The Cincinnati Reds jumped out to an 8-0 lead thanks to strong pitching early on and big time hitting from Will Benson and Elly De La Cruz. Things unraveled quickly, though, and they had to hang out towards the end as the Milwaukee Brewers refused to go quietly before ultimately dropping the contest 10-8.

Final R H E
Milwaukee Brewers (6-3) 8 12 3
Cincinnati Reds (6-4)
10 10 1
W: Ashcraft (1-1) L: Ashby (0-1) SV: Diaz (2)
Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread

The Reds got some help from the Brewers in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Joey Ortiz rushed a throw to 1st base on a grounder and it got by the first baseman to allow Elly De La Cruz to not only reach safely, but to advance to second base on the play. He would then steal third base and score the go-ahead run on a Santiago Espinal ground out. Will Benson then added to the lead with a solo homer to make it 2-0. It was the first home run in the big leagues by Benson against a left-handed pitcher.

Two innings later the Reds would put together a big rally. Tyler Stephenson and Elly De La Cruz singled to start things. Cincinnati would get some more help from Milwaukee’s defense as Santiago Espinal laid down a bunt and once again Joey Ortiz fielded the ball and threw it by the first baseman. Not only did Stephenson score from second on the play, but De La Cruz scored from first base to make it 4-0. Will Benson followed up with a double as Cincinnati padded their lead. Stuart Fairchild walked and then he and Benson executed a double steal before a 2-run double by Spencer Steer that made it 7-0. It wasn’t over there as Jeimer Candelario hit a hard grounder the other way that deflected off of Rhys Hoskins and into right field, bringing in another run and capping off a 6-run inning.

After dominating for the first four innings of the game, Graham Ashcraft ran into problems in the 5th. Brice Turang hit a 2-out, 2 run homer to put the Brewers on the board. Milwaukee followed up with three straight singles to plate another run and make it an 8-3 game. The Reds got one of those runs back when Elly De La Cruz hit a 450-foot home run to lead off the bottom of the 5th that nearly landed on top of the boat on top of the batters eye in center field.

Stuart Fairchild was robbed of a hit in the bottom of the 5th inning. He returned the favor and then some when he robbed Willy Adames of a home run by reaching into the stands to bring it back.

That may have been an important catch because the wheels came off again for Graham Ashcraft in the 6th. Milwaukee put together a bit of a rally after that with two singles coming before a Brice Turang double that made it 9-5. The Brewers got another run when Ashcraft fielded a chopper and then threw the ball away, allowing another run to score. That play would end his night as the Reds called on Justin Wilson to enter the game. He’d get a fly out to end the inning and keep a 3-run lead.

Wilson would not get out of the jam he got himself into in the 7th inning. A leadoff double from William Contreras was followed up by a 2-run home run off of the bat of Christian Yelich, and just like that an 8-run lead for the Reds had shriveled to a 1-run lead. Lucas Sims entered out of the bullpen and struck out three batters to keep his team in the lead.

With one out in the 7th inning Elly De La Cruz lined a ball to shallow center and Sal Frelick made an attempt to catch it on a dive. He didn’t and the ball got by him and then De La Cruz was off to the races and 15 seconds after he made contact he was touching home plate for an inside-the-park home run to put Cincinnati in front 10-8.

Fernando Cruz pitched a perfect 8th inning. Things got dicey with Alexis Diaz on the mound in the 9th. He would walk Christian Yelich with one out, then hit Sal Frelick with a pitch with two outs to put the tying run on base, but after a 7-pitch at-bat he got Rhys Hoskins to fly out to end the game.

Key Moment of the Game

It may have been the inside-the-park home run by Elly De La Cruz in the 7th inning that gave Cincinnati an additional run to work with.

Notes Worth Noting

Jonathan India, who was struck by a batted ball during batting practice and was eventually taken out of the starting lineup was not out because of the contusion on his leg, but because his hand still had some swelling after being hit by a pitch on Sunday.

