Eventually the Milwaukee Brewers were going to have a night in which the bullpen gave up runs late. It happened in the eighth inning Thursday night.
Jim Henderson allowed a two-run, pinch-hit home run to Brayan Pena that broke a 3-3 tie, while Rob Wooten let two inherited runners score as the Cincinnati Reds pulled away for an 8-3 victory at Great American Ballpark.
"They are going to happen, no doubt," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We’ve been good down there. We just weren’t good tonight."
Milwaukee entered Thursday’s game with a 2.45 bullpen ERA, good for fourth in baseball. The majority of the runs scored off the bullpen came in two blowout losses in which Rule 5 pick Wei-Chung Wang appeared and was hit hard.
An inning after Brandon Kintzler worked out of a bases loaded jam by getting Todd Frazier to fly out to shallow right and striking out Ryan Ludwick, Henderson allowed a leadoff single to Zack Cosart. After Tucker Barnhart bunted Cozart up to second, Pena lined a homer that just cleared the wall in right field.
Henderson then gave up a single to Chris Heisey and a double to Joey Votto before striking out Brandon Phillips. An intentional walk to Jay Bruce loaded the bases for Frazier, who the newly called-up Rob Wooten walked to force in a run.
Wooten then gave up a run-scoring single to Ludwick and hit Cozart with a pitch before getting Barnhart to ground out to end the inning.
Offensively, the Brewers didn’t do much against Reds starter Homer Bailey until tying the game with two outs in the seventh. Bailey, who entered with a 6.15 ERA, had allowed just one run until Jean Segura and Rickie Weeks singled to keep the seventh inning alive.
Carlos Gomez followed with a double into the left-center gap to tie the game, but Bailey stayed in to work a perfect eighth inning to eventually earn his second win of the season.
"We didn’t do much until at the end there," Roenicke said. "(Bailey) had a real nice fastball, good split finger, slider was pretty good. When he’s on he’s tough. Early on, I thought he threw a nice ballgame."
While starter Marco Estrada gave the Brewers their 23rd quality start of the season, the right-hander was not as sharp as he was in his last start against the Cubs. Estrada allowed a solo home run to Barnhart, the first of the rookie catcher’s career, in the fifth inning to even the score at 1-1.
Estrada was burned by another changeup in the sixth, as Frazier reached out and pulled a two-home run with a one-handed swing.
"Both of them changeups, both of them out front," Roenicke said of the home runs against Estrada."The ball carries really well here. They got it up. I didn’t think either one was going to be a home run. They squared them up but were just out in front."
Dillard returns: The Brewers brought a familiar face back into the organization Thursday, signing right-handed reliever Tim Dillard to a minor-league contract.
Dillard, who has spent parts of 11 seasons in the organization, will report to Double-A Huntsville.
The 30-year-old spent most of 2013 with Triple-A Nashville, posting a 4.40 ERA in 38 games out of the bullpen. Dillard has pitched in 73 games with the Brewers with a 4.70 ERA, last appearing in the big leagues in 2012.
Dillard pitched 2 1/3 innings in two games for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League before signing with the Brewers.