CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds didn’t exactly overpower the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday. They didn’t have to with the pitching they got.
Scott Schebler hit a two-run single in Cincinnati’s three-run first inning and four pitchers teamed up on the Reds’ eighth shutout of the season in a 3-0 victory over Milwaukee.
Keyvius Sampson started and Blake Wood (6-3), Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias followed as the Reds posted their seventh shutout since the All-Star break. They went into the game tied with the Cubs, Angels and Marlins for the most second-half shutouts in the majors.
Iglesias pitched the final two innings for his third save in four opportunities as the Reds extended their winning streak to four games.
Combined with their 8-0 win on Sunday at Pittsburgh, the Reds have back-to-back shutouts for the first time since winning 4-0 and 1-0 at St. Louis on July 28-29 of last season.
“I’m happy for the guys that have been here the bulk of the season,” manager Bryan Price said. “Early in the season, when we were struggling, we asked guys to take on roles they weren’t prepared for. We plugged in pitchers that weren’t ready to be here. We went through a lot of growing pains. It’s nice to have some of the guys that tasted real struggles bounce back and see success for the work they put in on their craft.”
The Brewers, who had hit at least one home run in nine consecutive games, have lost three of their last four and were shut out for the eighth time this season.
The Reds sent eight batters to the plate in the first against Wily Peralta (6-10). They collected a walk and four hits, including back-to-back infield hits to shortstop Jonathan Villar by Adam Duvall and Brandon Phillips that loaded the bases, setting up Schebler’s two-run single. Tyler Holt followed with an RBI single.
“It was a little frustrating,” Peralta said. “I made the pitches I wanted to make. I got ground balls. They just found some holes. They didn’t hit anything hard.”
Manager Craig Counsell had no complaints about his veteran right-hander.
“Wily pitched very well tonight,” Counsell said. “He continued what he’s been doing. We didn’t have much luck tonight.”
Sampson, making his second start of the season as the Reds skipped Anthony DeSclafani, tied his career high with seven strikeouts. But he was relieved by Wood in the fifth with the bases loaded and two outs — not long enough to qualify for the win. He allowed four hits and two walks and hit a batter.
Sampson was disappointed about not qualifying for the win, but pleased with his overall effort.
“This was pretty good,” he said. “I hate having two walks, but they happen. Honestly, I just wanted to give the team everything I had. I tried to keep them in the game.”
Wood stifled the threat by getting Hernan Perez to fly out.
“With the bases loaded and Perez coming in, another guy having a nice year, it was time for Woody to come in and clean it up,” Price said.
Peralta rebounded after Holt’s single to retire the next 15 batters before Phillips’ dribbler hugged the third base line for an infield single with two outs in the sixth inning. Peralta allowed six hits and three runs with one walk and five strikeouts in six innings.
Reds 2B Brandon Phillips tried to catch the Brewers and the umpires napping, catching and then “dropping” Peralta’s soft liner with Martin Maldonado on first base and nobody out in the third inning. Second base umpire Roberto Ortiz immediately ruled the ball was caught and Maldonado still was safe at first.
The Reds used two right fielders and both made eye-catching plays. Schebler made a diving catch of Perez’s blooper to end the first, then Steve Selsky easily threw out Jonathan Villar trying to score from second Scooter Gennett’s two-out single in the sixth.
Brewers: Rookie SS Orlando Arcia got Monday off after playing in 37 of Milwaukee’s 39 games since making his major league debut on Aug. 2.
Reds: SS Jose Peraza returned to the starting lineup after missing Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh with a sore right pinky finger, the result of fouling a ball off of it on Saturday.
Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (5-6), who allowed just three hits and one run over six innings without getting a decision in Milwaukee’s 2-1 victory over the Cubs last Wednesday, starts on Tuesday.
Reds: RHP Dan Straily (11-8), who set his single-season career high for losses in his last start, tries to improve to 8-2 since the All-Star break on Tuesday.