The Cincinnati Reds continued to have the upper hand in their series with the top team in the National League and division rival Milwaukee as they recovered from a late tie by the Brewers to win 4-2 on Sunday at Great American Ballpark.
Jay Bruce launched a two-run homer off Will Smith (1-2) in the eighth inning to give the Reds (45-42) a 7-3 advantage in the season series. The Brewers (52-37) still maintain a six game lead over the Reds who currently sit in fourth place behind St. Louis (47-42) and Pittsburgh (47-41). Cincinnati's series win did help the Pirates who completed their first sweep of the season to pull within 4.5 of Milwaukee. The NL Central is currently the only division in baseball to boast four teams over .500.
Cincinnati helped back Mat Latos (2-1) early as they scored twice against Yovani Gallardo. Bruce and Devin Mesoraco each drove in a run in the first inning to spot Latos the early 2-0 advantage. The Reds looked to have scored once again on an inside the park home run by Ramon Santiago, but replay confirmed Brewers' left fielder Logan Schafer's suspicions that a fan interfered with the catch and Santiago was instead ruled out.
Schafer would get his revenge as he tripled to lead off the sixth inning and then came in to score on a ground ball to cut the Reds' lead in half. He was at it again in the eighth as he doubled off Latos and then scored on a pinch-hit RBI single by Rickie Weeks to tie the game at two.
Smith came on in relief of Gallardo in the eighth and retired Todd Frazier for the first out, but walked Brandon Phillips before giving up the two-run blast to Bruce. Jonathan Broxton came on in the ninth instead of Aroldis Chapman for the save, but the results were still what the Reds needed as Broxton notched his sixth save of the year by retiring the Brewers in order in the ninth.
The Reds remain at GABP for a rare five game set with the Chicago Cubs (38-48). Cincinnati dodged a bullet as it will not have to face All-Star Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel as the Cubs traded their two aces to Oakland for three players, including to of the A's best prospects. The Cubs still have not announced who fill the final two roster spots in the last two games of the series. What they do know is that Edwin Jackson (5-8, 4.99 ERA) will face Mike Leake (6-7, 3.47 ERA) in the series opener on Monday.