Before setting their sights on a weekend series with the NL Central-leading Cubs, the Brewers had a most frustrating skid that needed addressed.
Ryan Braun and Keston Hiura homered, Yasmani Grandal hit a go-ahead single and Josh Hader made a lights-out relief appearance to lift the Brewers over the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 Wednesday.
Grandal delivered his two-run single in the fifth, Hader struck out five over two scoreless innings and Freddy Peralta pitched the ninth for his first save as Milwaukee avoided a three-game sweep and ended a five-game losing streak against Cincinnati.
Next up: three home games against Chicago beginning Friday.
“There are still 60 games left, we’re not down to the wire,” said Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell. “But it’s an important series, for sure, it’s against a team that’s ahead of us. So, we want to keep ourselves right there.”
With two on and two out in the fifth inning, Reds left-hander Amir Garrett walked Christian Yelich to load the bases. Grandal grounded a 3-2 fastball into left field, scoring two and putting the Brewers up.
Hader got the ball to Freddy Peralta, who pitched the ninth for his first save. Peralta has not allowed a run in his last five games, striking out 12 over 6 1/3 innings.
Reds center fielder Nick Senzel led off the game with a single but was replaced by Phillip Ervin. Senzel appeared to be woozy, and the team said he left due to illness. Senzel missed games this season and last season because of migraines or vertigo.
Josh VanMeter hit his second homer and Joey Votto and Scooter Gennett had RBI hits to help Cincinnati build a 4-2 lead against starter Jhoulys Chacin. Braun kept Milwaukee close with a two-run shot in the first, his 15th homer of the season.
The Brewers received a respite when Eugenio Suárez was given a planned day off, until he entered the game in the eighth and was struck out by Hader. Suárez has homered eight times in 16 games against Milwaukee this season, including two-run home runs in three consecutive at-bats over the first two games of the series.
Chacin hasn’t won since April 30. He was pulled after three innings with right ribcage discomfort. Matt Albers (5-3) got one out for the win.
Reds right-hander Lucas Sims (1-1), making his second start of the season and his first since May 28, gave up five runs on three hits in 4 2/3 innings, including the homers by Braun and Hiura. He retired 10 straight batters between the two home runs.
Sims made a flashy defensive play in the fifth, diving across the third base line to catch Tyler Saladino’s foul bunt attempt.
Reds: C Juan Graterol was replaced during the third after a foul tip knocked his mask off. A trainer appeared to be examining Graterol’s jaw. Bell said the team is still evaluating Graterol
Brewers: RHP Taylor Williams was recalled from Triple-A San Antonio, and RHP Burch Smith was optioned.
KINGS OF Ks
Brewers batters entered Tuesday leading the NL in strikeouts. They struck out seven times Wednesday, pushing the team total to 987. … Hader entered Wednesday with 88 strikeouts in 47 ? innings, most among major league relievers.
VanMeter recorded a career-high three hits, with two RBIs. He is 6 for 12 since being recalled from Triple-A Louisville last Thursday, with two home runs and four RBIs.
Reds: Luis Castillo (9-3, 2.36 ERA) faces Colorado in Cincinnati on Friday. His ERA is 1.69 over his last four starts. The Rockies hadn’t named a starter.
Brewers: The Brewers had not announced a starter to face the Cubs’ Jose Quintana (8-7, 4.42 ERA) on Friday in Milwaukee.
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