The day after a disappointing 14-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Bruce brought a more abrupt end to the proceedings with a 392-foot solo homer off Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Burke Badenhop, lifting the Reds to a 4-3 victory before 35,138 at Great American Ball Park. "It never gets old," Bruce said of walk-off homers. "This one was a little sweeter because of what happened yesterday. It was a big win for us." With the victory, Cincinnati (41-27) climbed within 2 1/2 games of the first-place St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central. Milwaukee (27-39) lost for the fifth straight time to the Reds. "Huge, huge hit by Jay," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "When the ball went over the fence, we were all happy to be going home." Badenhop (0-3) allowed Bruce's 11th home run of the season on a 1-2 pitch. "It snuck out," Bruce said. "The pitch was down and away. I was pretty sure it was going to hit the wall or go out." Alfredo Simon (5-2) picked up the victory in relief for Cincinnati. Milwaukee second baseman Scooter Gennett, a Cincinnati area native ,hit his first major-league home run and left fielder LF Logan Schafer went 3-for-5 with a double. It was Schafer's third three-hit effort in his past 12 games. "It's weird how that works," Gennett said. "It's a great feeling not only hitting the home run, but I'm in Cincinnati and all my family and friends got to see it." Martin Maldonado hit a two-out solo homer off Reds starter Bronson Arroyo in the eighth to tie the score. Until then, Arroyo had given the Reds and their beleaguered bullpen just what they needed.
"I've been able to do that a couple times this season," Arroyo said. "I knew the bullpen was tired, a lot of things going on down there." Arroyo delivered 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) and 12 hits, the second most in his career. Brewers starter Kyle Lohse allowed two runs and four hits in the first two innings but shut down his former team in the next four innings, retiring 11 straight in one stretch. Lohse worked six innings, allowing three runs (one earned) and five hits. "I felt all right," Lohse said. "I've got to figure something out. It seems like I keep giving up hits in the first inning. Usually, I'm pretty good there." With the score tied 2-2 in the sixth, Cincinnati's Todd Frazier appeared to be caught stealing after a leadoff single, but Milwaukee first baseman Yuniesky Betancourt's throw to second caromed into center, allowing Frazier to reach third. He scored moments later on Jack Hannahan's sacrifice fly. The teams combined for five errors, including three by the usually sure-handed Reds. Milwaukee loaded the bases after Maldonado's tying homer in the eighth, but Reds reliever Sam LeCure got Jean Segura to pop out to second baseman Brandon Phillips to end the inning. Not only was it a key moment in the game, but it was an important moment for LeCure, who blew the save in Thursday's 14-inning loss and had been scuffling. "It was a big out for me, personally," LeCure said. "That was huge. Hopefully, I can get back on track. It was a rough week for me." The Reds' Shin-Soo Choo doubled leading off the game and stole third. The Brewers chose to play the infield in with one out, and Phillips' bloop single over a leaping Segura drove home Choo to put Cincinnati ahead 1-0. The Reds added a run in the second, but Gennett slugged his first career home run on a 1-1 pitch from Arroyo to make the score 2-1 in the third. NOTES: After the game, Milwaukee placed LF Ryan Braun on the 15-day disabled list and on Saturday expect to recall OF Caleb Gindl from Triple-A Nashville. "He went out and swung today, took batting practice and the soreness is still there," manager Ron Roenicke said of Braun. "This is a move we tried to avoid. After talking to him, I think this is the right way to go." Braun took batting practice before Friday's game, but what is described as an inflamed nerve between his right thumb and index finger wasn't improving. ... Reds 1B Joey Votto was given a night off after starting all 67 games this season. Hannahan started at first base for the first time this season. Baker called it a "mental day" for Votto, who walked as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. ... Reds RHP Johnny Cueto threw a successful bullpen session Friday and is on track to start Sunday. Cueto, who has been on the DL with a strained right lat muscle since June 5, is eligible to be reinstated Sunday, which marks his normal turn in the rotation. ... Cincinnati signed LHP Zach Duke to a minor league contract on Friday. Duke was released by the Washington Nationals on June 9.
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