Brewers top Reds behind walk-off home run from Lucroy
MILWAUKEE (AP) — When Aroldis Chapman made his major league debut three years ago, Jonathan Lucroy was the first batter he faced. Chapman struck him out, and it was the same result each of the next four times they saw each other.
Not on Friday night. This time, Lucroy got him.
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The veteran catcher hit a two-run homer off the All-Star closer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 7-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
“It feels good. He has really good stuff, special arm,” Lucroy said. “It just feels good to get the win. We kind of had a rough game throwing the ball. It feels good to get a win hitting-wise.”
Jean Segura sparked the winning rally when he beat out a leadoff chopper to shortstop for his third hit. Lucroy then drove a 1-2 pitch to left for his 17th homer, snapping Cincinnati’s five-game winning streak.
Lucroy clapped his hands as he rounded first base and ditched his batting helmet before heading into a crowd of teammates surrounding home plate. It was his first career game-ending homer.
Chapman (3-5) had converted each of his last six save opportunities. He fanned Lucroy while closing out Thursday night’s 2-1 victory.
“It’s hard to get his timing down because he throws so hard,” Lucroy said. “I was just trying to be on time today and be ready whenever he threw the ball. You have to be ready. If you are just a little bit late, you have no chance.”
Chapman did not make himself available to the media after the game.
“He hung a slider to him and he didn’t miss,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Todd Frazier had three hits and matched a career high with four RBIs for Cincinnati, which lost out on an opportunity to leapfrog St. Louis for second place in the top-heavy NL Central. The Reds trail division-leading Pittsburgh by 3 games, and the Cardinals are three back after a 7-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
With two outs and runners on the corners in the seventh, Frazier dropped a single right in front of left fielder Khris Davis to give Cincinnati a 6-5 lead. Frazier also singled in a pair of runs in the first and belted a solo shot in the fourth for his 12th homer.
“You can’t get them all,” Frazier said. “Chapman’s still a really good pitcher. … We’re not worried about it at all.”
Lucroy finished with three hits and three RBIs for Milwaukee, which had lost three of four. Davis had two hits, including a two-run double, and John Axford (6-6) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
“If you look through the year, Luc comes up with some pretty amazing at-bats where he’ll keep fouling off and hang in there, then he’ll hit a line drive somewhere,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “Today, he got the homer. He really does put together some really nice at-bats.”
The Brewers played without All-Star center fielder Carlos Gomez, who is day to day with a sprained right knee after making a leaping catch at the wall during Thursday night’s 2-1 loss to Cincinnati. He had an MRI on Friday that confirmed the injury, and was using crutches to move around Milwaukee’s clubhouse before the game.
Milwaukee scored three times in the third to take a 4-2 lead, but Frazier’s leadoff drive got Cincinnati within one and Chris Heisey put the Reds in front again when he connected in the fifth. Heisey’s sixth homer came after Shin-Soo Choo reached on a leadoff single.
Segura tied it with an RBI single against Alfredo Simon in the sixth, and then got the Brewers started in the ninth. The speedy Segura leads the NL with 148 hits.
The battle of the bullpens came after each starter struggled.
Brewers left-hander Tom Gorzelanny was charged with five runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings. He was coming off his best start of the season, an impressive seven-inning effort in a 10-0 victory at Seattle last Saturday.
“I was missing spots a little bit,” Gorzelanny said. “I had to try to fight myself to try to make good pitches.”
Reds righty Mike Leake wasn’t much better, allowing four runs and nine hits in five innings. He is winless in his last four starts.
NOTES: Reds RHP J.J. Hoover got two outs to extend his scoreless streak to 22 games and 25 1-3 innings. … Roenicke said he talked to suspended slugger Ryan Braun on Friday. Roenicke said part of the discussion involved whether Braun would speak publicly in the aftermath of his 65-game ban by Major League Baseball, but the manager kept most of the phone conversation to himself. “He’s in a good frame of mind,” Roenicke said. … The Brewers recalled Sean Halton from Triple-A Nashville and optioned RHP Alfredo Figaro to their top farm club. Halton can play first base and the corner outfield spots. … Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo will come off the disabled list to start Saturday against Cincinnati. Gallardo (8-9, 4.91 ERA), who had been sidelined by a strained left hamstring, will be opposed by RHP Mat Latos (12-3, 3.04).