Elly De La Cruz picked up his first inside-the-park home run on the day. He went 3-4 and scored four runs. His OPS jumped from .718 to .961 on the day. De La Cruz has 11 hits this season. He also has scored 11 runs this season.

Will Benson went 2-3 with a double, walk, home run, two runs, and had two RBI. He and De La Cruz were the only Reds with multiple hits in the game.

There were 31 outs recorded by ground out or fly out in the game. Of those 31 only seven of them were on fly outs.

Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds

Milwaukee Brewers vs Cincinnati Reds

Tuesday April 9th, 6:40pm ET

Joe Ross (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Frankie Montas (2-0, 0.77 ERA)

62 Responses

  1. Old-school

    Prettiest ugly win of the year for sure!

    • Mark Moore

      Chalk up a win whilst still beating yourself … I’d tend to agree with that.

  2. Harry Stoner

    Only 6 Ks for the Reds as a team.

  3. Indy Red Man

    Went out to dinner after watching Graham hit 100 so not sure what happened? I think his slider lost some downward tilt? Elly and Stuey saved the day though. Big win

    • Old Big Ed

      The Reds got 6 in the bottom of the 4th, which included a jillion pitches by the Brewers and a pitching change. I think the long, long inning got Ashcraft a bit off his edge, and he wasn’t as effective afterwards. He tired in the 6th, and with a big league, they tried to nurse him through the inning. His own throwing error on a mis-hit grounder didn’t help.

      Ashcraft is fine.

  4. LT

    Offense exploded today, with some help from Brewers terrible defense. Need someone to step up to help Steer out and EDLC provided that today. 5-6 innings remained Achilles heel for GA.

  5. John C.

    Only De LA Cruz could hit a 450 foot home run and a 280 foot home run in the same game.

  6. Mark Moore

    Ugly wins cause angst, but beating Bernie in our first meeting of the season is still pretty sweet. Watching Elly play and then interview tonight was even sweeter.

    Until tomorrow, friends.

  7. MBS

    Letting Benson play vs LHP is paying off early this season. Benson, and Elly’s excitement for the game is contagious.

    • Ted Alfred

      Benson looks like a guy who is really coming into his own and could be a seriously great player for the Reds for the next 5 years. His confidence is growing and I really believe he’s got the eye discipline and the swing to be an everyday player facing lefties. Amazing they got Steer, CES and Benson for Tyler Mahle and a jag.

      • LWBlogger

        @MK – I love Will Benson, but that may be a stretch. Parker is one of the best I’ve seen. 7 All Star games, an MVP award, some Gold Gloves. I hope you’re right though. It would be awesome if Benson turned into that sort of player.

    • Ted Alfred

      I was super, super impressed with Elly’s interview post game. His demeanor was fantastic and he was relaxed and confident. I can only imagine the work he put in the offseason to be able to handle himself like that in just one off season from where he was. If he worked that hard improving his English I can only imagine how hard he must have worked on improving his baseball skills.

    • Old Big Ed

      Benson has really shortened his swing, especially against LH pitching.

    • TR

      Benson, as a regular regardless of whose pitching, is a managerial positive.

    • MK

      Thought Cruz was on hot seat with Gibaut coming back, but if that’s the case he is going to make it tough on them.

      • Indy Red Man

        Cruz has 3x better stuff then Farmer

      • 2020ball

        He also has 3x more options, keep the depth please

      • Mauired

        That’s why they should not have resigned Farmer. Now they have to demote a better pitcher or eat his salary

  8. VaRedsFan

    Concerning Ashcraft’s 6th inning.
    After Fairchild’s great catch, there were a couple of oppo squibblers that found holes. Then Steer misplayed the ball in left field allowing 2 runs to score. Then GA made an error allowing the 3rd run to score. on the slow roller to the left of the mound. All with 2 outs. There should have been no runs scored that inning.

    What I’m getting at, is Ashcraft was fine at 80 pitches entering the 6th. There was no need to remove him. I want my pitchers to go 6+ innings. Especially at 80 pitches, an 8-3 lead, and mostly dominating. Guys can’t get longer into games unless you let them go longer in games.

