McCoy: Reds lose seventh straight, fall to 3-20

Cincinnati Reds' Mike Moustakas hits a home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

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Cincinnati Reds' Mike Moustakas hits a home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

The Cincinnati Reds starting pitching staff performs nightly in a monotonous way and it is not in their own best interests or that of the Reds.

To a man, they give up bundles of runs early in games, digging a trench that the offense is unable to circumvent.

Such was the case again Tuesday night and this time the guilty party was Tyler Mahle and it led to a 6-3 defeat to the first-place Milwaukee Brewers.

And the negative numbers keep piling up. The Reds are 3-20 and have lost seven straight and 18 of their last 19 games. It is the first week of May and the last-place Reds already are 12 1/2 games out of first place.

Mahle (1-4, 7.01 earned run average), was behind in the count on nearly every hitter and gave up a three-run home run in the third inning to Willy Adames.

That 3-0 Brewers lead was too much for the Reds to recover, although they did creep to within 3-2.

What a team does not want to be is trailing the Brewers entering the ninth inning, forcing them to face the specter of left-handed closer Josh Hader. In 10 April appearances, Hader had 10 saves and gave up no runs.

But on this night, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell gave him the night off and sent Devon Williams, usually his set-up guy, in to close the game.

It made little difference. Williams ended the game without a blemish — Mike Moustakas popped out, Tyler Stephenson struck out (the 16th strikeout by a Reds battert) and Nick Senzel grounded out to end it.

The Reds had six hits, three by Tommy Pham, two by Moustakas and one by pinch-hitter Matt Reynolds.

In addition, the Reds were without first baseman Joey Votto, placed on the injured list. He did not feel good and tested negative for COVID-19, but was placed in quarantine.

Mahle flirted with trouble in the first two innings by going to full counts five times. He pulled escapes each time, walking only one of the five.

The Brewers put two on in the first inning and it took Mahle 31 pitches to get three outs, but he stranded two runners by striking out Rowdy Tellez on a full count.

Mahle faced two full counts in the second but pitched a 1-2-3 inning as his pitches mounted, 47 with only 24 strikes.

It all caught up with him in the third when shortstop Kyle Farmer booted a ground ball for an error to open the inning. Mahle then walked Kolten Wong on four pitches and Adames drove a three-run home run to straight-away center for a 3-0 Brewers lead.

The Reds were doing nothing against Brewers’ starter Brandon Woodrull, except for two brief back-to-back at bats in the fourth .. home runs by Pham and Moustakas. That cut Milwaukee’s lead to 3-2.

It was short-lived.

With one out in the Brewers’ fourth, Mahle went to 3-and-2 on Omar Narvaez and walked him, then went 3-and-2 on Lorenzo Cain and gave up a single.

No. 9 hitter Luis Urias singled home a run and Mahle’s evening was over … 97 pitches in 3 1/3 innings. Alexis Diaz replaced Mahle and Wong lofted a sacrifice fly and the Brewers led, 5-2.

Pham and Moustakas combined again in the sixth, a two-out single by Pham and a run-scoring double by Moustakas and it was 5-3.

Pham’s third hit of the night, a two-out single in the sixth, spelled the end for Woodruff, but he tied his career best with 12 strikeouts in 5 2/3.

The Brewers gave themselves a bit of breathing room in the eighth with a run against rookie left-hander Phillip Diehl. Tellez, who had struck out three times, cracked a home run over the center-field wall for a 6-3 lead.

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