Then Raisel Iglesias happened.
The Iglesias Saga continues and it is a sad, sad, sad tale for the Reds.
Asked to protect that 4-1 lead in the eighth inning, Iglesias gave up a grand slam home run to Tyler Saladino, pushing Milwaukee to a 5-4 lead.
Suarez, though, saved Iglesias, saved the Reds, saved the day.
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But, Tyler who? Saladino is the No. 8 hitter. And the only reason he was in the lineup was because shortstop Keston Hiura. That seemed to be a huge bonus for the Reds because Hiura hit .500 last week and was National League Player of the Week.
The inning began with the Reds leading, 4-1, with Amir Garrett on the mound. He gave up back-to-back singles to Mike Moustakas and Jesus Aguilar.
That’s when manager David Bell brought in the much-troubled Iglesias. Hiura pinch-hit and Iglesias walked him on four pitches to fill the bases.
Then he went to 3-and-0 on Orlando Arcia, seven straight balls. He came back to 3-and-2 and appeared to walk Arcia, but he was called out on a checked swing.
That brougt up Saladino and he pounced on the first-pitch fastball like a mongoose on a snake and ripped it 419 feet over the center field wall.
Before Sunday, Saladino had no home runs and no RBI. Then on Sunday he hit a grand slam home run against Arizona and followed that with his slam off Iglesias.
Jeffress came on in the ninth for the Brewers searching for the save. He struck out Derek Dietrich. Nick Senzel beat an infield hit to shortstop and Joey Votto grounded out weakly to second, moving Senzel to second.
And Suarez struck, his 26th home run and perhaps his biggest of the season.
Wandy Peralta retired the first two Brewers in the bottom of the ninth and Jared Hughes came in. He issued a walk to put the potential tying run on base. But Milwaukee had no Suarez on this night. Hughes struck out Manny Pina to end it.
Nearly lost in all the dramatics was the effort by starting pitcher Sonny Gray. He was on top of matters all night long and held the high-octane Brewers to one run and four hits over seven innings.
Suarez broke open a close game (2-1) in the seventh. He followed a two-out Votto single with his 25th home run to push the lead to 4-1.
Gray fell behind, 1-0, in the third inning on a two-out single by Christian Yelich and a double by catcher Yasmani Grandal, a Reds No. 1 draft pick.
From there, Gray shut it down like a father taking away the car keys from a teenager.
He gave up a leadoff single to Jesus Aguilar in the fourth and hit Saladino with two outs. He struck out opposing pitcher Chase Anderson to thwart that rally.
Gray retired seven in a row, then left after six innings with 102 pitches. And trouble surfaced.
Michael Lorenzen took Gray’s place and he retired two batters, but also walked two. Bell brought in Amir Garrett and he walked Yelich on four pitches to fill the bases.
Garrett then went 2-and-0 on Grandal — six straight balls — before coming back to strike him out.
The Reds tied it, 1-1, in the fifth on a single by Juan Gaterol, sacrifice by Gray, a single by Senzel and a two-out run-scoring single by Votto on a 0-and-2 pitch.
They took a 2-1 lead when Yasiel Puig led off the inning by turning a routine single to left into a hustle double. He took third on Phillip Ervin’s single and scored on a single to center by Jose Iglesias.
Then came Suarez’s two-run home run in the seventh and the late-inning Brewers histrionics that fell short, despite the grief Iglesias continues to give the Reds.
Maybe the Reds have a new grip on life. It appears that Votto does.
Votto has choked up on his bat all season, but is now gripping the bat down on the knob. And he is no longer wearing his pants with the socks showing. He had his pants below his ankles, pajama-style Monday night in Miller Park.
Votto contributed two hits, drove in a run and scored a run as the Reds disposed of the Brewers in stunning and unbelievable fashion.