McCoy: Offense comes alive to power Reds to doubleheader sweep

Sonny Gray did what Sonny Gray does in Game One of the first doubleheader ever played in Milwaukee’s Miller Park on Thursday.

He stopped a four-game losing streak for the Cincinnati Reds, a 6-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. And his offense backed him with 12 hits, including three home runs.

What was not expected is that Game Two starter, Wade Miley, was even better in helping the Reds complete a sweep.

Miley, 0-and-3 with a 9.72 earned run average. held the Brew Crew to no runs and one dinky infield hit for his four innings as the Reds won Game 2, 6-0.

And instead of playing bombs away on offense, the Reds resorted to small ball, bunching singles and doubles together for their victory in the nightcap.

Gray is the right guy to have on the mound when the Reds are on a losing streak.

When he helped end the team’s four-game losing streak in the opener, Gray’s record leaped to 6-and-0 since August of last season when the Reds had lost two or more in a row and he pitched.

“Well-played and well-pitched games,” said Reds manager David Bell.

Of Miley, Bell said, “We’ve seen that before. We’ve seen Wade for years and have seen that. That was the best stuff we’ve seen him have.”

And why was he taken out after four innings?

“He’s a smart guy,” said Bell. “He hit a bit of a wall and was tired and to his credit he pointed out, even though he was pitching really well. It makes it a lot easier for me when the pitcher can be honest with you and see the big picture.”

Miley agreed that his stuff was pinpoint on on point.

“That was the best stuff I’ve bad, based on the shape of my cutter,” he said. “I was getting it up and in on them and getting the swings on it that I have become accustomed to getting the past couple of years. I moved it around and kept them off balance.”

Gray was not thumb tack sharp over his five innings. The Brewers had at least one runner on base in four of his five innings.

But he kept them off the scoreboard to raise his record to 5-and-1 with a 1.94 earned run average. He gave up no runs five hits, walked two and struck out four during his 85-pitch day.

And he set a Reds record in the process, his 38th straight game of giving up four or fewer runs, breaking Gary Nolan’s 37-game streak. He also extended his own record — 40 straight games giving up six or fewer hits.

“We played a clean game, played all parts very well,” said Gray.

As usual when they win, the Reds used the long ball to compile runs. Jesse Winker cranked two out of the ball park and Nick Castellanos nearly shattered the batter’s eye above the center field wall, his 10th home run of the season, an estimated 433-foot trip.

Castellanos and Winker led Cincinnati’s 12-hit assault with three hits each.

Incredibly, the Reds hit into four double plays in the seven innings.

“They jump-started this thing early (three runs in the first three innings on the home runs by Winker and Castellnos),” said Gray. “Then we added on. This was the first seven-inning game I pitched in and it’s a little different. At the end of the day it is important to score first, to get a lead. And we did that.”

Bell injected some young blood into the lineup and they displayed some vim and vigor.

Jose Garcia, a 22-year-old rookie, played shortstop and recorded his first major league hit on his first at bat, an infield roller that hit the third base bag.

He also stole second. Later in the game he walked and dashed from second to third on a fly ball, enabling Castellanos to drive him in with a sacrifice fly.

Mark Payton played left field and contributed a hit and a stolen base.

Pitcher Anthony DeSclafani was placed on the paternity list and the Reds called up Jesse Biddle and he made his Reds debut.

Nate Jones replaced Gray in the sixth inning and gave up a two-out home run to Omar Narvaez and a single to Orlando Arcia.

Biddle came on and issued a walk before striking out pinch-hitter Ryan Braun.

In Game Two, the Reds used two singles, a double and a hit batsman to score two runs in the second inning.

Mike Moustakas singled, Freddy Galvis was hit by a pitch, Kyle Farmer doubled on a 0-and-2 pitch for a run and Tucker Barnhart singled on the next pitch for a 2-0 lead.

The Reds added two more in fifth on a walk and two doubles. Shogo Akiyama drew a full-count walk and scored on a double by Castellanos double. Winker followed with a double to make it 4-0.

The home run finally surfaced in the seventh when Eugenio Suarez cranked a two-run home run to make it 6-0.

Miley gave up an infield hit leading off the third to Luis Urias, a ball Galvis charged and bobbled when he cocked to throw.

The only other baserunner against Miley was a two-out walk to Manny Pina in the second.

Lucas Sims followed Miley with two scoreless, hitless innings. Closer Raisel Iglesias, pitching with a six-run lead, finished it off with a 1-2-3 seventh.

It was the second seven-inning doubleheader sweep of the season for the Reds.

Slump-shrouded Joey Votto took the entire day off, didn’t appear in either game.

So the Reds drew even with the Brewers at 13-and-17, tied for third in the National League Central. They return home Friday night for a four-game series (a doubleheader Saturday) against the division-leading Chciago Cubs, beginning Friday night.

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