    • Brian Rutherford

      Too much logic! Fire Bell!

    • Mauired

      Ha. Yeah no need to take out a pitcher who gave up more runs than outs in the 5th and 6th. He started to look gassed when he could barley get out of the 5th. He gave up a homer and a sting of hits in the 5th after dominating the first four innings. Sure bring him out for the sixth but keep an eye on him. 1st batter home run if not for the miracle catch from Fairchild. Does Captain inNeptitude start warming someone up. Of course not. He just watches him let the opposing team eviscerate a 9-0 deficit. But go ahead and make excuses for him because the starting pitcher has to go six innings minimum.

      • VaRedsFan

        I’m not a Bell guy.
        I’ll say again…It was 8-3….No more runs would have scored if Steer catches the routine flyball.

      • Reaganspad

        Had the Reds not scored 6 in the bottom of the 4th, they would have won that game 2-0 and Ashcraft would have went 8 innings.

        Baseball is a funny game. Ashcraft needs to learn how to pitch with such a lead (he walked the first batter in the 5th and was clearly not the same guy who finished the 4th).

        Elly forcing an error on his first at bat changed his day. Bunting and grounding the ball to Ortiz changed his day.

        Need to make things happen. I’m sure Ashcraft will be sitting in with Montas as he watches Hunter continue to emerge

      • LWBlogger

        @Reaganspad – I have to think that sitting during the long bottom-half of the 4th, played a part in Ashcraft’s tough 5th.

      • Mauired

        Va. That was not a routine catch. It would have been a highlight catch if he made the play. It was a line drive to the corner that Steer almost got to and it went over his head. Could he have taken a better route? Maybe. But it’s not the reason Ashcraft gave up 6 runs in 2 innings. Ashcraft is a nice young pitcher but it was obvious in the 5th he was going to be need to come out soon. Again I reiterate after giving up runs in the 5th and giving up another homerun to the first batter in sixth that becomes an out because Fairchild robs it, that’s when a manager with brains gets the bullpen up and ready.

    • greenmtred

      I agree, VaRedsFan. I think Ashcraft probably was tired, but with a big lead, why not give him a chance to work through it? How else will the young starters learn to pitch deeper into games–an outcome many here frequently lobby for? In a playoff game, you probably pull him in the fifth. But in the tenth game of the season with a six run lead? Give him the chance to learn.

  9. Reddawg2012

    That was fun. And also extremely frustrating. Baseball!

  10. Joe

    Yes I couldn’t agree more!
    What a fine young man Elly is!

  11. sultanofswaff

    Top of the ninth inning, right handed better, runner on first base, one out, 2 run lead….. I don’t understand the logic of allowing the runner to take second on defensive indifference. Diaz then got the ground ball to short that would’ve ended the game but instead he had to face two more batters. I would assume the logic is to play no doubles defense, but what are the odds of a right hand batter slashing the ball down the first baseline? I would much rather help my pitcher by keeping the double play intact.
    .

    • Mark A Verticchio

      You are 100% correct, very poor coaching or execution by the Reds. The game should have ended on that ground ball.

      • Still a Red

        They’ve been doing that for a few games now and I don’t get it either. I understand what OldBigEd is saying and I guess the analytics back it up, but it sure is scarey.

    • Old Big Ed

      By conceding second base, they give up the double-play grounder, but they also tighten up the hole between the first and second-baseman. Yelich’s run did not matter; the idea is to deploy a defense best designed to prevent Adames from getting on base. It isn’t like Adames can’t hit the ball to the opposite field, because he hit the ball that Fairchild caught above the fence in the 6th.

      The Brewers had also been slapping opposite-field hits all game.

      The real 9th inning issue was that Diaz threw 9 of 19 pitches for strikes, and had to throw his last 4 pitches as strikes to do that.

      • Still a Red

        Agree about Diaz. He too scares me almost every time he pitches. Even last year.

  12. RedBB

    Prediction..Cruz will be our closer in the 2nd half of this year.

