Pena's pinch homer sends Reds over Brewers

JOE KAY AP Baseball Writer Published:

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Brayan Pena only wanted to spark a rally. He wound up deciding the game.

Pena's second career pinch-homer started Cincinnati's big eighth-inning rally and swept the Reds over the Milwaukee Brewers 8-3 Thursday night.

The Reds hit three homers in all as they pulled within 61⁄2 games of the NL Central leaders.

Tucker Barnhart led off the fifth with his first career homer. Todd Frazier added a two-run drive in the sixth off Marco Estrada, who gave up six hits and four walks in six innings.

Pena had homered during a 9-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night. He batted for Bailey with the score tied at 3 in the eighth and connected on the first pitch from Jim Henderson (2-1) for a two-run homer.

"I was just thinking about driving the ball and hitting it hard somewhere," Pena said. "He got a pitch up and I was able to take advantage of it. I wasn't expecting a homer, but I'll take it."

Cincinnati sent 11 batters to the plate while scoring five times during the inning against a bullpen that entered the series with the fourth-best ERA in the league. It had one very bad inning.

"They're going to happen, no doubt," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We've been good down there. We just weren't good tonight."

Homer Bailey (2-2) allowed eight hits in a season-high eight innings, finally returning to form after missing much of spring training with a strained groin.

"This game was good for all of us," Bailey said. "We're fixing to turn things around. We've had a lot happen already this year. This one showed we're starting to come together as a group."

Milwaukee has lost back-to-back games for only the second time this season. The Brewers haven't dropped more than two in a row.

Cincinnati opened the four-game series with another injury. Leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton sprained knuckles on his left hand while making a diving catch in center field and will miss a few games.

Hamilton stretched all out to reach Carlos Gomez's line drive that opened the game. He grimaced and flexed his left hand and wrist as he got up. Chris Heisey hit for him in the bottom of the inning.

Hamilton hurt the middle finger on his left hand while sliding into base during the opening week of the season and missed two games.

"Unfortunately, it's the same hand that he hurt in New York," manager Bryan Price said. "We're optimistic that he'll only miss a day or two, but we won't know for a day or two."

Gomez stole a hit from Joey Votto in the bottom of the first, catching his fly at the top of the wall in center. Votto pointed two fingers toward Gomez, who also stole a potential go-ahead homer from him for the final out in Milwaukee's 4-3 win last July 8.

Jean Segura singled in a run in the second, and Gomez doubled home a pair of two-out runs to tie it 3-all in the seventh.

Milwaukee got two players back in the lineup, but outfielder Ryan Braun missed his fifth game because of a strained oblique. Braun is expected back this weekend.

Segura returned at shortstop after being out of the starting lineup for four games because of an injury to his face. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was back after missing two games with a sore left elbow and went hitless, extending his slump to 0 for 25.

Outfielder Logan Schafer is eligible to return from the disabled list on Saturday, recovered from a strained right hamstring. For now, Roenicke is using Mark Reynolds in right field, a position the infielder played during spring training.

MARLINS 5, BRAVES 4

MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton and Casey McGehee hit consecutive run-scoring singles off David Carpenter during a two-run rally in the seventh inning that led the Miami Marlins over the Atlanta Braves 5-4 Thursday night for a three-game sweep of the NL East leader.

Miami has won six straight home games for the first time at Marlins Park, which opened in 2012. It is the longest home winning streak for the team since the Marlins won eight in a row from June 20 to July 1, 2009.

With the Marlins trailing 4-3, pinch-hitter Reed Johnson singled off Ian Thomas (1-1) leading off the seventh and took second on Christian Yelich's single. Derek Dietrich lined out, and Carpenter relieved and gave up the back-to-back hits.

Mike Dunn (3-3) pitched a hitless seventh, and Steve Cishek got four outs for his sixth save.

ROCKIES 7, METS 4

DENVER -- Carlos Gonzalez homered before leaving with a finger injury, Juan Nicasio pitched seven scoreless innings and drove in three runs, and Colorado beat New York.

Corey Dickerson had three hits, including an RBI triple and Nolan Arenado singled leading off the third to extend the majors' longest active streak to 21 games. He's tied for the fourth-longest hitting streak in Rockies team history.

