A day after watching the Cubs celebrate as if they had won the World Series, the Reds got to dance around like little kids themselves.
Jay Bruce hit a walk-off home run to left with one out in the 10th inning, and catcher Ryan Hanigan doused him with a bucket of water as he did a postgame interview in front of the dugout as the Reds beat the Brewers 4-3 in front of 35,138 fans on Friday at Great American Ball Park.
It was the fifth walk-off home run of Bruce’s career — and the second by a Red this season — and the Reds right fielder said it never gets old.
“I’ve hit homers in my career, but walk-offs are completely different,” Bruce said. “Every time, it’s different circumstances. That one was a little sweeter because of yesterday. To pull that one off at home is a good start to the series.”
Cincinnati (41-27) gained a game on the Cardinals (43-24), who lost 5-4 to the Marlins. The Reds, who improved to 4-7 in extra-inning games and 4-0 against the Brewers this season, are 2½ games back in the National League Central.
The Reds blew a late lead for the second straight game before Bruce’s heroics. At least this time, the bullpen wasn’t at fault. Bronson Arroyo gave up a game-tying solo home run to Martin Maldonado with two outs in the eighth.
Arroyo then loaded the bases and was replaced by Sam LeCure, who gave up the lead in the eighth on Thursday in a game the Reds lost 6-5 in 14 innings. This time, LeCure retired the only batter he faced on a pop-out.
It was a big moment for LeCure, who started the week Sunday by giving up the two tying runs in the seventh inning to the Cardinals.
“Obviously, I wish Bronson had finished it off and that would have been awesome,” LeCure said, “but for me personally, that was huge, just to get back on the right track. I had been throwing the ball well, and you hate to think anybody is losing confidence. You start to question yourself. It was a rough week for me.”
LeCure was the first of three relievers to get the job done. Aroldis Chapman, the only reliever not to pitch on Thursday, made his 11th straight scoreless appearance in the ninth. Alfredo Simon (5-2) retired the side in order in the 10th, setting the stage for Bruce’s heroics.
Shin-Soo Choo, Brandon Phillips and Jack Hannahan drove in the earlier runs for the Reds.
Brewers at Reds, 4:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410