    • Old Big Ed

      Could be. His splitter looks impossible to hit. Bruce Sutter, Jr.

  13. GreatRedLegsFan

    Good to see EDLC showing his power and wheels, the guy really sells his striking image. Along with Steer, Benson and perhaps India they’d carry the offensive workload until Candelario and CES decide to join the party.

  14. GreatRedLegsFan

    Spiers will be sent back to AAA as soon as Lodolo is activated, but with Moll and Gibaut soon to also be activated there’ll be sort of a roster crunch as only Sutter, Wilson and Moll (all LH) have still options available.

    • LarkinPhillips

      Moll should stay in AAA. His results have been extremely poor down there and his velocity is down greatly. Let him work through that at the AAA level. Spiers is up briefly and could serve a useful role in a long relief appearance over the next few days. I would prefer to see Lodolo activated, Spiers sent down, and Martinez to pen. If Santillan continues to pitch like he has thus far season, he needs to be up sooner rather than later though. No reason to rush it as injuries this time of year seem to open the spot for moves to happen naturally.

  15. Grand Salami

    Great win. CES really does look lost out there right now. Maybe a day off or a day just to DH?

    • LarkinPhillips

      CES is my guy. But he needs to be moved down in the order and some pressure taken off him. Flip him and Steer and get CES back to using the whole field. From following him in the minors since he was sent over, this may be the first real slump he has experienced and that takes time for a young player to work through. On the flip side, he has done better at 1b than I expected, but expectations were low to start with.

      • VaRedsFan

        I agree with you LP.
        CES is still hitting the ball hard, but is in a Suarez-like pull mode. Make a concerted effort to stay back and drive the ball to center and right-center. He will emerge from this.

      • LarkinPhillips

        Last year and in the minors, he punished off speed pitches for strikes. This year he is hardly swinging at them and when he does he fouls them off his feet or rolls to third base. This should be an easy fix, but it is more mental than anything. Good comparison to Suarez. Hopefully he doesn’t go that extreme. CES has consistently said he would rather hit for average than power, so I trust that he will course correctly quickly.

  16. Still a Red

    Glad to see Fairchild making the most of his increased playing time. The eye test tells me he is a player with more upside coming.

    • Jim Walker

      I agree; but, he needs the playing time to progress. If the Reds don’t see that for him in their model, they should do themselves and Fairchild a solid by trying to sell high on him.

      • 2020ball

        Not sure what you’d expect to receive for him, i doubt its much even if he’s playing this well. I say keep him, hes a great bench player and accepts his role.

      • Mauired

        He is a good bench player. Much better than I thought. But the outfield is going to start getting crowded. With Friedl coming back and the entire AAA starting OF on the way, somebody has to go. Probably why they just flat out released Barrero. They have nine outfielders on the 40 man roster including Martini who usually is a DH plus Dunn who will probably join the crowd this year. Even if they could get some lower level prospects like the Naquin trade, it might be worth it. Hector Rodriguez and Jose Acuna for Naquin looks like a steal now.

  17. Jim Walker

    The Statcast numbers for Ashcraft’s 5th inning shout that he was gassed.

    https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/gamefeed?gamePk=746735
    5th:
    He walked the leadoff man despite having an 8 run lead. Then after 2 IF ground outs the deluge started. The numbers below are EV and xBA

    104.0/.850 2 run HR
    106.3/.520 single
    86.8/.830 single
    103.9/.370 single; 1 run scores
    93.0/.450 lineout (the sliding Fairchild catch)
    END 5th
    Only the outstanding catch got Ashcraft out of the 5th with a reasonable lead intact.

    The narrative that the long bottom of the fourth took something out of Ashcfaft and that he was gassed after it are not mutually exclusive. Yet after being rocked in the 5th, he was sent out for the 6th.

    6th:

    99.5/.510 flyout (Fairchild catch above the wall)
    93.2/.160 single
    K
    81.5/.080 single
    93.2/.160 double; 2 scores
    82.1/.330 single; 1 scores

    Ashcraft out of game

    • Reaganspad

      Mentally gassed. He had thrown 41 pitches, but the long 6 run bottom of the 4 changed everything.

