CINCINNATI (AP) — Ryan Braun added to his record total of homers at Great American Ball Park, and the Milwaukee Brewers moved a step closer to a wild-card berth Tuesday night, beating the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 for their fifth win in a row.
Just like last season, when Milwaukee put on a late rush to take the NL Central title, the Brewers have closed in on a playoff spot with a September flourish. They’ve won 16 of 18, positioning themselves for one of the NL wild cards along with Washington. Their clinching number was down to two after the latest win.
With 2018 National League MVP Christian Yelich sidelined by a broken right kneecap, the Brewers have turned to their deep bullpen and different combinations of hitting stars each night. Milwaukee has the best record in the majors in September at 18-4.
Braun connected for his 21st homer off Sonny Gray (11-8), making the final start of his All-Star season. Braun’s 27 homers at Great American are the most by a visiting player.
Braun has been a solid contributor lately, going 9 for 21 in his last seven games. He also singled off Gray, who went five innings and fanned six to top 200 strikeouts for the first time in his career. Yasmani Grandal’s double tied it at 2 in the third, and Keston Hiura put the Brewers ahead to stay with a sacrifice fly.
Brewers starter Adrian Houser gave up a broken-bat RBI double by Aristides Aquino and a run-scoring single by Tucker Barnhart in the first inning. The Reds lead the majors with 128 runs and 125 RBIs in the first inning.
Brent Suter (4-0) allowed three hits in three innings. Josh Hader allowed a pair of hits in the ninth before fanning Kyle Farmer for his 36th save in 42 chances.
AND THIS ONE BELONGS …
Marty Brennaman began his last series after 46 years broadcasting Reds games. He hasn’t decided what to say in his final sign-off Thursday, but said it will be “the hardest day of my life.”
Brewers: RH Brandon Woodruff won’t pitch in Cincinnati, manager Craig Counsell said. Woodruff returned from an oblique injury on Sept. 17 and had made a pair of two-inning appearances as the Brewers ease him back.
Reds: INF Freddy Galvis was still sick from a virus that has affected a half-dozen Reds in the last few days.
Brewers: Jordan Lyles (11-8) is 6-1 with a 2.35 ERA in 10 starts with Milwaukee, which got him from Pittsburgh on July 29.
Reds: Tyler Mahle (2-11) hasn’t won since May 31, but has been a victim of a blown save in two of his last four starts.