McCoy: Brewers get to Bauer, Reds’ offensive woes continue

If there was one thing the Cincinnati Reds were completely confident about, it was that Trevor Bauer would be their stopper Monday night in Miller Park.

His team lost three of four in St. Louis and Bauer brought a 3-and-0 record and a 0.68 earned run average to his work night.

The Milwaukee Brewers were neither impressed nor intimadated, even though they were on a four-game losing streak that included three straight losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the worst team in the National League.

They flicked away Bauer and the Reds, 4-2.

And the offensive misery persists. The Reds collected only five hits. Both runs came on solo home runs. All eight of the Reds last eight runs came on home runs.

It’s all or nothing, but mostly nothing so far.

“Two solo home runs ... but again, not enough opportunities,” said manager David Bell. “We absolutely believe in the process, but it’s frustrating when the results aren’t there.

“No question, we have an incredible challenge,” he added. “Our players are motivated to do everthing in our power to get through this. When we do, it’s going to be fun. Right now, when the results aren’t there, it’s not as much fun.”

The Brewers sent an early message by scoring a run on three hits in the first inning. Bauer had not given up more than three hits in an entire game in any of his previous five starts.

And the message continued in the third inning when Justin Smoak rocked a 416-foot two-run home run into the upper deck for a 3-0 lead.

Bauer had not given up more than one run in any of his first five starts.

In the fourth inning the Brewers continued their disrespect when Oscar Narvaea led off the inning with a home run to make it 4-0, his first home run this season.

Smoak singled home a run in the first on a 3-and-2 pitch and hit his two-run homer on a 3-and-2 pitch.

Bauer faced Milwaukee earlier this season and gave up one run and three hits in six innings of an 8-3 victory.

“I started off with the same game plan I used last time ... there was no reason to not,” said Bauer. “They made an adjustment in the first inning and were looking for it (fast ball) in the first inning.

“They have a lot of good hitters in that lineup and the came out hot,” he added. “They made a lot of adjustments and were thinking right along with me. I noticed it right away and we made some adjustments.”

Of giving up the run-scoring single and the two-run home run to Smoak, Bauer said, “Both were 3-and-2 counts and I didn’t want to walk him. The first time (single) I’m not upset with the pitch choice. I missed it.

“The second one (home run) I chose the wrong pitch,” he said. “It was bad location and I missed my spot. There were some other options I could hae chosen.”

Meanwhile, the Reds continued their frustrations on offense. They put three runners on base in the first four innings and all three times they hit in double plays.

Eugenio Suarez hit into one in the first, Mike Moustakas hit into one in the second and Suarez hit into another one in the fourth.

The Reds finally broke through in the fifth when Curt Casali cleared the left-field fence with his fourth home run, cutting the Brewers advantage to 4-1.

After hitting into a pair of double plays, Suarez did some rectifying by leading the seventh with a home run that knocked Anderson out of the game and sliced Milwaukee’s margin to 4-2.

Devin Williams replaced Anderson and promptly struck out the side — Matt Davidson, Moustakas, Phillip Ervin.

Bauer issued his first walk of the night, a free pass to No. 9 hitter Orlando Arcia to open the seventh. When Arcia stole second, Christian Yelich was walked intentionally and Bauer was removed for TeJay Antone. Yelich stole second, putting runners on third and second, but Antone induced a shallow fly ball from Keston Hiura and struck out Smoak on a called 3-and-2 pitch.

Bauer’s 109-pitch outing consisted of 6 1/3 innings, four runs, seven hits, two walks and eight strikeouts — by far his worst performance of the season.

David Phelps took over for the Brewers in the eighth and two more Reds struck out — five in a row by the Milwaukee bullpen, until Kyle Farmer flied meekly to right.

Robert Stephenson, fresh off the injured list, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and that set up a major project for the Reds.

They had to face Milwaukee closer Josh Hader, who not only hadn’t given up a run this season, he hadn’t give up a hit in seven outings.

Joey Votto drew a full-count walk to open the ninth. Nick Castellanos struck out. Suarez popped out. Davidson hit into a game-ending force play.

And that was that.

Votto is 0 for his last 14 and hitting .200, Suarez is hitting .154, Moustakas is hitting .194, Ervin is hitting .094, Casali is hitting .179. In fact, the entire team is hitting .204, worst in the majors.

What can Bell do? Does he make major lineup changes?

“We have good players and you don’t do that (sit them down) to good players,” he said. “You stay with them for the course of the season, even in a short season.”

The Reds are 11-and-16 nearly halfway through this 60-game season.

About the Author