It was only fitting that the catchers would be the difference in the Reds 8-3 win over the Brewers Thursday night.
Cincinnati has been catching one bad break after another, and it was catchers Tucker Barnhart and Brayan Pena hit timely home runs to help the Reds grab a series opening win over the NL Central leaders.
Barnhart, recently called up after starting catcher Devin Mesoraco went on the disabled list, pounded his first major league home run to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom of the eighth, Pena came to the plate in a pinch hitting role, and hit his second home run in as many days. Pena's home run gave the Reds a 5-3 lead over Milwaukee and they never looked back winning 8-3. Todd Frazier also uncorked his fifth bomb of the season in the victory.
"All of us our feeling much better at the plate," said Pena. "Our pitching has been unbelievable the entire season. So, hopefully we can keep this up."
The Reds finally got a strong performance out of their 100-million dollar man, Homer Bailey. Bailey (WP 2-2) went eight innings strong, allowing eight hits and three earned runs, striking out four.
"The [bullpen] needed a break," said Bailey. "I'm glad I was able to give them the day off. I also thought Tucker [Barnhart] did an outstanding job at the plate and behind the plate."
Billy Hamilton made a highlight reel catch in the first inning, but never reached the plate after jamming two fingers on his left hand. Bryan Price expects the Reds leadoff man to return soon.
"We're optimistic it will only be a day or two," said Price.
The Reds continue their four-game set with the Brewers in game two tomorrow. It's the beginning of a Star Wars themed weekend at Great American Ball Park, Darth Vader will throw out the opening pitch before a 7:10 p.m. start. The Reds, 6.5 games behind the Brewers in the division, hope the force is with Mike Leake (2-2) as he goes up against Willy Peralta (3-1).
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