Trying to post consecutive victories for the first time since the 22nd and 23rd of April, the Brewers turned to Zach Greinke and his unblemished home record Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park. The Cincinnati Reds’ Johnny Cueto joined Greinke in a pitcher’s duel in the rubber match of the three game series. Greinke entered the game with a 14-0 mark and a 3.36 ERA in 20 home starts. After eight scoreless innings, the game ended in dramatic fashion with both bullpens receiving decisions in the Reds’ 2-1 victory.
Milwaukee threatened first in the bottom of the third inning, loading the bases with two outs before Aramis Ramirez grounded out to short. Greinke took a perfect game into the fourth inning, retiring ten batters in a row before Drew Stubbs knocked a one out double to center field. Stubbs later stole third after a Joey Votto pop out but was stranded when Brandon Phillips struck out on a foul tip.
The Reds could not manage another hit or base runner off of Greinke until Phillips singled with two outs in the seventh.
After a two out single by Ryan Braun in the third, Johnny Cueto erased 12 batters in order. Taylor Green hit a two out double in the bottom of the seventh but the Brewers could not collect another two out RBI one night removed from plating eight runs with two outs.
Cueto threw seven scoreless innings, scattering five hits, one walk and struck out five. Flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman took over in the eighth inning for Cueto. Chapman struck out Brooks Conrad, pinch-hitting for Greinke, retired Nyjer Morgan and finished the frame by striking out Rickie Weeks on a 101 mph fastball.
Greinke went eight scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out eleven in one of his better Miller Park performances. With no run support on the afternoon, Greinke would watch the bullpen waste the effort.
John Axford came on to pitch the ninth for the Crew. After striking out Chris Heisey and Zack Cozart, Drew Stubbs collected his second hit of the afternoon. Joey Votto then doubled home Stubbs for the first run of the game. Brandon Phillips followed up with a RBI single of his own, scoring Votto and giving the Reds a 2-0 lead. Jay Bruce received an intentional pass, effectively ending his eleven game hit streak. Pinch hitter Miguel Cairo grounded out to end the Reds’ ninth.
Sean Marshall worked two-thirds of the ninth for the Reds, looking for his sixth save in seven tries. Ryan Braun led off with a booming shot to left, his tenth home run of the year. Ramirez and Corey Hart went down quietly, bringing up Jonathan Lucroy as the Brewers’ last chance. Lucroy battled Marshall en route to an eleven pitch at bat before smacking a single to left field. Edwin Maysonet replaced Lucroy at first and Norichika Aoki pinch hit for Taylor Green. Aoki worked the count full and singled to center, sending Maysonet to second. After manager Dusty Baker made a change for Logan Ondrusek, Ron Roenicke sent George Kottaras to the dish. Kottaras drew a walk, loading the bases for another pinch hitter, Travis Ishikawa. First pitch swinging Ishikawa sent a fly ball to left field where Chris Heisey squeezed for the final out. Chapman (3-0, 0.00 ERA) has not allowed a run in eleven games this season and picked up his third win. Axford (0-2, 5.59 ERA) took the loss for the Brewers. Logan Ondrusek faced two batters to collect his first save of the season.