When Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich, Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez see the Cincinnati, it is like a wolf sniffing a raw sirloin.
The first three hitters in the Brewers batting order accounted for seven hits and seven RBI on a double and three home runs, leading Milwaukee to a 7-6 victory Sunday afternoon in American Family Field.
A crowd of 42,482, Milwaukee’s third sellout of the season, watched the Brewers take the last two games of the series after the Reds won the opener.
It wasn’t easy. The Reds barged back from a 7-2 deficit to within 7-6 in the ninth, but with the potential tying run on second base, Jonathan India struck out for the fifth time to end it.
Yelich had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run. Adames had two hits with a home run, two runs scored and two driven in. Tellez had three hits that included two home runs and a double. He scored two and drove in four.
The first inning was a major clue as to what kind of day it would be for the Reds.
Milwaukee starter Brandon Woodruff struck out the side to open the game en route to 11 strikeouts over six innings.
Then Yelich, Adames and Tellez struck in the bottom of the first against Reds starter Justin Dunn.
Yelich singled to left, Adames singled to right and Tellez double into the right-field corner for a 2-0 lead.
The Reds quickly tied in the second against Wooduff. The uprising started with a leadoff double by Jake Fraley. Then came a strange turn of events with two outs.
It appeared Alejo Lopez was hit on the hand with a pitch. Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell appealed and officials in the New York challenge room ruled the ball hit the bat … foul ball.
So instead of runners on second and first with two outs, Lopez was called back to the batter’s box. And much to Counsell’s dismay. Lopez doubled to right field, scoring Fraley. And Lopez scored on a bloop single to right by Matt Reunolds, fresh off the injured list, to tie it, 2-2
But it was more of the same from the Reds tormentors in the second. With two outs and a runner on second, Yelich singled for a run. Adames launched a home run and Tellez followed him with a home run — four runs and a 6-2 lead.
And the Reds would get nothing more off Woodruff — six innings, two runs, five hits, one walk, 11 strikeouts.
Pitcher Luke Farrell made his Cincinnati debut in the fourth and pitched three strong innings — one run, one hit, one walk, three strikeouts. The one run was Tellez’s second homer of the game in the fourth inning, his 30th of the season.
Farrell, pick up on waivers a couple of days ago, was the 63rd different player to appear for the Reds this season and the 36th pitcher, both club records.
After getting rid of Woodruff, the Reds scored a couple of runs in the seventh against Peter Strzelecki on a single by Spencer Steer and a home run by Lopez, his first major league home run.
That cut the lead to 7-4. Brewers closer Devin Williams ran into major difficulty in the ninth.
Steer led the ninth with a double. Lopez beat an infield roller to third base, his third hit. Third baseman Jace Pederson threw away a grounder by Reynolds for a run-scoring error.
Then rookie center fielder Garrett Mitchell made a game-saving play. He raced in to make a diving catch on T.J. Friedl’s sacrifice fly. A run scored after the catch, making it 7-6.
The tying run stood on second base with two outs and India at the plate. India had struck out four times. Make it five. Williams struck him out to end the game.