MILWAUKEE (AP)—Eddie Perez promised to take a better cut next time after popping out with two men on and two outs in the seventh inning.
The ball clanged off the yellow foul pole in left-field, setting off a wild celebration at home plate and a curtain call for Perez after the fans serenaded him with chants of “Eddie! Eddie!”
It was the Brewers’ first game-winning homer since Richie Sexson connected off Houston’s Mike Jackson on Sept. 1, 2001.
And it was Perez’s first walk-off homer since … he can’t remember.
“I think I got one. Or maybe not,” Perez said. “Maybe I got it in the minor leagues or in the Venezuela league.”
Regardless, Perez said it was particularly satisfying coming against Cincinnati just eight days after the Reds beat the Brewers on Jose Guillen’s game-winning homer in the 10th.
“It’s a hard way to lose,” said Reds manager Bob Boone, who asked Williamson to get six outs for the save in his first appearance in six days.
Williamson (3-2) walked Sexson and John Vander Wal before Perez hit his first pitch for his fifth homer.
“It was a hanging slider,” Williamson said.
And one that Perez knew was coming.
“I was looking for that pitch,” Perez said. “I’ve faced him before and the first pitch he threw me was a slider for a strike.”
And after that, Perez said, he just spins nasty sliders in the dirt.
“So, I told myself, be ready for the first one, that’s the only one that’s going to be a strike,” Perez said. “And he did, he threw it right there.”
Perez went to the video after popping out against Felix Heredia in the seventh.
“I wasn’t ready for it,” Perez said. “I guess it has to be the ninth inning before I’m ready. I went inside and looked at the video and said I have to be more aggressive.”
“Eddie might not be the greatest hitter in the National League,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “But he’s a tremendously good clutch hitter and he just has a knack for having big hits when you need it most.”
Mike DeJean (1-2) picked up the win with one scoreless inning of relief.
Until Lopez’s hit into the right-field corner, Brewers left-hander Glendon Rusch stood to win for the first time in eight starts. He allowed four runs on eight hits in 5 2-3 innings and left with a 5-4 lead.
Dunn hit a two-run homer for Cincinnati—his sixth in the past six games— to trim the Brewers’ lead to 3-2 in the fourth.
The Brewers got the runs right back in the bottom half against Jeff Austin, who allowed five runs, four hits and six walks in just 3 1-3 innings.
Boone pulled Austin in the middle of an at-bat when he threw two balls to Scott Podsednik after walking two batters. Left-hander Kent Mercker came on and gave up a triple to Podsednik that made it 5-2.
Boone’s two-run homer, his 11th, made it 5-4 in the sixth, and after Jason LaRue and Lopez hit two-out singles, Yost brought in right-handed reliever Brooks Kieschnick to face pinch-hitter Ken Griffey Jr.
Kieschnick struck out Griffey, the only batter he faced, with a big, looping slider. Kieschnick, who is serving as a relief pitcher and pinch hitter, said he hoped the big out established himself as more than just a novelty.
“That definitely was a big step for me to be able to come in and get out afuture Hall of Famer in Junior,” Kieschnick said.
Vander Wal’s three-run double gave Milwaukee a 3-0 lead in the third. … Reds SS Barry Larkin, who returned to the lineup for the first time since reinjuring his left calf Tuesday, saved a run in the seventh with a diving stop of Wes Helms’ infield single. … Austin Kearns has hit in 12 straight games, aseason-high for the Reds.