CINCINNATI (AP) Ryan Braun’s homer was as close as could be, smacking into the screen alongside the left field foul pole – a modest start to Milwaukee’s big night.
Braun began Milwaukee’s six-homer barrage , hitting the first of three off Homer Bailey, and the Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 11-3 on Thursday night, salvaging the final game of their series.
The NL Central leaders hit six homers for the first time since 2007, when they also did it in Cincinnati. Jonathan Villar connected twice as Milwaukee matched its season high for runs. Jesus Aguilar had a three-run homer among his three hits.
”Everybody’s got power here,” Villar said .
Jimmy Nelson (6-4) gave up three hits in seven innings, including Joey Votto’s 22nd and 23rd homers, and matched his season high with 11 strikeouts. The teams combined for 19 homers during the three-game series.
”You just knew we were going to break out of it, especially in a park like this,” Nelson said.
Braun returned at the start of the series after missing a month with a strained left calf. He homered twice in the series, including his solo shot in the first off Bailey (0-2), who has been hit hard in both of his starts since returning from elbow surgery.
”I wasn’t worried that he was going to hit,” manager Craig Counsell said. ”He’s going to hit.”
Braun’s 24th career homer at Great American Ball Park moved him one ahead of Lance Berkman for most by a visiting player. Braun has 39 homers overall against the Reds since his rookie season of 2007, the most by any player against Cincinnati over that span.
The Reds have allowed homers in 22 straight games, four shy of the major league record. Last-place Cincinnati has lost 15 of its last 19 games overall.
Manny Pina and Villar had solo shots off Bailey, who had elbow spurs removed at the start of spring training. In two outings, he’s given up 14 runs and 12 hits in 4 2/3 innings.
”I’m getting back to the speed of the game,” Bailey said. ”I have to be a little sharper. That little bit of sharpness is the difference between a home run and a ground ball or a pop up. It’s going to take some time.”
Villar connected off Kevin Shackelford for his third career multi-homer game. Aguilar’s three-run homer off the rookie made it 10-0 in the fourth inning.
The Brewers put RHP Chase Anderson on the 10-day DL with a strained left oblique and called up RHP reliever Jorge Lopez from Double-A. The Reds announced that RHP Jake Buchanan cleared outright waivers and decided to become a free agent rather than accept a move to the minors.
REST FOR THAMES
Slumping 1B Eric Thames got a day off. He’s 4 for 41 in his last 11 games with 19 strikeouts. Counsell said he might get another day off, too.
Reds manager Bryan Price was ejected for the second time this season by plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth in the third inning. He challenged a call that Aguilar’s double was in play – the ball came to rest under a pad. The call was upheld on review, and Price was ejected for continuing to argue.
The Brewers hit at least six homers for the sixth time in franchise history. The club record is seven at Cleveland on April 29, 1980. … Votto’s 23 homers before the All-Star break are a career high. It was his 13th multi-homer game and his first since last June 27 against the Cubs. … The Reds’ rotation’s ERA jumped to 6.29, worst in the NL.
Brewers: Anderson will be examined when the Brewers return home on Friday, giving them a better idea how long he might be sidelined by the injury incurred on a swing Wednesday night.
Reds: SS Zack Cozart got a day of rest in his rehab from a strained right thigh, which has sidelined him since June 19. He’s expected to be activated during a weekend series against the Cubs at Great American Ball Park.
Brewers: Milwaukee starts a six-game homestand with the first of three against Miami. RHP Matt Garza (3-4) is 3-3 career against the Marlins with a 5.11 ERA.
Reds: RHP Scott Feldman (6-5) makes his second career start against the Cubs. He gave up seven runs in 2 2/3 innings of a 7-5 loss at Wrigley Field on May 17. The Cubs have won 23 of their last 28 games overall against the Reds.
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