Brewers' Smith allows tie-breaking homer by Reds' Bruce in loss
JUL 06, 2014 5:53p ET
Hitless in his last 26 at-bats, Jay Bruce was due to break out of his slump sometime in the near future. The Milwaukee Brewers were just hoping to get out of town before the Cincinnati Reds slugger got it going.
It didn't happen.
Bruce sent a 1-2 fastball from Brewers reliever Will Smith out to left to break a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning, sending Cincinnati to a 4-2 victory Sunday and a series win over Milwaukee at Great American Ballpark.
It was the first home run allowed to a left-handed batter by Smith this season, as the left-hander opted to go with a four-seam fastball up and in after Bruce took a slider in the dirt the previous pitch.
"I think it's the right call at that time," Smith said. "He took a pretty good slider the pitch before. I just didn't throw (the fastball) exactly where I wanted to. It wasn't a bad, bad pitch, but it was still up where he could get to it. He's a good hitter, too. He did what he was supposed to do to it."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke agreed with Smith, saying it is always good to question pitch selection after a poor result.
"Smith gets out left-handers with his breaking ball. That's a pitch they have a lot of trouble with, but he's not just a breaking ball pitcher," Roenicke said. "He mixes a fastball and a breaking ball, and that's why he's hard to hit.
"After the fact, maybe it is easy to say what he should have done. If he had missed with the fastball, you would have felt worse about it. He put it where he wanted to and Bruce did a great job."
The Brewers played from behind all afternoon but just had fought back to tie the game in the top of the eighth. With two outs in the inning, Logan Schafer doubled over Billy Hamilton's head on center field and scored on a pinch-hit RBI single from Rickie Weeks.
Milwaukee managed just four hits against Cincinnati starter Mat Latos over eight innings, with Schafer collecting two of them. Both of Schafer's hits led directly to runs, as he also scored after hitting a leadoff triple in the sixth.
"We didn't have a whole lot of guys that hit the ball hard," Roenicke said. "Whether it is deception or just his command, something's there we don't get good swings on."
The Reds scored two first-inning runs against Yovani Gallardo, but the right-hander recovered to not allow another run the rest of his outing. Gallardo scattered eight hits, didn't walk a batter and threw just 95 pitches in seven strong innings, bouncing back from a rough start against Colorado his last time out.
"Even that first inning, I struggled a little bit," Gallardo said. "I was leaving the ball up in the zone, similar to what happened in my last start. I just really focused on throwing the ball down and making pitches after that. When I got into trouble, I felt like I was able to make pitches and get out of it."
After allowing just one earned run in April and May, Smith has a 4.96 ERA in June and July. He suffered his first loss of the season Wednesday in Toronto by putting two runners on ahead of Brandon Kintzler allowing a walkoff three-run home run and was tagged with his second loss Sunday.
"I've hit my fair share of bumps in the road, but you just have to keep moving forward and try to get back to the way it was before," Smith said. "High standards or not, you still have to pitch well. Today just wasn't one of those days."
Strange play: What should have been a nice running catch for Logan Schafer turned into a long review by the umpires Sunday, as a fan reached over the outfield wall and interfered with the play.
With Cincinnati up 2-0, Reds third baseman Ramon Santiago hit a ball to deep right field with one out in the second inning. The umpires initially ruled the ball to be in play, which led to Santiago rounding the bases for what was an inside-the-park home run at the time.
After Roenicke came out to ask the umpires to confer, crew chief Jerry Meals initiated a review of the play. It took 3 minutes, 43 seconds for the call to be overturned and Santiago was ruled out.
"It was the first time in my life I was truly confused in the outfield," Schafer said. "I literally was timing it the whole way, I knew I had it, I knew where the fence was and where I was and where my glove was going to be. I jumped up, waiting for it to come into my glove, and I just never felt anything.
"So I was like, 'Hmm.' That's why, when I came down, I was a little confused. I saw the ball come down, I looked up at the fans and was like, 'What just happened?' He was still running and (center fielder Carlos Gomez) was yelling at me to throw it in. . . . In retrospect, I probably should have just grabbed it and thrown it in anyway, just because I didn't know what was going on. I knew I had it off the bat. If it was playable, I knew I was going to catch it."
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