Jonathan Lucroy had a lot of “seconds” on Tuesday night.
The Milwaukee Brewers’ All-Star catcher hit his second home run of the game leading off the bottom of the ninth inning at Miller Park to lift the Crew to a 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
It was Lucroy’s second career walk-off homer and, you guessed it, his second in as many seasons against the Reds.
On Tuesday, Lucroy turned around a 1-1 fastball from right-hander Sam LeCure (1-2) and deposited it well over the left-field wall—the fourth solo home run for the Brewers on the night.
“It feels great to hit a homer like that to win the game, but you have to give a lot of credit to our pitching staff to keep us in the game,” Lucroy told Fox Sports Wisconsin’s Telly Hughes after the game.
Rookie Jimmy Nelson pitched six standout innings before things came unglued for him in the seventh, as the Reds came from behind to tie the game 3-3.
The Brewers (56-45) improved to 2-0 on their current seven-game homestand and opened a 1½-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central. The Cardinals lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 on Tuesday.
It was the fifth straight loss for Cincinnati (51-49) as the Reds dropped 4½ games off the pace in the division. The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to remain 2½ games out.
The one downside Tuesday was that second baseman Scooter Gennett left the game in the fourth inning with more tightness in his right quadriceps, an injury that has been bothering Gennett since Saturday.
The Brewers got things going quickly against Reds’ starter Homer Bailey. Ryan Braun belted a two-out solo homer to right field in the bottom of the first, his 13th homer of the season, and Aramis Ramirez made it back-to-back jacks for the Crew when he lined a slider over the left-field wall for his 12th home run this year.
Lucroy’s first home run came in the bottom of the sixth with two outs and gave the Brewers a 3-1 lead.
Nelson ran into trouble in the seventh, though, giving up back-to-back singles to start the inning and then hitting two consecutive batters. The second, Ramon Santiago, forced in a run to make it a 3-2 Milwaukee lead.
Lucroy’s 11th home run of the season ended it leading off the bottom of the ninth.
Francisco Rodriguez (4-3) picked up the win for the Brewers after allowing a hit and striking out one in a scoreless ninth.
Nelson wound up working six-plus innings, allowing three runs on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
Kintzler retired all three batters he faced and Zach Duke struck out the side in the eighth.
Braun and Lucroy were 2-for-4 for Milwaukee, which had six hits.
For Lucroy, it was his fifth career two-home run game and his second this season. He also had a pair of homers in a 7-5 win at Arizona on June 17.