MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Zach Davies has been on the mound both times his teammates have turned a triple play this season.
"In one season, to be on the mound for two triple plays, that’s like a dolphin in Lake Michigan," Brewers manager Craig Counsel said.
The triple play put an abrupt end to a first-inning threat and the Brewers got a milestone home run from Chris Carter and a late clutch hit from Ryan Braun to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 on Friday night.
In the first inning, Jose Peraza singled under the glove of Milwaukee third baseman Jonathan Villar and Scott Schebler reached on an error by Villar. With the runners in motion, Joey Votto hit a shot down the first base line that Carter snagged, taking away an extra base hit. Carter stepped on first and then lobbed a throw to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who stepped on second for the third out.
The Brewers turned a triple play at home on April 29 against Miami.
"Little bit of a flashback," Davies said. "It put the momentum back on our side. To get out of that with nothing was awesome."
Milwaukee has eight triple plays in franchise history.
"We got three outs on a play when Joey Votto was at bat. That was the biggest thing for me," Counsell said. "That had a chance to be a big inning, for sure."
Carter said he knew immediately of the potential for a triple play when both runners broke before the pitch.
"My first thought was to touch first because I knew they both ran," Carter said.
Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said the runners were in motion in an effort to provide a much-needed offensive spark.
"The one thing that can’t happen is hitting a line drive right at an infielder," he said. "That was one where you just say, ‘Geez.’"
Carter hit his 38th home run of the season, a career high, leading off the second against Anthony DeSclafani (8-4).
"The biggest thing, after last year, was bouncing back and having a good year and being consistent," Carter said.
Peraza put the Reds in front with a three-run homer with one out in the fifth.
The Brewers scored in the sixth on Carter’s RBI groundout to cut the lead to 3-2. Carter has a career-high 90 RBI.
Milwaukee loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, chasing DeSclafani. Scooter Gennett drew a walk off reliever Tony Cingrani to tie the score. Milwaukee regained the lead when Braun followed with a two-run single off Blake Wood.
Brent Suter (2-1) retired the only batter he faced to get the victory.
Tyler Thornburg gave up a run in the ninth but notched his 13th save in 18 tries.
Hernan Perez made his second consecutive start in center field and has played every position this season except catcher and pitcher. Perez has been dropping hints that he wants a chance to catch. "I have walked by him, turned around, and he’s there in a squat waiting to catch," Counsell said.
Reds: Price said LHP Brandon Finnegan will start the series finale on Sunday. RHP Homer Bailey (biceps) had been considered after throwing a bullpen session on Tuesday. "I’m just not ready to commit that (Bailey) is in the rotation," Price said. "We just haven’t gotten to that point yet."
Brewers: Pinch-hitter Jake Elmore appeared to get hit on the left hand while attempting to bunt in the fifth inning. He then stumbled out of the box and fell to the ground. He gingerly hopped on one leg after getting up before slowly walking off the field with a team trainer at his side.
Reds: Dan Straily (13-8, 3.83 ERA) is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three starts against the Brewers this season. Straily has nine wins since the All-Star break, tied for the most in the National League.
Brewers: Taylor Jungmann (0-4, 8.34) will make his first start since being recalled from Double-A Biloxi on Sept. 6. Jungmann, whose last start for the Brewers came on April 28, is 0-7 with a 9.35 ERA over his last 10 starts for Milwaukee.