-May from the Tampa Bay Rays, the Brewers are 34-16.

The Reds open a three-game series Monday against the staggering New York Mets, who lost Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom and shortstop Francisco Lindor to the injured list in the last few days.

And now it is Bell who must set the reset button.

“I have great confidence in this team and I have great confidence in every single player on this team,” he said. “We’ve shown it, every player on this team has shown it over and over and over again.

MONDAY’S GAME

Mets at Reds, 7:10 p.m., Bally Sports OHio, 700, 1410