Gonzalez connected for his sixth home run of the season in the first inning, driving a 3-2 offering from Bartolo Colon (2-4) off the right-center field facing just below the second deck. Gonzalez was lifted in the fourth inning, replaced by pinch hitter Brandon Barnes, because of what the team said was a bruised left index finger. His playing status was listed as day to day.

Nicasio (3-1) got the win.

MARINERS 4, YANKEES 2

NEW YORK -- Robinson Cano doubled and drove in two runs, Roenis Elias struck out 10 in seven impressive innings and Seattle beat New York.

Michael Saunders had three hits, including an RBI double, to help the Mariners win for the fifth time in six games following an eight-game skid. Seattle won both games in a rain-shortened series that marked Cano's return to New York after signing a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Mariners during the offseason.

The All-Star second baseman was booed again and finished the series 2 for 9 with three RBIs.

Seattle has won four straight at Yankee Stadium dating to last season.

RAYS 2, RED SOX 1, GAME 1

RAYS 6, RED SOX 5, GAME 2

BOSTON -- Yunel Escobar homered off closer Koji Uehara leading off the ninth inning to propel Tampa Bay to a 6-5 win and a day-night doubleheader sweep of Boston.

Escobar crushed the second pitch from Uehara (0-1) over the Green Monster in left field for his second homer of the year, and Grant Balfour recorded the final three outs for his second save of the day and sixth of the season.

Sean Rodriguez and Desmond Jennings also went deep for Tampa Bay, which won for just the third time in nine games.

Jake McGee (2-0) earned the win with one inning of scoreless relief.

Tampa Bay won the opener, 2-1. David DeJesus had a homer and drew a bases-loaded walk, and the Rays' bullpen pitched 4 1-3 scoreless innings.

BLUE JAYS 7, ROYALS 3

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Mark Buehrle pitched into the seventh inning, Juan Francisco and Colby Rasmus each went deep and Toronto avoided a series sweep.

Francisco and Rasmus each drove in a pair of runs for the Blue Jays, as did Anthony Gose, who was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to start in place of injured outfielder Melky Cabrera.

Buehrle (5-1) worked through plenty of trouble to last 6 2-3 innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and a pair of walks. It was a solid bounce-back performance after the left-hander was hammered for seven runs last Friday night against Boston.

Aaron Loup pitched 2 1-3 shutout innings for his third career save.

The Royals' Jeremy Guthrie (2-2) left trailing 4-3 after six innings.

INTERLEAGUE GAME

DODGERS 9, TWINS 4

DODGERS 4, TWINS 3

MINNEAPOLIS -- Scott Van Slyke and Drew Butera homered in the 12th inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers held on to beat the Minnesota Twins to earn a sweep of the day-night doubleheader on Thursday night.

Adrian Gonzalez also homered for the Dodgers, who stranded 16 runners in the 5 hour, 11-minute game.

Yasiel Puig tied a career high with four hits in Los Angeles' Game 1 win and added two more in the nightcap. Before grounding out in the fifth, Puig had reached base in nine consecutive plate appearances.

Joe Mauer had three hits for the Twins, who walked 12 in the second game and 18 in both games.

Van Slyke led off the 12th and lined a 2-1 pitch from Brian Duensing (0-1) into the bullpen in left-center field. Butera hit his first homer since July 12, 2012, two batters later.

Jamey Wright (2-1) didn't allow a run in three innings of relief.

Kenley Jansen loaded the bases in the 12th and allowed a Mauer sacrifice fly, but got Chris Colabello to line out to first for his 11th save in 13 chances.

ORIOLES 6, PIRATES 5

BALTIMORE -- Matt Wieters led off the 10th inning with a home run off Stolmy Pimentel to give the Baltimore Orioles a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates and a doubleheader sweep Thursday night.

In the opener, Steve Pearce had three hits and two RBIs in his return to the Orioles, who got a home run from Nick Markakis in a 5-1 win.

The single-admission doubleheader followed consecutive rainouts on Tuesday and Wednesday. The rain lingered long enough to delay the fifth inning of the opener by 21 minutes, and the start of the nightcap was stalled 46 minutes by rain.

The second game marked the season debut of Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who had left knee surgery in October. After sitting out the opener, Machado received a warm ovation from the crowd of 28,290 before the second game and went 0 for 5.

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