MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jesse Winker homered twice, prized prospect Jose Garcia singled in his first big league at-bat and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1 Thursday in a doubleheader opener one day after both teams opted not to play to protest racial injustice.
The reactions by the teams followed the weekend shooting by police of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, about 40 miles south of Milwaukee. Other major league teams have since followed, with seven games postponed Thursday.
“It’s been a long couple of days for us,” said Reds starter Sonny Gray. “It’s been a bit of a long 48 hours, 24 hours, but we wanted to come out and play a good baseball game and walk away with the win.”
Winker had a two-run shot in the fifth, his eighth, to put the Reds up 5-0 and a solo shot in the third.
Gray (5-1) allowed four singles over five scoreless innings, striking out four and walking two. Gray escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second, getting Eric Sogard on an inning-ending liner to right.
“The second inning was a little bit frustrating for me, but at the end of the day, I walked away,” Gray said. “I feel like I made my pitches in that inning and fortunately came away with a zero after the bases were loaded.”
Omar Narvaez accounted for Milwaukee’s run with a solo homer, his second, in the sixth off Nate Jones.
The 22-year-old Garcia, called up Wednesday, singled with two outs in the second on a slow roller that hit the bag at third, sending Freddy Galvis to second. Curt Casali followed with an RBI single to left to put the Reds up 1-0.
Nick Castellanos opened the third inning with his 10th homer, sending a 2-2 pitch from Adrian Houser 395 feet to center. Winker followed a drive to left for his seventh homer to make it 3-0.
Houser (1-3) allowed four runs and nine hits in four innings as the Reds snapped a four-game losing streak.
Castellanos doubled off the glove of third baseman Sogard to open the fifth, chasing Houser. Winker greeted Alex Claudio with a drive to left center.
Castellanos added a sacrifice fly in the sixth to make it 6-0.
CAIN SPEAKS OUT
Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who opted out of the remainder of the season after playing in five games, said a large part of his decision was based on his faith.
“The reason I opted out was, of course, for COVID reasons, but this lifestyle and everything that’s going on in 2020 has definitely opened my eyes so I felt the need to opt out not only for the COVID reasons, but also trying to get my life right with God,” Cain said.
“This year has been crazy,” he added. “It’s been a tough year. I’m definitely at a loss for words with all the things going on right now. It’s just tough. The way things are going, it’s tough to see, it’s tough to deal with. We always want things to just get better.”
Until Thursday, the Brewers had never played a doubleheader at Miller Park, which opened in 2001. Their last doubleheader in Milwaukee came on Sept. 23, 2000 at County Stadium. The Brewers and Reds are meeting in a doubleheader for the second time ever. The Brewers swept a pair on Sept. 5, 2015 at Great American Ballpark.
Reds: Cincinnati moved up LHP Wade Miley for the second game of the doubleheader, and RHP Tyler Mahle (0-1, 4.41 ERA) is expected to open the series Friday night in Chicago against the Cubs.
Brewers: RHP Corbin Burnes (0-0 3.42) makes his seventh appearance and fourth start to open the four-game series Friday against Pittsburgh at Miller Park. Burnes is looking to regain his 2018 rookie form when he went 7-0 with 2.61 ERA in 30 relief appearances.