MILWAUKEE — For seven innings, the Milwaukee Brewers couldn’t hit with runners in scoring position.
The last two innings they couldn’t hit. Period.
Brandon Finnegan pitched five scoreless innings, lifting the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-2 victory over the Brewers on Sunday.
Finnegan (10-11) scattered three hits and struck out four, needing only 54 pitches to get through five innings. The Brewers were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position, and their final seven batters struck out to end the game.
“We got some opportunities,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
The Brewers have struck out 1,487 times this year. With six games remaining, they are closing in on the 2013 Houston Astros’ major league record of 1,535 strikeouts.
Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth for his fourth save in five chances, striking out Chris Carter, Hernan Perez and Orlando Arcia.
“Seven punch outs to end the game,” Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. “Good intensity. That’s what you want to see at the end of a season on a team that’s got 90 losses.”
Carter has 38 home runs, but has struck out 199 times to lead the Brewers. He was with Houston in 2013, striking out 212 times that season.
Ryan Braun had a triple and a single, and was given a standing ovation by the Miller Park crowd during his final at-bat in the eighth inning, and again after he struck out. He has been mentioned as a possible trade candidate during the offseason as the Brewers continue to rebuild.
“The love and support I’ve received here is more than any athlete could ever hope to get from any fan base,” Braun said. “The people here, at least most of them, recognized that there’s a chance that this was my last home game as a Brewer. I don’t think there’s a great chance but there’s certainly a higher chance than there’s been at any other point during my 10 years here. I’ve always appreciated that support. It means a lot to me.”
Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta (7-11) pitched six innings, allowing three runs — two earned — on five hits and three walks while striking out five. Banished to the minors on June 12 after a poor start, Peralta returned in August and has made nine starts, going 3-4 with a 3.23 ERA in his second stint with the team.
After falling behind 4-0, the Brewers scored twice in the seventh off Jumbo Diaz, with Perez scoring on a throwing error by catcher Ramon Cabrera. Yadiel Rivera’s groundout then scored Arcia to make it 4-2.
Before the game, Counsell discussed the death of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, killed early Sunday morning in a boating accident.
“He had Hall of Fame-level talent,” Counsell said. “It felt like Jose could last a long time, be a part of that for a long time, be the face of the Marlins a long time, which obviously makes it difficult.”
It was the final home game for the Brewers, who drew 2,314,614 fans, down 9 percent from 2,542,558 a year ago. Milwaukee went 41-40 at home and is 29-46 on the road.
Reds: Finnegan took a line drive from Perez off his right knee in the second. He threw a few pitches before facing the next batter to make sure he was all right. … Price said it was “improbable” that RHP Homer Bailey would pitch again this season. He has been out four weeks with right biceps tenderness.
Brewers: C Martin Maldonado returned to the starting lineup after going through concussion protocol. He took a hard foul off his mask on Thursday.
Reds: Tim Adleman (2-4) will pitch Monday night as Cincinnati opens a four-game series at St. Louis, which is vying for an NL wild-card spot.
Brewers: Matt Garza (5-8) will make his 19th start of the year at Texas in an interleague game Monday night.