Brewers 10, Reds 6
CINCINNATI (AP)—Only one major league team went through last season without hitting a grand slam—the Milwaukee Brewers.
Think that’s bad? Bill Hall can top it easily. He’d never hit a grand slam in his entire career, until he finally ended the Brewers’ bases-loaded futility Monday night with a game-turning swing.
Hall broke out of a slump with his first career slam, a seventh-inning shot that powered the Brewers to a 10-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Hall was in a 1-for-22 rut when he connected off reliever Todd Coffey, the Brewers’ first grand slam since 2005.
“I didn’t know that,” Hall said. “I just know it was the first grand slam of my life. I’d never hit one. I’ve had a few opportunities, but never came through. It’s pretty special.”
It was an appropriate place for the breakthrough homer. Milwaukee hadn’t hit a grand slam since J.J. Hardy connected off reliever Chris Booker in Cincinnati during a 14-5 victory on Sept. 7, 2005. That game featured the same two starting pitchers.
Rickie Weeks hit a solo homer off Eric Milton (0-2) and slumping Corey Hart doubled home two more runs, helping Milwaukee get its fourth victory in five games. The 10 runs were a season high for Milwaukee.
No one was more relieved than Hall, who is hitting only .179 and hadn’t driven in a run since opening day.
“I felt this could be a good place for him to get ignited,” said left-hander Chris Capuano (2-0), who gave up four hits in 5 2-3 innings.
The Reds had scored only one run in their last 27 innings when they broke out in the sixth with the help of Hardy’s error at shortstop. Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run single completed a rally and trimmed the lead to 4-3, with all the runs unearned because of the error.
Hall then broke the game open with an at-bat that teased him right up to the final swing. The Brewers loaded the bases with none out against Coffey, who hit two of the first three batters with pitches.
“Todd Coffey is very, very reliable,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “The last thing in the world you would expect is for him to hit two of the first three batters he faced.”
During the decisive at-bat, Hall hit two balls that landed just foul down the first-base line—one coming down a few inches on the wrong side of the line. For a player in a slump, it was a bad omen.
“Just foul,” he said, recalling his disappointment. “I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. I’ve hit a couple balls lately that just haven’t fallen in for me, especially in key situations.”
Hall fouled off a two-strike pitch to keep the at-bat going, then took a pitch a few inches off the outside corner to run the count full. Coffey threw a fastball that went right down the middle, the perfect pitch to end that grand slam drought.
“There’s no excuse to it,” Coffey said. “It’s my fault tonight.”
Pinch-hitter Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Brewers reliever Elmer Dessens. Hamilton, back in baseball after overcoming drug addiction, has three homers and seven RBIs in 18 at-bats this season.
Temperatures finally approached normal at Great American Ball Park, where it was in the 30s for the first pitch of the four previous games. It was a seasonable 58 degrees when Milton threw the first of his 99 pitches—high and outside.
Milton opened the season on the disabled list because of back spasms, and wound up as the No. 5 starter when he returned. He was hit hard in his first start of the season, a 6-3 loss to Pittsburgh on April 8, and went seven days without pitching before his start on Monday.
The left-hander gave up three runs, including an unearned run that scored on Ken Griffey Jr.’s error in right field.
The crowd of 12,521 was Cincinnati’s smallest of the season. … The Reds honored Jackie Robinson before the game by showing highlights of his career on the video board. Chuck Harmon, 82, who was the Reds’ first black player, threw a ceremonial pitch to Griffey. Harmon made his major league debut with the Reds on April 17, 1954, against the Brooklyn Dodgers. … The Brewers have at least one double in each of their 12 games this season, their best season-opening streak since they doubled in the first 12 games of the 2000 season. … Milwaukee’s starters have gone at least five innings in each of their first 12 games, the fourth time that’s happened in franchise history. The 1976 and 2003 teams also went 12 games, while the 1971 club holds the Brewers record with starters going five innings or more in the first 17 games.