Jose Peraza kept up the parade of slams, sending Matt Harvey and the Reds over the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers 8-2 Sunday.
Peraza connected in the sixth inning for the Reds’ major league-leading ninth slam this year, tying the single-season franchise record set in 2002. It was Cincinnati’s second in two games and third in the last eight – pitcher Mike Lorenzen had a pinch-hit slam Saturday, and pitcher Anthony DeSclafani went deep with the bases loaded on June 24 against the Cubs.
”I just tried to hit the ball,” the shortstop said. ”When I hit the ball in the sky, I say, `Wow, it’s a home run.’ Everybody is happy.”
Peraza hit his first career slam, tagging reliever Aaron Wilkerson.
Eight different Reds have hit grand slams. Adam Duvall is the only player with two.
The last-place Reds have won 11 of 14, and the last eight of 11 against teams that were in first place when their series started.
”We know we can play with these guys (division leaders),” manager Jim Riggleman said. ”We’ve got to go through those guys and win our share.”
Harvey (4-5) allowed two hits in 5 2/3 innings and won his third straight start as the Reds salvaged a split of the four-game series. Ryan Braun’s two-run homer in the ninth allowed the Brewers to avoid their 11th shutout loss of the season.
Joey Votto, National League RBI leader Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler had consecutive run-scoring singles in the first inning against previously unbeaten rookie Freddy Peralta (3-1).
Harvey, acquired in May from the Mets, struck out six and walked none. The right-hander didn’t return after a 54-minute rain delay.
”It was one of those when you come in and try to do as much as you can,” Harvey said. ”You come in and put a heat pack on, but once it creeps up to an hour … That’s the best I’ve felt in a long time. I could smell the CG (complete game) coming or at least getting deep in the game. I was pretty much in control the whole time, but I’m happy about the outing and another Reds win.”
Pitching in a gametime temperature of 93 humid degrees, Harvey retired the first 12 batters before Travis Shaw outflanked a defensive shift with an opposite-field single to left leading off the fifth.
Cincinnati’s first six batters reached base against Peralta Authentic Will Dissly Jersey , who’d allowed just a .093 opponents’ batting average (7 for 75) in his first four starts, all Milwaukee wins. He recovered from throwing 43 pitches in the first inning to retire the last 10 and 15 of the last 16 batters he faced.
”It started out rough,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. ”He righted it. It was cool to see him right it. That’s a lesson that you’ve got to get it going right away or a big league team will take advantage of it. I thought he handled it very well.”
CHANGE OF SCENERY
The Brewers optioned .197-hitting SS Orlando Arcia to Triple-A Colorado Springs before the game. ”He’s been a good major league hitter,” Counsell said. ”He’s been a dominant minor league hitter. We’re confident he will get things going again.”
Votto’s two hits pushed him past Hall of Famer Frank Robinson into ninth place on the Reds’ career hits list with 1,674. Brandon Phillips is eighth with 1,774 hits.
Braun’s ninth-inning homer gave the Brewers at least one in each of their last 19 games at Great American Ball Park, the longest streak by any team, including the Reds.
Brewers: OF Christian Yelich took some swings before Sunday’s game, the third he’d missed since leaving Thursday’s game with a tight lower back.
Brewers: LHP Brent Suter (8-5) is 6-2 with a 3.50 ERA over his last eight starts.
Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (5-8) didn’t allow a home run in his last start, but he still leads NL pitchers in homers allowed with 18.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals, two diametrically opposite clubs, meet in a three-game series beginning Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.
To say they are polar extremes would not be an exaggeration.
The Red Sox own the best record in the majors at 59-29. They have won eight of their past 10 and 10 of their past 13. They are 30 games over .500 for the first since they ended the 2013 season 32 games above.
Boston leads the American League with 463 runs and has outscored its opponents by 130 runs.
On the flip side, the Royals have lost six straight, 18 of 21 and 25 of 30. They are 25-61 and are 36 games below .500 for the first time since ending the 2006 season 62-100.
Kansas City ranks last in the American League with 297 runs and has been outscored by 167 runs.
“We didn’t have opportunities to manufacture runs,” manager Ned Yost told reporters after Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians. “We had opportunities with runners in scoring position that we couldn’t capitalize on. And that’s been a major problem for us all year long.”
The Red Sox are 31-17 on the road. The Royals have lost 12 of their last 13 games at Kauffman Stadium and their 11-32 home record is the worst in the majors.
The Royals have not scored more than four runs in 25 of their last 26 games. They have failed to collect double-figure hits in 25 of their last 26 games and are batting .191 with 55 runs in that stretch.
And who do the Royals face in the opener of this series?
None other than dominant left-hander Chris Sale, who leads the American League with 164 strikeouts and is averaging 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Opponents own a .179 batting average versus Sale (8-4, 2.41 ERA).
Sale, who ranks among the league leaders in overall ERA, owns a 2.32 road ERA and a 2.45 night ERA. He enters the game having not allowed a run in his past 15 innings. Sale is 3-1 with a 1.03 ERA in his past five starts after striking out and allowing a first-inning single to Giancarlo Stanton in seven dominant innings in an 11-0 win at Yankee Stadium over the New York Yankees on Saturday.
“He was outstanding again,” Cora said. “Fastball command and off-speed pitches, it was a great performance.”
Sale is 10-10 with a 2.92 ERA in 33 career appearances, 22 starts, against Kansas City. He held the Royals to two runs and five hits while walking two and striking out six over seven innings in a no-decision on May 1 at Fenway Park. Sale is 2-0 with a 2.87 ERA in his last four starts in Kansas City, striking out 34 and walking five.
The Royals will counter with right-hander Jason Hammel, who is 2-10 with a 5.56 ERA. He is tied for the AL lead in losses and has yielded 15 runs in his last two starts. He is 0-5 with a 4.33 ERA in seven home starts this season.
Against the Red Sox, Hammel is 3-4 with a 5.13 ERA in 16 career appearances, nine of them starts. He dropped a 10-6 decision on April 30 to Boston, allowing eight runs on eight hits, including a pair of home runs, and three walks over 4 2/3 innings.
While Sale was the AL Pitcher of the Month for June, Hammel went 0-5 with a 6.43 ERA in six starts last month after ending May with back-to-back victories.
Hammel’s biggest challenge will be Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez. They rank 1-2 in the majors in slugging percentage with Betts at .669 and Martinez .642.
Betts has 21 home runs and a .338 batting average. Martinez is hitting .327 with a major league-best 26 home runs, which is more than any Boston player hit in 2017.
Betts also hit three homers at Fenway Park on May 2 and went 4-for-4 in that game.