MILWAUKEE (AP) — Eugenio Suarez not only has the power to beat you on any given night, he has the power to beat you twice in the same night.
The Milwaukee Brewers were reminded of that as the Cincinnati Reds’ third baseman hit a pair of two-run home runs, the second coming with two outs in the ninth, to lead the Reds to a stunning 6-5 victory on Monday night.
“He believes in his ability, and he wants to be the guy in that position,” Reds manager David Bell said. “That’s really the approach you have to take. It doesn’t always work out, but if you have that approach, you’re going to come through. He’s a big-time player.”
Cincinnati held a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Suarez, 0-for-3 on the day, stepped in against Brewers reliever Adrian Houser. Houser left his first pitch to Suarez over the plate just enough to send it to center, putting the Reds up 4-1.
The lead would be short-lived, though. Milwaukee moved in front an inning later when Tyler Saladino hit his second grand slam in as many days to put the Brewers up, 5-4.
“We put pressure on their bullpen again and (Saladino) came up with a huge hit,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Everything you could ask for.”
With Josh Hader unavailable after working consecutive games, Counsell handed the ball to Jeremy Jeffress for the ninth. Jeffress gave up a one-out single to Nick Senzel, who took second on Joey Votto’s groundout, but hung a 1-0 curveball over the plate for Suarez, who got every bit of it to put the Reds back in front.
“I knew it was a big at-bat for me and I tried to win this game in my at-bat,” said Suarez, who has nine homers this month and 26 on the season. “He made that mistake right in the middle and I just did my best, put my best swing on it, and I hit the ball out. The more important thing is we got that W. We got a win and that’s all that matters.”
Wandy Peralta (1-1) pitched a perfect inning to get the victory while Jared Hughes got the final out to earn his first save.
Counsell said there was no-second guessing the decision to pitch to Suarez, even with an open base and Josh Van Meter — a .236 hitter with a home run and six RBI this season — waiting in the on-deck circle.
“I liked (Jeffress) against Suarez,” Counsell said. “Putting the winning run on base is generally not favorable.”
GRAY KEEPS DEALING
Sonny Gray got things started on a strong note for the Reds. He held Milwaukee to a run on four hits and a pair of walks while striking out seven over six innings of work. Gray has not allowed more than two earned runs in each of his last five starts and has covered at least six innings every time out during that stretch.
“I’m throwing the ball well,” Gray said. “I’m just going to try and keep it up.”
UP AND DOWN FOR HIURA
Keston Hiura began the day by becoming the first Brewers rookie to earn NL Player of the Week honors but was scratched from the starting lineup with a sore quad and will be day-to-day, Counsell said.
“We just have to be careful with him,” Counsell said, adding that Hirua suffered the injury while running out a triple Sunday at Arizona. “We’ll see how he feels when he comes in tomorrow.”
Hiura is batting .337 with nine home runs and 23 RBIs since making his MLB debut in May and carried an 11-game hitting streak into his pinch-hit appearance Monday.
Reds: RHP Tyler Mahle was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained hamstring Monday, three days after suffering the injury while throwing his very last pitch in an outing against the Cardinals. RHP Sal Romano was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to replace Mahle on the roster while Lucas Sims will take Mahle’s spot in the rotation Wednesday against the Brewers.
Brewers: Milwaukee put RHP Brandon Woodruff on the injured list Monday after an MRI revealed a strained left oblique, leaving him sidelined for least six weeks. Woodruff suffered the injury Sunday in a start against the Diamondbacks.
The series continues Tuesday night with Reds RHP Tanner Roark (5-6, 3.97 ERA) facing off against Milwaukee RHP Zach Davies (8-2, 2.79). Davies has a 0.77 ERA over his last four starts while Roark is 1-0 with a 4.24 ERA in four starts against the Brewers this season.