Reds dent Brewers' chances with 2-1 win
CINCINNATI Slumping Todd Frazier tied the game with a two-out homer in the ninth inning, and Dioner Navarro followed with an RBI triple that sent the Cincinnati Reds to a 2-1 victory Thursday and dealt a major setback to the Milwaukee Brewers’ playoff chances.
The Brewers slipped four games behind idle St. Louis for the final NL wild card with six games left.
All they needed was one more out from closer John Axford (5-8), who had converted his last 15 save chances. Frazier connected on the first pitch for his first homer since Aug. 21, tying it at 1. Jay Bruce singled and came around on Navarro’s triple to deep right-center field.
The comeback ended with the Reds’ first on-field celebration since they clinched the NL Central title on Saturday.
Until the ninth inning, the Reds played a like a team that had already clinched, managing only three singles and fanning a dozen times. Axford’s rare failure — he’s 33 of 42 overall in save chances — provided a stunning finish for the Brewers, who won the division last season.
They put themselves in position to challenge St. Louis for the wild card by winning 24 of 30. They’ve started running out of time after losing four of their last six.
The Brewers headed home for six concluding games against Houston and San Diego. Meanwhile, the Cardinals finish with six at home against Washington and Cincinnati, the two teams vying for the NL’s top seed in the playoffs.
The Reds go to Pittsburgh for three games over the weekend.
Manager Dusty Baker missed his eighth game while recovering from an irregular heartbeat and a mini-stroke. He was at the ballpark before the game. Doctors think he could return to managing on Monday in St. Louis for the start of the final series of the regular season.
Mat Latos, who pitched eight shutout innings during a 6-0 win on Saturday night that clinched the division title, allowed only three this over seven innings, including Carlos Gomez’s 17th homer leading off the third inning.
Jonathan Broxton (3-1) escaped a two-on threat in the ninth to keep it 1-0.
Milwaukee also had a new concern about its rotation as it left town. Rookie starter Wily Peralta came out of the game after throwing a high fastball — his 71st pitch — to fan Latos in the sixth inning. The 23-year-old is considered Milwaukee’s top pitching prospect. He allowed only two hits and fanned a career-high six.
NOTES: The Brewers finished 34-47 on the road. They’re 46-29 at Miller Park. ... The Reds went 50-31 at Great American Ball Park, the most wins there in a season. ... Gomez’s homer was only the second allowed by Latos in his last six starts, four of them at homer-friendly Great American Ball Park. ... The Reds won the season series against the Brewers 9-6. ... Reds LF Ryan Ludwick was out of the lineup for the seventh consecutive game with a sore groin. ... The Reds drew 2,347,251 at home this season, the second-highest attendance in the ballpark’s 10 seasons.