As the Cincinnati Reds came to bat in the bottom of the tenth inning of Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, the situation looked suspiciously similar to Saturday’s game between the same two teams. In that one, the Brewers had scored a pair of runs in the top of the tenth to take the lead, and closer Eric Gagne had slammed the door with a 1-2-3 inning to nail down a 5-3 Milwaukee win.
Now, one day later, here were the Brewers, fresh off scoring a pair of tenth-inning runs and leading by 3-1, and here was Gagne taking the mound again for the Brew Crew. As Yogi Berra might have said, “It was Deja Vu all over again.”
Aaron Harang had pitched eight innings of one-run ball for the Reds, striking out eight and lowering his ERA to 2.83, but left with a no-decision, the score tied at 1-1 as the Reds’ Edwin Encarnacion and the Brewers’ J.J. Hardy exchanged solo homers. Then the Brewers scored twice in the tenth off Jared Burton, aided by an Encarnacion fielding error. Rushing to start what would have been an inning-ending double play, Edwin booted a grounder to load the bases for the Brewers. Burton then uncorked a wild pitch, allowing the go-ahead run to score for Milwaukee. The Brewers scored another run moments later on an RBI single by Hardy. Although Burton escaped further damage, it looked like the Reds were headed to their second extra-innings loss in two nights when Gagne took to the hill in the bottom of the tenth.
The rain-soaked fans who were still inside GABP (most of them were already in the parking lot by the time the fun started) booed Encarnacion when he came to the plate to lead off the inning. This time, though, the Reds came up with a different ending for the story.
Encarnacion and Paul Bako went back-to-back on Gagne to tie the score, and Scott Hatteberg drew a walk, chasing Gagne. Ryan Freel was inserted as a pinch-runner, and after Salomon Torres fanned Corey Patterson, Brandon Phillips beat out an infield single to set the stage for Ken Griffey Jr. Griffey wisely laid off two consecutive low pitches as Torres tried to induce a double-play grounder. Finally, behind in the count and with the dangerous Adam Dunn in the on-deck circle, Torres was forced to challenge Griffey, who smoked the 3-1 pitch over Corey Hart’s head and into deep right field for a walkoff single to plate Freel and hand the Brewers their first extra-innings loss of the season.