McCoy: Miley does it all as Reds bounce back with win over Brewers

Cincinnati trails first-place Milwaukee by 6 games in NL Central

Wade Miley provided the mileage the Cincinnati Reds needed Friday night — length on the mound and length on the basepaths.

Miley put a shutout silencer on the bats of the Milwaukee Brewers for eight innings and provided a hit and scored a run on an adventurous run around the bases.

It added up to a 2-0 rebound victory after the Reds dropped the opener of the four-game series Thursday, enabling them to reclaim the game they lost in the standings. They are back to within six games of the first-place Brewers.

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Miley displayed grit and grind, pitching his way out of three troublesome innings en route to his seventh victory. He held the Brewers to no runs, seven hits and a three walks.

And he helped himself in the seventh inning when he slashed the first pitch over the right fielder’s head, a ball that left Miley’s bat at 104.8 miles per hour.

Miley steamed into second for a double and when right fielder Avisail Garcia’s throw skipped free, Miley scrambled to third with a hard slide.

What he needed then was oxygen and a long rest. Jonathan India struck out, then Jesse Winker gave Miley all the rest he needed.

After falling behind 0-and-2, Winker worked the count to 3-and-2, fouled off four pitches, then drilled the 11th pitch to right field for a run-scoring double to make it 2-0. And the hit pushed Winker’s batting average back above .300 after it had fallen to .299.

“It’s all part of it,” Winker said about his recent struggle. “Obviously, I knew how I was performing over this little stretch. You just keep going. You just keep clocking in, keep working and chip away at it.”

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Winker also provided a major defensive play in seventh inning. Jace Peterson lined one to left center. Aristides Aquino tried to a stretch catch but the ball skipped past hm. Peterson tried to stretch the hit into a double but Winker grabbed the ball and threw him out at second. Keston Hiura followed with a double that would have scored Peterson.

“As outfielders, we talk about it. . .about having each other’s backs,” said Winker. “Aquino went for it and almost made an unbelievable catch. I happened to be behind him, and the ball kicked off his glove and it went right to me.

“Your mentality is to just let it rip,” said Winker. “I just tried to imitate (Tyler) Naquin or Aquino, throwing the ball 100 miles an hour, even though I know mine is 87.”

In addition to his pitching and hitting, Miley was a three-way player. He pounced on a well-placed bunt by Eric Lauer in the fifth inning and threw him out. If he missed, the bases would have been loaded with one out.

Miley was asked which he liked best, his double (and to third on an error), his pitching or his defense and he said, “The triple, I call it a triple. The triple was fun. It was tiring so I gotta quit doing that. But that gave us third with nobody out and we came up big.

“I was just competing and having a blast,” he said. “That’s a big win for us, a big baseball game to gain a game on those guys.”

Manager David Bell permitted Miley to begin the ninth, but Avisail Garcia ripped his first pitch for a double. Bell brought in Heath Hembree and the big right hander struck out the side, all left handers (pinch-hitter Rowdy Tellez, Peterson and pinch-hitter Omar Narvaez. Hembree has five saves in six opportunities.

To get eight scoreless innings, Miley had to pitch out of two on and two outs in the first, two on and one out in the fifth and two straight hits to open the seventh.

“It was fun for everybody to be part of that game, the way Wade did everything,” said Bell. “With his energy, guys love playing behind him. The guys love him and respond to him. That’s just who he is, and he doesn’t change much. He is who he is all the time. He never changes when he is competing.”

The Reds first run came in the fourth on a walk to Eugenio Suarez, a single by Aquino and a single on a 0-and-2 count by Tucker Barnhart.

Barnhart was making a rare start against a left-handed pitcher (Lauer) because he and Miley work together like identical twins.

“It is obvious Wade and Tucker work well together,” said Bell. “The importance of a guy’s comfort level and I just prioritized that.”

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