The Associated Press
MILWAUKEE - Yasmani Grandal's home run helped the Brewers get back in the game. But it was a bizarre double play the Milwaukee catcher started on a pitch that got past him that really saved the day.
The Brewers overcame an early five-run deficit and outlasted the Cincinnati Reds 11-9 Wednesday, with Grandal in the thick of things.
In the sixth, Grandal hit a tying, two-run homer. The Brewers then tacked on three more runs in the inning for an 11-8 lead.
The Reds scored once in the seventh and had the bases loaded with one out. Reliever Jeremy Jeffress struck out Phillip Ervin swinging, but the ball zipped past Grandal. Fortunately for the Brewers, the ball caromed off the back wall and right back to Grandal.
"The ball gets past the catcher and a lot of times as a runner, you just react," Reds manager David Bell said.
Curt Casali took off from first, assuming all the runners would advance. Derek Dietrich, however, stayed at third, seeing the ball ricochet to Grandal.
Grandal threw down to first and Casali was tagged out after a rundown.
"That's a play we work on every day," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said, laughing. "We caught a break there, 100 percent."
The game had been set up as a pitching duel between the Brewers' Zach Davies and Luis Castillo. They entered with the second-lowest (Davies, 1.54) and third-lowest (Castillo, 1.90) ERAs in the National League.
It turned out to be the shortest outing of the season for both, as Davies gave up six runs in three innings and Castillo allowed four in 2 2/3.
"They were pretty aggressive," Davies said. "That's where my pitch execution comes in and I just didn't have it today."
Castillo said he couldn't execute his changeup.
"I didn't trust that pitch today. I was using it, but more like in fastball counts," he said.
In all, Cincinnati and Milwaukee both used six pitchers. Josh Hader finished it, earning his 12th save in 12 chances.
The Brewers, shut out for the first time this season in a 3-0 loss to the Reds on Tuesday, played their second straight game without Christian Yelich. The 2018 NL MVP was out with back spasms, and it isn't known yet when he'll return.
Tucker Barnhart's fourth homer, a second-deck drive to right field, capped a five-run second that put the Reds up, 5-0. Dietrich hit his 12th in the third for a 6-1 lead.
The Brewers made it 6-all in the fourth on a two-run single by Eric Thames. Keston Hiura and Mike Moustakas also homered for Milwaukee.
Milwaukee reliever Junior Guerra (2-0) earned the win. Wandy Peralta (0-1) took the loss.
REDS 3, BREWERS 0: With Christian Yelich on the bench, Milwaukee couldn't even get a runner past second base.
Sonny Gray and three Cincinnati relievers held down the Brewers, who were missing Yelich because of back spasms, in the Reds' 3-0 victory Tuesday night.
It was the major league-leading seventh shutout for the Reds as the Brewers were blanked for the first time this season.
Yelich was a late scratch from the starting lineup because of the back issue. Manager Craig Counsell said Yelich's status would be reviewed Wednesday.
Gray (1-4) earned his first win of the season with six shutout innings in his first appearance ever at Miller Park. He tied his season-high with nine strikeouts. Raisel Iglesias earned his 10th save.
"I've had a plan, I just stayed with it and trusted that," Gray said. "I just trusted it making big pitches with runners on."
The Brewers showed a lack of punch without Yelich, the 2018 National League MVP, striking out 14 times. Yelich is batting .325 and had a major league-leading 19 home runs coming into Tuesday night.
Nick Senzel led off the first inning with a triple off Brewers starter Gio Gonzlez (2-1) and scored when Gonzlez threw a wild pitch to Phillip Ervin. Ervin then doubled, scoring Eugenio Surez, who had walked. And Ervin scored when Kyle Farmer hit into a fielder's choice.
"They caught me on my heels that first inning," Gonzlez said. "They were real aggressive right away."
After cruising through the first three innings giving up only one hit, Gray walked Ryan Braun and Yasmani Grandal to start the fourth inning. But Braun was thrown out trying to steal third, Eric Thames grounded out and Keston Hiura struck out.