Brewers 7, Reds 3

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MILWAUKEE (AP)—Ben Hendrickson finally showed why he’s considered one of the Milwaukee Brewers’ top prospects.

The rookie right-hander earned his first major league victory, Russell Branyan and Keith Ginter each hit three-run homers, and the Brewers sent the Cincinnati Reds to their fifth straight loss with a 7-3 victory Saturday night.

Hendrickson (1-6), named the International League’s top pitcher, threw six solid innings to avoid being the first pitcher in 25 years to lose in each of his first seven major league games.

“I’m off the doughnut,” he said.

Dan Kolb got the final out for his 36th save.

Branyan hit his seventh homer off Josh Hancock (3-2) in the third to give Milwaukee a 4-0 lead. Ginter hit his 13th in the fourth to make it 7-1.

“Two three-run home runs kind of did him in I guess,” Cincinnati manager Dave Miley said of Hancock. “He got behind a lot of hitters and made a lot of pitches.

“He just had a rough night.”

The Reds are having a rough second half of the season, going 15-31 since the All-Star break. They’ve been outscored 46-13 during their five-game losing streak.

Milwaukee has won three straight since losing 13 of 14, their first three-game winning streak since July 5-7 when they swept the Chicago Cubs.

Hendrickson gave up two runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out seven.

“You can see his progress every time he starts,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “He gets a little better and a little better. He’s a smart kid. He’s got good composure.”

Hendrickson avoided being the first pitcher since Mike Morgan of the Oakland A’s to lose in his first seven appearances, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Morgan lost in each of his first nine appearances from June 11, 1978, to July 24, 1979.

“Now I can relax,” he said.

Hendrickson said it was especially nice to earn his first victory on a night when David Krynzel, the team’s first-round draft choice in 2000, made his first major league start and got his first major league hit: an infield single in the second.

Hendrickson was the team’s 10th-round choice that year. Krynzel and Hendrickson have been teammates on five minor league teams.

Hancock lost for the first time in eight appearances since joining the Reds in a trade with Philadelphia on July 30. He pitched three innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits and five walks while striking out four.

Geoff Jenkins’ RBI single gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead in the first.

Austin Kearns hit his fifth homer in the fourth.

The Reds scored their second run in the fifth when Ginter fielded a ball at second and threw wildly past first baseman Lyle Overbay for an error, allowing Darren Bragg to score.

Notes

The last pitcher to lose each of his first six major league appearances was Wes Obermueller, who did it with Kansas City and Milwaukee from Sept. 20, 2002, to Aug. 14, 2003. … RHP Juan Padilla made his Reds debut in the sixth, one day after being claimed off waivers from the New York Yankees. … With St. Louis’ victory, the Reds were mathematically eliminated from winning the NL Central. Cincinnati has not won the division since 1995.

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