Long ball not needed as Brewers get big performances from Andrew McCutchen, Luis Perdomo

CINCINNATI - For the first time this season, the Milwaukee Brewers failed to go deep against the Cincinnati Reds.

But it wound up not mattering.

Andrew McCutchen drove in three runs, surpassing the 1,000 RBI mark for his career in the process, and Luis Perdomo delivered a strong 3⅓ innings of relief behind starter Eric Lauer in a 5-3 victory at Great American Ball Park on Friday night.

Victor Caratini also contributed a two-run double for the Brewers, who entered having homered 40 times in 16 games against the Reds, the most by one team against another in the majors this season.

Box score: Brewers 5, Reds 3

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Their 5-1 win on Thursday was powered by the long ball, with Kolten Wong hitting three and driving in all five runs.

"We had some big hits and did enough tonight," said manager Craig Counsell. "Vic had a big hit early in the game. Some good baserunning, and it was enough."

Milwaukee has now won three straight, and thanks to the San Diego Padres' extra-innings loss at Colorado is now two games out of the third wild-card spot in the National League.

"We're behind, so we need those guys to lose," said closer Devin Williams, who registered his second four-out save of the season. "We can control what we can control at this point."

Lauer's first inning was a rough one, as Cincinnati sent eight men to the plate, drew three walks and scored a pair. The action was his first since he was sent to the injured list on Sept. 10 with left elbow tightness.

The damage could have been worse as the Reds opened with a walk, single and then two-RBI double by Kyle Farmer. But Lauer managed to escape with no further damage done after throwing 39 pitches.

"It was more just, like, getting back to the adrenaline side of pitching," Lauer said. "I was missing high a lot. Just wasn't in my lanes, driving to the plate properly. But I was able to find it, which was good."

Milwaukee answered back with a pair of runs in the second after a one-out walk by McCutchen, single by Luis Urías and double by Caratini off spot starter Luis Cessa.

Urías used some heads-up baserunning to score on the play, originally holding with the throw coming in from cannon-armed Aristedes Aquino in right then hustling home after Aquino's throw was well up the line and then mishandled by catcher Chuckie Robinson.

Brewers second baseman Kolten Wong scores standing up past Reds catcher Chuckie Robinson on a two-run double by Andrew McCutchen in the seventh inning Friday night.
Brewers second baseman Kolten Wong scores standing up past Reds catcher Chuckie Robinson on a two-run double by Andrew McCutchen in the seventh inning Friday night.

Lauer got to within an out of finishing the third but with his pitch count at 66 didn't get the chance as Perdomo entered and struck José Barrero out with his first three offerings.

It was the second straight 2⅔-inning outing for Lauer, who allowed five hits, the two runs and three walks to go along with three strikeouts.

"That’s the risk that we’ve kind of accepted with this," Counsell said of bringing Lauer back with no tune-up work in the minors. "Eric wiggled out of it and controlled the damage as much as he could.

"He had a really good second inning but we just got to a pitch count and didn’t want him to be tired in that situation so we brought in a fresh guy. He felt really good. He got a good number of pitches in that he can certainly build on and be ready to go the next time."

A pair of singles off Cessa to start the fifth netted Milwaukee a 3-2 lead after Wong and McCutchen followed with a pair of groundouts.

McCutchen also recorded his 1,000th RBI in on the play.

Perdomo (3-0) kept dealing from there and by the time his outing was over he'd faced the minimum over 3⅓ innings and struck out four – his 10 swings and misses generated were a game high – on only 27 pitches.

"Luis was incredible tonight," Counsell said. "He got 10 outs on 27 pitches, which is unheard of, really. Eric rebounded and got us into the game. The first out Luis got was a huge out. They had runners on base in a big spot.

"For Luis to get us through the sixth inning, like we always talk about, it helps us today, it helps us tomorrow, it helps us Sunday. More than just winning our game today, he hopefully helped us win another game this weekend."

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A one-out, two-run double by McCutchen in an 0-2 count in the seventh cashed in a Hunter Renfroe walk and Wong single and upped Milwaukee's advantage to 5-2.

"That was a big at-bat," said Counsell.

A throwing error by Wong – his career-high-tying 17th – on an attempted inning-ending double play in the eighth allowed the Reds to close to within 5-3 and prompted Counsell to call on Williams.

Williams induced a popout on his second pitch to finish that frame, then struck out the side in the ninth to notch his 14th save.

"Unbelievable, the whole bullpen just in general did great today," Lauer said. "They came in, shut everybody down, gave us a chance to win and kept us right where we needed to be.

"Great, great job."

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Homers not needed thanks to big nights from McCutchen, Perdomo