Reds trounce Brewers behind another grand slam

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 01: Jose Peraza #9 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a grand slam home run in the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on July 1, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 01: Jose Peraza #9 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a grand slam home run in the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on July 1, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

No, Jose Peraza isn’t planning to try pitching for the Cincinnati Reds.

Peraza hit Cincinnati’s latest grand slam and the first of the last three not smacked by a pitcher, turning a 3-0 game into an 8-0 rout on the way to an 8-2 win over the National League Central Division-leading Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

Peraza delighted a crowd of 18,483 that sat out a 54-minute rain delay long enough to see him launch his first career grand slam during Cincinnati’s five-run sixth inning, the Reds’ second nine-batter inning of the game.

“I just tried to hit the ball,” said the shortstop, who also doubled and now has five home runs this season. “When I hit the ball in the sky, I say, ‘Wow, it’s a home run. Everybody is happy.”

“We’ve just been getting better at bats and there happens to be men on base,” manager Jim Riggleman said

Matt Harvey allowed two hits in 5 2/3 innings and the Reds salvaged a split of their four-game series against first-place Milwaukee and logged their 11thwin in their last 14 games, the last eight of 11 against teams that were in first place when their series started.

“We know we can play with these guys (division leaders),” Riggleman said. “We’ve got to go through those guys and win our share.”

Tucker Barnhart singled in the second to extend his hitting streak to eight games, matching his season high, and Joey Votto also had two hits to move past Frank Robinson into ninth place on the franchise career hit list with 1,674, exactly 100 behind eighth-place Brandon Phillips.

Peraza connected in the sixth against relief pitcher Aaron Wilkerson for the Reds’ major league-leading ninth grand slam of 2018, tying the single-season franchise record set in 2002. The grand slam was Cincinnati’s second in two games and third in the last eight. Pitcher Mike Lorenzen hit a pinch-hit grand slam on Saturday. Pitcher Anthony DeSclafani went deep with the bases loaded on June 24 against the Cubs.

Votto, National League RBI-leader Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler had consecutive run-scoring singles in the first inning against previously unbeaten rookie Freddy Peralta.

Cincinnati sent nine batters to the plate in the first and sixth innings.

Harvey (3-5), acquired in May from the Mets in a trade of catcher Devin Mesoraco, finished with six strikeouts and no walks while earning his third win in his last three starts. The right-hander, who is a free agent after the season and often is mentioned as a possible trade deadline carrot, didn’t return after a 54-minute rain delay.

“It was one of those things when you come in and try to do as much as you can,” Harvey said. “You come in and put a heat pack on, but once it creeps up to an hour … That’s the best I’ve felt in a long time. I could smell the (complete game) coming or at least getting deep in the game. I was pretty much in control the whole time, but I’m happy about the outing and another Reds’ win.”

The Reds are 6-4 in Harvey’s 10 starts.

“It was very disappointing the rain came when it did,” Riggleman said. “Matt was outstanding. He seems to get better each time out. Today was his best with velocity, fastball command and a good slider.”

Pitching in a gametime temperature of 93 humid degrees, Harvey retired the first 12 Milwaukee batters before Travis Shaw outflanked a defensive shift with an opposite-field single to left leading off the fifth.

Cincinnati’s first six batters reached base against Peralta, who’d allowed just a .093 opponents’ batting average (7-for-75) in his first four starts – all Milwaukee wins.

Peralta (3-1) recovered from throwing 43 pitches in the first inning to retire the last 10 and 15 of the last 16 batters he faced.

“We were concerned and anxious to see Peralta,” Riggleman said. “We made him work in that first inning. That was a gutsy performance after throwing 40 pitches in the first inning.”

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