Bruce HR breaks slump, sends Reds over Brewers 4-2
By JOE KAY
CINCINNATI — Jay Bruce had hit the ball hard twice, only to see the worst slump of his career get deeper. He finally ended it with a hit that nobody was going to take away.
Bruce emerged from his 0-for-26 skid with a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning on Sunday, rallying Mat Latos and the Cincinnati Reds over the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2.
Bruce flied out to the wall in center field and lined out to center earlier in the game, so he took a little confidence into his game-changing at-bat.
“I knew I wasn’t going to go 0-for-my-career,” Bruce said. “I’d been making hard contact. I really didn’t feel like I was 0-for-so-much.”
The Reds gained a game on the NL Central leaders by taking two of three in their series, moving to six back. Cincinnati has won 10 out of 15 overall.
“That could have easily gone the other way,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We really didn’t want to lose ground on this team.”
The Brewers have lost five of six but still have the NL’s best record and a comfortable lead.
Bruce hit a 2-run shot with one out off left-hander Will Smith (1-2), who took over for Yovani Gallardo. Smith hadn’t allowed a homer to a left-handed batter all season, holding them to a .143 average.
Smith got ahead 1-2 in the count, then threw a fastball that was up. Bruce pulled it to right field, the part of Great American Ball Park closest to the Ohio River.
A replay review overturned Ramon Santiago’s inside-the-park homer in the Reds second.
A fan reached his mitt onto the field and hit rightfielder Logan Schafer’s glove as he tried to catch the fly ball in front of the wall. The umpires initially ruled the ball in play and Santiago circled the bases as Schafer and the ball fell to the ground.
Following a 3-minute, 46-second review, Santiago was ruled out because of the fan’s interference.
Latos (2-1) allowed two runs and four hits in a season-high eight innings. Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth for his sixth save in eight chances. Closer Aroldis Chapman wasn’t available because he slightly pulled a hamstring while running in the outfield before the game.
Both teams were missing stars.