Reds notes: Puig, Kemp off to slow start

Puig’s one hit a big one Monday against Brewers

The two biggest names the Cincinnati Reds acquired in the offseason — Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp — combined to produce as many hits as ejections in the first three games of the 2019 season.

» PHOTOS: Reds vs. Brewers

Kemp was thrown out of the game Monday by home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson after arguing a called third strike in the fifth. Puig had a better night. His double earlier in the fifth scored two runs, ending a 14-inning scoreless drought for the Reds, who had not produced a run since the seventh inning on Opening Day. They tied the game an inning later on a RBI fielder's choice groundout by Derek Dietrich but lost 4-3.

Puig and Kemp combined to go 1-for-20 in the first three games. Kemp, who was not in the lineup Tuesday for the second game of the series against the Milwaukee Brewers, remained hitless at 0-for-7 and did not reach base in his first two starts.

“We’re just three games into the season, but from a players’ standpoint, you need to get that first one,” Reds manager David Bell said. “You can kind of take a deep breath. It can be a bit of a relief. We were happy for (Puig). It was a huge hit, got us right back into it.”

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The Reds hit .200 as a team in the first three games. Their opponents hit .252.

“You’re trying to put the best offense together as possible,” Bell said. “But I think the key is we’re only three games into the season. We don’t take that lightly. Every game is important. But we’re very confident in our lineup.”

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

First performance: Tanner Roark allowed three earned runs on six hits and walked three batters in 4 1/3 innings Monday. The Brewers did all their damage against him in the first inning. Five of the first six batters reached base. The only one who didn't in that stretch was Christian Yelich, the hottest hitter in baseball. Roark struck him out.

“I was just all over the place,” Roark said. “I wasn’t throwing strikes. I was falling behind and had to throw fastballs.”

Roark left the game after striking out Ryan Braun to start the fifth. He threw 96 pitches.

“After an inning like that where he struggled, what a great job he did to get through the game as far as he did,” Bell said. “He held them right there and kept competing and battling. He gave us a shot to win. It says a lot about him. Then after that, our bullpen continued to do a great job and really gave us a great chance to win that game.”

Roster move: The Reds sent left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan to the minor leagues after he cleared waivers. They did not announce where he would pitch. He had been designated for assignment Thurssday.

Looking ahead: Luis Castillo (0-0, 1.59 ERA) starts the series finale at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday. He's 2-1 with a 3.08 ERA in four starts against the Brewers the last two seasons.

The Brewers start Freddy Peralta (0-0, 12.00), who gave up four earned runs in three innings to the Cardinals in his first start Friday.

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