After winning eight of nine to climb two games above .500 for the first time since last August, Cincinnati suffered a 6-3 loss at St. Louis on Thursday.
Adam Dunn belted his team-leading 14th homer—and second in three games— for the Reds.
“We have a lot of talent in this room and in the last two weeks our strength has started to show,” said Reds third baseman Aaron Boone. “To play well against your division rivals—you figure this is the team to beat—is always a bonus.”
Now the Reds will face the NL Central’s worst team as the Brewers are in the midst of yet another losing streak.
The Brewers suffered a four-game sweep to the Chicago Cubs, including Thursday’s 4-2, 17-inning setback.
Milwaukee set an NL record for strikeouts in an extra-inning game with 24, two more than the previous mark, set by the New York Mets on May 31, 1964, and tied by Cincinnati on Aug. 8, 1972.
“Who cares?” Milwaukee outfielder Geoff Jenkins said. “It’s just a win or a loss. It doesn’t really matter about the punchouts.”
The Brewers, losers of five straight overall, fell to 1-3 in extra innings this season.
Milwaukee has already had two six-game losing streaks this year.
STANDINGS: Reds - 3rd place, 3 1/2 GB, NL Central. Brewers - 6th place, 11 1/2 GB, NL Central.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Ryan Dempster (1-2, 6.80 ERA). Dempster is back in the rotation after missing his last start with neck pains. He made his first relief appearance of the year against Milwaukee on Saturday, tossing 2 1-3 scoreless innings in a 9-3 loss. Dempster has never lost to the Brewers, posting a 3-0 mark with a 2.53 ERA in five career starts.
BREWERS PROBABLE STARTER: Wayne Franklin (1-4, 7.11 ERA). The left-hander is seeking his first win since April 11. In his last start, Franklin allowed seven runs—six hits—in a 7-5 setback at Cincinnati on Sunday—his first-ever start against the Reds.
SEASON SERIES: Reds, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Reds - RHP Dempster has issued 38 walks in 41 innings this season, but NL batters are hitting just .197 against him. … OF Ken Griffey Jr. had a pinch-hit RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning in Thursday’s loss. On Wednesday, he made his first start since dislocating his right shoulder on April 5, and will not start back-to-back games until he is deemed healthy enough by the coaching staff. … SS Barry Larkin has been held out of the starting lineup after reinjuring his left calf Tuesday. Brewers - 1B Sexson is hitting .333 (4-for-12) in his career against RHP Dempster. … LHP Franklin has allowed five home runs in his last three starts. … Since April 25, no Brewers starter other than RHP Ben Sheets has earned a victory.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Reds - 8-11 on the road; Brewers - 5-15 at home.
INJURIES: Reds - OF Russell Branyan (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jimmy Haynes (back), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (shoulder), 60-day DL. Brewers - OF Jeffrey Hammonds (ankle), 15-day DL; LHP Valerio De Los Santos (ankle), 15-day DL; RHP Jayson Durocher (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Nick Neugebauer (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Todd Ritchie (elbow), 15-day DL.