Zack Greinke knocks the Reds down, but John Axford lets ’em back up

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Zack Greinke pitched eight shutout innings against the Reds this afternoon. He allowed only two hits. He struck out 11.  That’ll get you a win most days.  But not today.

That’s because Johnny Cueto pitched seven shutout innings himself and had better help from his bullpen and the Fates. The Reds beat the Brewers 2-1.

It was 0-0 entering the ninth when the usually reliable John Axford took over for Greinke, who had thrown 104 pitches to that point. Axford struck out the first two batters he faced, but then:

  • Drew Stubbs singled;
  • Joey Votto plated Stubbs with a double; and
  • Brandon Phillips plated Votto with a single.

Life comes at you fast, man.

Milwaukee got one back with a Ryan Braun homer in the bottom of the ninth, and then threatened big by loading the bases with two out.  Reds reliever Logan Ondrusek put out the fire by inducing a fly ball to end the game, however.

A tough luck no-decision for Greinke and a tough luck loss for the Brewers. But in a game this close the same would have been true if it went the other way.

Report: Brewers sign Yovani Gallardo to a major league deal

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Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.

Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.

Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.

Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.