During the All-Star break, the Reds and the Brewers both re-ordered their starting rotations. Both teams lined up three of their best pitchers for a matchup between the top two teams in the NL Central. And both teams had their aces start the second game of the series.
So on Saturday night it was Brewers All-Star starter Brandon Woodruff against Reds ace Luis Castillo. If there was any question about the magnitude of the game, the pitching matchup said it all.
In the 11th inning, Brewers left fielder Chrsitian Yelich and right fielder Avisail García hit RBI singles as Milwaukee beat the Reds, 7-4 in front of a crowd of 37,204 at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds made two separate comebacks to keep the game going. With the Reds trailing by one run in the eighth, second baseman Jonathan India hit a home run off the left-field foul pole that helped send the game to extra innings. Then in the 10th inning, Tyler Stephenson hit a sacrifice fly that drove in the game-tying run.
Despite the two comebacks, the Reds finished the game with five hits. The Brewers had 15.
Castillo threw a gem and pitched six shutout innings, helping the Reds take an early 2-0 lead. He struck out eight hitters, using his slider for six of them, and threw 101 pitches.
When Castillo left the game to a standing ovation after the top of the sixth inning, the Reds had a 2-0 lead. Then in the seventh inning, Amir Garrett and Brad Brach allowed three runs as Milwaukee took the lead.
The Brewers took another lead against the Reds bullpen in the 10th when third baseman Luis Urías hit an RBI single to center field.
Then in the 11th, Reds relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Hendrix each allowed RBI singles as the Brewers took a two-run lead. Brewers first baseman Jace Peterson added an RBI sacrifice fly as Milwaukee took a three-run lead, the biggest lead of the game.
Even though the Reds only had four hits, they didn’t take advantage of their best two scoring chances late in the game. In the bottom of the eighth, pinch-hitter Alejo Lopez and third baseman Eugenio Suárez both flew out with two runners on base.
With right fielder Nick Castellanos (wrist) unavailable, Bell used his entire bench as he tried to find a spark offensively. Reliever Michael Lorenzen pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and he stayed in the game in right field and took an at-bat since the Reds were short an outfielder.
In the ninth, Urías made a diving play for the Brewers down the third base line to stop the Reds momentum in the inning. Then in the 11th, after the Reds got the tying run to the plate, Urías made a highlight catch on a line out down the third base line.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Reds starting pitcher Wade Miley pinch-hit for reliever Ryan Hendrix since the Reds had used all of their position players. Miley represented the game-winning run, but he grounded out to end the game.