MILWAUKEE (AP) — TJ Friedl homered to lead off a five-run first inning, left-hander Nick Lodolo pitched eight strong innings and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-2 on Friday night.
In a matchup of rookie starters, Lodolo (4-5) easily outperformed Brewers right-hander Jason Alexander (2-3). Lodolo had career bests with 11 strikeouts and eight innings, and walked none, while Cincinnati’s first six batters reached base off Alexander.
Friedl hit an 0-2 pitch for his first career leadoff home run. Jonathan India hit the next pitch for a stand-up triple and scored on Kyle Farmer’s single. Jake Farley was hit by a pitch, then boos followed an RBI single Donovan Solano that put the Reds up 3-0.
After Aristides Aquino walked to load the bases, Milwaukee — fighting for a wild-card spot — recorded its first outs by turning a double play, but a run scored to put the Reds up 4-0. Alexander appeared to yell into his glove after an RBI single by Jose Barrero made it 5-0.
“They jumped him good, they hit balls hard,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said.
“I think pitchers like Jason, there's a difference between ground balls getting through and then the line drives and the damage he gave up. This was an example of, to me, the quality of the pitch wasn't good enough. He's got to get the ball in on righties, he's got to get those down, he's got to have the slider, kind of neutralize players cheating on the fastball and that's what gets hitters off balance,” he said.
In contrast, Lodolo needed only nine pitches to retire the first three batters in the first inning, striking out two of them.
Tyrone Taylor hit his 16th home run of the season, a two-run shot off Lodolo in the third inning, to cut the Reds’ lead to 5-2.
After hitting Taylor with a pitch in the fifth, Lodolo retired nine straight.
“I just feel like I'm in a good rhythm, maybe I'm not thinking out there as much,” Lodolo said.
“Good fastball up, early on, and then as the game went on, I started to gain feel for that curveball again. Once I had those two rolling, it was fun."
The Reds extended their lead to 8-2 in the ninth inning with a two-run home run by India and a solo homer by Fraley off Brent Suter.
The Reds pounded out 17 hits against four Brewers pitchers. Aquino had a career-high three doubles. Farmer also had three hits. Friedl, India, Fraley, Solano and Barrero each had two hits.
“Anytime you can start off the game like that, it's unbelievable," Friedl said. "Offense just exploded, everyone was hitting, everyone was having good at-bats, one by one, just getting around the diamond, it was awesome.”
The Reds have their first three-game winning streak since winning five in a row from July 30 to Aug. 2.
PERALTA GOES ON IL
Brewers RHP Freddy Peralta (4-3, 3.45 ERA) was placed on the 15-day IL with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. The 2021 All-Star left during the third inning of his start Thursday night in Milwaukee against San Francisco due to fatigue in the shoulder. RHP Justin Topa was recalled from Triple-A Nashville and came on to relieve Alexander. Peralta was put on the IL on May 23 with a strained right lat. Since being activated Aug. 3, he made seven starts, reaching six innings in two of them.
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Entering Friday, 62 players had played in at least one game for the Reds, a club record for a season. Accounting for some of it: 11 players have made their major league debut and 36 players have appeared on the IL.
One base runner from each team was erased in infield rundowns after moving to steal before the pitcher threw a pitch. The Reds’ miscue was more costly. Aquino was put out between second base and third with one out in the sixth. The next two batters both singled. Taylor was tagged out between first base and second with two outs in the fifth.
Brewers: OF Jonathan Davis (elbow) began a rehab assignment at Class-A Wisconsin.
Reds: Reinstated IF Matt Reynolds (left hip). ... Designated OF Alberta Almora Jr. for assignment. … Claimed RHP Luke Farrell off waivers from the Cubs.
Reds RHP Chase Anderson (0-2, 12.6 ERA) faces Brewers RHP Adrian Houser (5-9, 4.83 ERA) on Saturday in the second of the three-game series. Anderson makes his third start since the Reds signed him as a free agent to a minor league contract on Aug. 27. Houser gave up one earned run in five innings in his previous start, Monday at Colorado.
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