      Not sure if he needed to be on a stationary bike during the long inning or what, but his 42nd pitch was much different than his 41st. He needs a Montas bench session on Thursday (since Montas is starting tonight)

      He has to learn how to manage big innings by the Reds offensively

      • Jim Walker

        I am equally or even more concerned about the manager. This game had all the earmarks of that meltdown versus the Pirates late last season which most likely cost the Reds a playoff berth. The difference was that Fernando Cruz stopped the bleeding this time versus feeding the carnage last year.

        Who does the manager talk to in order to learn his role in protecting early leads and that the value of a “W” clearly in hand is more important than planning the bullpen 2 or 3 days down the line (which by the way he blew through anyway).

      • greenmtred

        The manager should probably not talk to everyone here who says repeatedly that starters should be going deeper into games and that Bell pulls them too soon. I repeat: how will the young pitchers learn to extend their innings if they aren’t given the chance in games? And what better game than one when the Reds have a big lead?

      • Mauired

        So green letting a pitcher learn in more important than winning. Reds won that game just by dumb luck and some miracles. Fairfield doesn’t rob the homerun and Elly doesn’t get the inside the park home run and it’s tied 9-9 with a shaky closer and a manager that lives on Mars.

      • greenmtred

        The win wasn’t just dumb luck and miracles; it was also two homers by EDLC and some mostly good relief pitching and, to be fair, 4 very strong innings from Ashcraft. You’re posing a binary choice in a situation that isn’t binary: if the Reds are up two runs and the starter loses it, I pull him. He can learn when he has a bigger lead. But young starters have to learn and, at some point, it has to be at the MLB level where they get really tested. It’s a gamble, but so is calling a double steal or giving a promising hitter a chance to get back on track. It’s probably mostly different with a veteran club, but a young team like the Reds has to figure that continued player development is important and will result in good things down the road.

      • 2020ball

        Im glad the manager believes in his player because the fans certainly dont.

        Disgusted by most of the whiney posts here, no one blames the defense or ashcraft, they whine about the manager instead always with the benefit of hindsight as their only argument. After a frickin win no doubt. Sad really, at least the manager is on the players’ sides since someone needs to be.

      • Mauired

        Ok so according to green and 2020 leaving the starting pitcher in to get shelled for six almost seven runs and get 5 outs in the middle innings was a great managerial move. And pointing out dumb that is whining. And as I recall the only error by the defense was Ashcraft anyway. It is what it is. The guy was dominanting and then he ran out of gas. Started to get hit a lot and Bell finally woke up after letting a 9-0 lead go to 9-7. Thankfully the offense was great yesterday or it was another l. And I believe many people were questioning why he wasn’t pulled during the meltdown so it wasn’t hindsight like you always whine about. 2020 you’re pathetic.

      • greenmtred

        I didn’t intend to judge the move, but I offered a rationale for it; a rationale that I think is reasonable. Your view, Mauired, is reasonable also and I fully expected Ashcraft to be replaced to start the sixth. But, of course, I don’t know him. I don’t know what sort of conversation may have taken place between Ashcraft and Bell or Ashcraft and DJ or between DJ and Bell. I will say that if Ashcraft–or Greene, Lodolo et al–are going to frequently pitch later into games, they’re going to have to learn how to pace themselves and stay calm in adverse situations, and there really isn’t any substitute for actually doing so.

    • LWBlogger

      I still think that this had an awful lot to do with the long bottom of the 4th. Having said that, looking at this, his leash for the 6th should have been quite short. Not sure how quickly this data is available to a team in the dugout or to operations staff, but they do suggest he was tired or that he couldn’t get properly warmed up again over the long bottom 4.

      • LWBlogger

        I’d have to think that Stephenson would notice that something was wonky too. An MLB catcher can tell when a pitcher is becoming gassed.

    • sti

      I don’t Jim…in the 6th, xBA of .160, .080, .160 sounds more like bad luck to me.