CINCINNATI -- As Brewers manager Craig Counsell engaged the umpires in a second heated argument in two nights, you wondered whether he was on his way to an ejection.
He must have bit his tongue, because Counsell remained in the dugout for arguably the most maddening moment of his team's season -- and maybe Milwaukee's most exhilarating win. It was a crazy, 13-12 triumph over the Reds that spanned 10 innings, featured four ties and five lead changes, defensive gems and disputed calls aplenty, and was led by a National League Most Valuable Player Award candidate, Christian Yelich, who did everything but pitch.
"I was thinking throughout the game, 'This game's crazy,'" said Yelich, who finished 6-for-6 with three RBIs and two runs scored. "We were talking about it on the bench. All the plays that happened during it, it was one of those games where you just never knew what was going to happen. It felt like no lead was safe."
Yelich became the fourth player in Brewers history to collect six hits and the eighth to hit for the cycle, and he threw the would-be go-ahead runner out at home plate in the seventh inning. Mike Moustakas hit one tie-breaking home run for Milwaukee in the eighth inning, and Jesus Aguilar smashed another in a two-run 10th before Jeremy Jeffress finally finished a rain-delayed game that spanned four hours and 16 minutes.
Erik Kratz's RBI single in the 10th was the last of the Brewers' season-high 22 hits, which proved a necessary bit of insurance when Cincinnati's Brandon Dixon went deep against Jeffress leading off the bottom of the inning. Jeffress recovered with help from third baseman Moustakas, who made a terrific defensive play to end the game and increase Milwaukee's lead over the idle Rockies to a game in the chase for the second NL Wild Card spot.
"Hopefully that's one of those wins during a season that you can look back on and go, 'Hey, that's where it all started,'" Yelich said. "Maybe it gets us on a roll."
The Brewers will have a lot to look back on, because this game had everything.
It started with a 27-minute rain delay before Matt Harvey pitched against the team that came within one phone call of trading for him last week. That was a footnote before the night was over.
Yelich took over the storyline beginning in the fifth, when he homered for the sixth time in six games -- a go-ahead two run shot off Harvey -- on the way to becoming the second Major Leaguer this season and the first Brewer since George Kottaras in 2011 to hit for the cycle.
Yelich sealed his cycle with a triple in a four-run seventh inning for a 10-10 tie and then threw out at runner at home plate in the bottom of that inning trying to break the tie. For his final act, he tacked on an infield hit in the ninth for the Brewers' first six-hit game since Jean Segura in 2013.
"I've never seen a game like that. It was incredible," Counsell said. "He's coming up there and you're thinking he can't do it again, and he does it again. Then he makes a great throw to keep that inning at zero. He did everything tonight, he really did. He's driving the bus home tonight."
All of that action in the seventh followed a stretch in which the Reds scored seven runs in two innings against Brewers starter Freddy Peralta and relievers Josh Hader and Taylor Williams. The final three of those runs came on a disputed three-run home run for Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen. One pitch after the Brewers believed Williams had Lorenzen struck out on a foul bunt, Lorenzen homered into the left-field seats for a 10-6 Reds lead and closed the book on Hader, who recorded two outs and was charged with four earned runs.
"Josh had a bad night," Counsell said. "He didn't throw the ball well tonight. He hasn't had very many bad nights this year. That kind of put the game in chaos stage, really."
Back came the Brewers, though, first with four runs in the seventh inning before Moustakas' go-ahead shot in the eighth. Milwaukee lost that lead on Joakim Soria's wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the inning.
In the 10th inning, Aguilar's 30th home run finally put Milwaukee ahead for good, and Kratz's single gave the Brewers what turned into the winning run.
"The next month, there's going to be crazy nights and there's going to be more nights like this," Counsell said. "It might be a different kind of crazy. We've seen different kinds of crazy twice in the last week. We're ready to take the ride."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Bunt or no bunt: What made Counsell so agitated in the sixth inning? Lorenzen, the slugging Reds pitcher who had already homered twice against the Brewers this season, had squared to bunt a two-strike pitch with the Reds leading, 7-6, then recoiled when Williams threw one up and in. The baseball hit his bat. There was no dispute about that.
But was it a bunt? Home-plate umpire Tony Randazzo appealed to his first-base colleague, Nick Mahrley, and eventually, all four umpires converged. They decided Lorenzen had pulled back his bunt attempt. Counsell quickly emerged to argue.
"I know it was an up-and-in pitch, but I still thought he offered at the pitch," Counsell said. "They didn't agree."
Third-base umpire Bill Welke referred to it as "a very unusual play." He pointed to the rule defining a bunt, which refers to a pitch not swung at but intentionally tapped in the infield. Lorenzen, Welke said, "was in full retreat."
On the next pitch, Lorenzen gave the Reds a 10-6 lead with a three-run home run to left field.
"The reality of the situation," Williams said, "is that's what was called on the field, and whatever happened after that -- it was frustrating, but like I said, that was the ruling on the field and I need to bear down and execute a pitch after that. I hung a slider right there. That was obviously not what I wanted to have happen." More >
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Yelich was the first outfielder to hit for the cycle and throw out a runner at the plate since Johnny Callison for the Phillies on June 27, 1963. It happened in the seventh with Corbin Burnes on for Milwaukee and the teams tied at 10-10. Curt Casali singled to Yelich, who threw out Eugenio Suarez with a step to spare.
"That's what we've got to do as a team throughout the rest of this season," Yelich said. "Find ways to win."
HE SAID IT
"It wasn't necessarily a well-played game on either side, defensively or pitching, but I think the hitting was pretty darn good." -- Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart, who had two hits, including a home run, and scored three runs for the home team
PINA HIT BY PITCH
Brewers catcher Manny Pina left the game in the seventh inning after he was struck in the face by a David Hernandez pitch. Pina had five stitches, Counsell said, but avoided serious injury. The Brewers manager said Pina passed a concussion test.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
True to form for a wild game, the Reds tied the game against Soria on an overturned call. Billy Hamilton, who'd reached on a fluky single over a drawn-in infield, was at third base when he broke for home on a Soria pitch that deflected off Kratz. Hamilton was initially called out after Kratz tagged him behind the plate, as Randazzo ruled he never touched the base. The play was reviewable, even though the Reds had burned their challenge earlier in the game. After the eighth inning, the umpires can review close plays at their discretion.
Once he overcame groin and oblique injuries, Wade Miley has been as steady as it gets for the Brewers, allowing two or fewer earned runs in nine of his 10 big league starts and three earned runs in the other. He beat the Reds at Great American Ball Park in his Brewers debut on May 2, when Miley worked six innings and allowed one run on three hits. The left-hander will start the series finale in Cincinnati on Thursday at 11:35 a.m. CT. Cody Reed will start for the Reds.