Caratini, Renfroe HR, Brewers sweep Reds

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CINCINNATI (AP) — Victor Caratini and Hunter Renfroe hit two-run homers as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 for their third straight win.

Luis Urías opened the scoring for the Brew Crew with an RBI double in the fourth inning before Caratini sent a 396-foot blast to left-center field. It was just the fourth time that a hit from Caratini has crossed over the fence this season. In his career, only 2.3% of Caratini’s plate appearances have ended with a home run.

Milwaukee took a 4-3 lead into the seventh inning before Renfroe hit his 13th home run, a two-run 444-foot drive into the upper deck in left field off reliever Joel Kuhnel. Renfroe’s blast was the definition of a no-doubter. According to Statcast, the expected batting average of his swing was 1.000. It was also tied for the hardest-hit ball of the game, with an exit velocity of 108.3 miles per hour.

Adrian Houser started the game for the Crew and earned his fourth win of the season. He struck out five batters over six innings of work, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks.

He relied mostly on his sinker, throwing it on 63 occasions. Reds batters didn’t take the bait, and only swung and missed on the sinker four times. Batters only whiffed on a total of seven of Houser’s pitches throughout Sunday’s game.

The Reds loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh off reliever Trevor Kelley. Left-hander Hoby Milner was brought in to face lefty-hitting Joey Votto, who struck out on four pitches. Milner leaned on his breaking ball to fool Votto, using only his sinker and curveball to induce a swinging strike, a foul ball, and a second swinging strike that ended the inning.

Devin Williams entered in the ninth and was just inches away from an immaculate inning. Albert Almora Jr. grounded out to first on an 0-2 count, then Williams struck out the next two batters on six straight strikes to earn his fifth save of the season.

Milwaukee is now tied with St. Louis for first place in the NL Central, following the Cardinals’ loss to the Boston Red Sox Sunday. That sets up a tiebreaking series between the two teams at American Family Field this week.

The action starts at 7:10 p.m. CT on Monday. Corbin Burnes (4-4, 2.52) will start for Milwaukee and Miles Mikolas (5-4, 2.62) will take the mound for the Cardinals. Mikolas has started 10 times against the Brewers in his career, with a record of 6-3. Six of those starts came at American Family Field/Miller Park, where his record is 5-1.