CINCINNATI – All Andrew Abbott could think about was the four walks he allowed.
Stuart Fairchild and Tyler Stephenson hit solo home runs and Abbott threw six scoreless innings in his major league debut, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.
“Definitely a good way to start,” Abbott said. “I just tried to go out there and do my best for the team to give them the best chance to win and salvage the series. We came out on top, so that’s all we can ask for.”
The struggling Reds (27-33) turned to Abbott, their top pitching prospect, to help the club avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Brewers (32-28), and it worked.
Abbott, a 2021 second-round draft pick from the University of Virginia, allowed just one hit, walked four and struck out six. The 24-year-old left-hander threw 105 pitches.
“I personally don’t like the four walks,” Abbott said. “It’s a tough stat. The game overall was good, but the four walks, I’ve got to be better with that.”
Abbott took 28 pitches to get out of the first inning before settling down and getting out of the frame unscathed after walking one and striking out another.
“Andrew allowed himself to be a little nervous, like he should be,” Reds manager David Bell said. “The whole day, I think. It probably took him till the second or third (inning) to really settle in, and once he did that, he was just really in command the rest of the game and used all his pitches.”
Fairchild scored the first run of the game in the third inning, sending an 0-2 pitch from Brewers starter Julio Teheran (1-2, 1.56 ERA) 395 feet to left field for his second home run of the season.
Cincinnati carried the 1-0 lead and Abbott took a no-hitter into the fourth. That’s when Stephenson doubled the Reds’ output with his third homer of the year, a 363-foot shot to right-center.
“I made two mistakes on the same pitch,” Teheran said. “I was trying to throw my four-seamer up and away to the righty and they both stayed down in the zone. Obviously, when you make a mistake at this level, they make you pay for it.”
Abbott allowed his only hit of the game in the fifth, when Joey Wiemer doubled to left.
Abbott got out of the sixth after striking out 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich and then was pulled. Four of his six strikeouts came on a fastball. The others came via his curveball.
Cincinnati relievers Buck Farmer and Lucas Sims and closer Alexis Diaz completed the combined three-hitter. Diaz picked up his 14th save.
Wiemer had two of the Brewers’ hits, while Owen Miller accounted for the other.
Brewers: 3B Luis Urías was activated from the 60-day injured list. Monday was Urías’ first game since straining his left hamstring on opening day. 1B Darin Ruf was transferred from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list. Ruf suffered a laceration in his right knee and has a non-displaced fracture of his patella on Friday when he ran into a tarp while chasing a foul ball.
Reds: LF Nick Senzel was a late scratch due to a sore right knee. RF Jake Fraley was also scratched from the lineup due to allergies. CF TJ Friedl participated in batting practice. Friedl was placed on the 10-day injured list Saturday with a left hamstring strain. 2B Jonathan India was pulled late due to back tightness. Bell said he anticipates India playing Tuesday.
Brewers: Milwaukee returns home Tuesday for the start of a three-game set against the Baltimore Orioles. RHP Freddy Peralta (5-5, 4.62 ERA) is to start for the Brewers, while RHP Kyle Gibson (7-3, 3.89 ERA) will take the mound for the Orioles.
Reds: RHP Luke Weaver (1-2, 5:36 ERA) is scheduled to get the ball Tuesday when Cincinnati opens a three-game home series against RHP Tony Gonsolin (3-1, 1.77 ERA) and the Los Angeles Dodgers.