Lorenzen’s pinch-hit grand slam leads Reds over Brewers 12-3

Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Jacob Barnes reacts after giving up a grand slam to Cincinnati Reds' Michael Lorenzen in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Saturday, June 30, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI (AP) When Brewers pitchers went over the strengths and weaknesses of Cincinnati’s hitters to prepare for their series, they included reliever Michael Lorenzen in the mix.

They need to do more studying.

Lorenzen hit the second grand slam by a Reds pitcher in a week – and his third homer in his last three at-bats – as Cincinnati pulled away to a 12-3 victory Saturday, ending a seven-game losing streak against Milwaukee.

Lorenzen’s pinch-hit grand slam off Jacob Barnes in the seventh inning completed an eight-run rally, Cincinnati’s biggest of the season. Lorenzen’s fifth career homer drew a curtain call from the crowd of 24,640.

”It was a surreal feeling, for sure,” Lorenzen said. ”I love this game and everything about it.”

It was the reliever’s second homer in the series. He also had a solo shot Friday during Milwaukee’s 8-2 win.

”The guy’s swinging the bat really well, that’s for sure,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. ”We treat him as a position player. We covered him in scouting meetings. We’re going to have to make some adjustments.”

One week earlier, Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani hit a grand slam off Cubs left-hander Brian Duensing at Great American Ball Park.

Lorenzen avoided the temptation to swing at a slider, and then hit a fastball deep to left field.

”The Reds have always put together some good-hitting pitchers, going back to Travis Wood and those guys,” Brewers catcher Erik Kratz said. ”You have to know who those guys are and where they want the ball and not throw it there.”

Tyler Mahle struck out a career-high 12 batters in 5 2/3 innings, three shy of the Reds’ rookie record. David Hernandez (3-0) pitched the top of the seventh.

The Reds fanned 18 batters, a club record for a nine-inning game.

The Brewers’ depleted bullpen couldn’t hold a one-run lead in the seventh. Cincinnati’s first eight batters reached safely against three relievers, with left-hander Mike Zagurski (0-1) taking the loss in his first major league appearance since 2013.

The NL Central leaders also were missing two starting position players. Christian Yelich left Thursday’s game with back tightness, and Ryan Braun came out of Friday’s game with the same issue. Counsell said Braun could be available on Sunday.

Eric Thames homered off Mahle, his 14th home run in 22 career games against Cincinnati. Thames hit 10 last year, the most by a Brewers player against the Reds in one season.

LORENZEN LORE

The last pinch-hit grand slam by a Reds player came from Chris Heisey on April 13, 2014, against Tampa Bay. Lorenzen’s three homers this season are the most by a Reds pitcher since Micah Owings had three in 2009. The last major league pitcher to homer in three straight at-bats was Colorado’s Mike Hampton in 2001.

POWER SURGE

In the last eight days, Reds pitchers have produced four homers – three by Lorenzen, one by DeSclafani. For the season, Lorenzen is 4 for 6 with three homers and six RBIs.

MAHLE’S STRIKEOUTS

Mahle’s 12 strikeouts were the most by a Reds pitcher since Amir Garrett also fanned 12 Orioles on April 19, 2017. The club record for strikeouts by a rookie is 15 by Gary Nolan on June 7, 1967, against the Giants.

TRADING PLACES

With the game out of hand, Kratz moved to the mound for the eighth inning – his third career pitching appearance – and gave up a pair of runs.

”I’d rather catch nine innings and do high-fives,” he said.

REDS DEAL

The Reds sent minor league catcher Joe Hudson to the Angels for cash. The 27-year-old Hudson has never played in the majors. He batted .235 with no homers and three RBIs in 16 games for Triple-A Louisville this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: RHP Zach Davies had a setback in what was expected to be his final minor league rehab assignment as he recovers from a sore shoulder. He lasted only three innings and gave up 10 runs and three hits for Class A Wisconsin on Friday night, leaving after just 48 pitches because of a sore back.

Reds: RHP Homer Bailey will make his fourth rehab start Tuesday for Triple-A Louisville. He’s been sidelined since June 2 because of a sore right knee. Bailey is 1-7 with a 6.68 ERA.

UP NEXT

Brewers: Freddy Peralta (3-0) makes his fifth start. The Brewers are 4-0 in his starts. Opponents are batting .093 against the right-hander.

Reds: Matt Harvey (3-5) makes his 10th start for the Reds, who got him from the Mets in a trade for catcher Devin Mesoraco on May 8. Harvey has allowed six runs in his last three starts spanning 17 2/3 innings.

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