Arcia’s HR breaks slump, leads Brewers over Reds 4-3

CINCINNATI (AP) — Six games into the season, Orlando Arcia was still waiting for that first hit. The Brewers shortstop finally got it, connecting for the biggest one in Milwaukee’s latest win.

Arcia ended his season-opening slump with a three-run homer in the sixth inning, and Milwaukee extended its domination of the Cincinnati Reds by holding on for a 4-3 victory Tuesday night.

Arcia was 0 for 16 when he connected off Michael Lorenzen , who was brought in to face the shortstop with two outs after left-hander Zach Duke (1-1) gave up a walk and a single. Arcia’s opposite-field homer barely cleared the wall in right field and snapped a 1-1 tie.

“You’ve got to get that first hit,” manager Craig Counsell said. “That was worth the wait is what I’d say.”

Lorenzen tried to throw a fastball away, but left it in a place Arcia could reach.

“Stadium’s small, he swings hard, it’s got a chance,” Lorenzen said. “It was a terrible game plan and terrible execution on my part.”

The shortstop was feeling his 0-for-2019 slump and starting to wonder when it would end.

“Thankfully that first one came,” he said through a translator. “You’ve got to keep your head strong. Once the first one falls, you know they’re going to start falling.”

Things have been falling the Brewers’ way, especially when they play the Reds.

Milwaukee has won the first two games of the series and 15 of 21 against Cincinnati over the last two seasons. The defending NL Central champions are off to a 5-1 start, one game better than a year ago when they tied the club record with 96 wins.

Jhoulys Chacin (2-0) gave up three hits and a pair of runs in 5 1/3 innings, including Eugenio Suarez’s RBI double . Suarez added a solo homer off Junior Guerra in the eighth.

Josh Hader gave up a walk in the ninth while getting his fourth save in four chances, leaving the Reds with a 1-3 start — same as last season.

Christian Yelich singled and doubled, leaving him the only Brewer to hit safely in all six games. The NL MVP is batting .409 with four homers and three doubles.

The Reds drew 10,195 fans on a 61-degree night, a day after only 7,799 attended the series opener — the smallest crowd in Great American Ball Park history.

OUTS IN THE OUTFIELD

The Reds’ regular outfielders — Jesse Winker, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Scott Schebler — are a combined 3 for 45, with all three hits by Puig.

BEAT THE SHIFT, PART II

Yasmani Grandal beat Cincinnati’s four-man outfield alignment with three singles on Monday night. He tried to bunt for a single on Tuesday, but Anthony DeSclafani fielded and threw him out.

A CLOSER LOOK

The Brewers’ close games — four wins by one run — have resulted in Hader taking on more of a traditional closer role. Last season, he went at least two innings in 23 of his 55 appearances, getting 12 saves. He’s been more of a one-inning reliever so far.

“It’s something we’re going to have to go with the flow and see,” Hader said.

SOLID SHOWING

DeSclafani made his 2019 debut, went five innings, gave up a run on three hits and struck out eight.

“Definitely satisfied,” DeSclafani said. “I was working on some things in spring training and I was hoping it would progress into the season, and I think I’ve done that. My curveball was effective tonight. It makes it easier when you have a third weapon.”

REDS MOVE

The Reds outrighted left-hander Brandon Finnegan to the minors. He was designated for assignment on opening day.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: RH Jeremy Jeffress is expected to pitch on a rehab assignment when the Triple-A season begins later this week. He could rejoin the Brewers after making back-to-back appearances as he recovers from a sore shoulder.

Reds: LH Alex Wood isn’t ready to throw to hitters as he recovers from back problems. Manager David Bell said Tuesday that Wood has had some setbacks, so there’s no timetable for his return from the injured list.

UP NEXT

Brewers: Freddy Peralta (0-0) gave up four runs in three innings of a 9-5 loss to the Cardinals on Friday. He’s 0-1 in two career starts at Great American with a 7.71 ERA.

Reds: Luis Castillo (0-0) makes his second start. He was originally scheduled to pitch Thursday in Pittsburgh, but Bell didn’t want him facing the Pirates twice in a week. Castillo allowed two hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 5-3 win over Pittsburgh in the opener.