MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- As has been the case for the last few months, Brewers starter Kyle Lohse was very good Thursday night.
Unfortunately for his team, Reds starter Tony Cingrani was just slightly better as Cincinnati beat Milwaukee, 2-1, at Miller Park.
"It's a good win for us," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "We pick up a game. ... Bigger or better things are ahead for us."
Cingrani (6-2) struck out nine in his 6 1/3-inning effort and, after allowing a solo home run to Khris Davis in the second, he retired 12 of the next 14 batters before running into trouble in the seventh.
"He's confident, he's not intimidated by anybody," Baker said. "This is how you want your players to be, especially rookies. He wanted to make this team out of spring training. He's full of determination and desire, and a lot of confidence."
In three starts against Milwaukee this season, Cingrani is 1-1 with a 2.60 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings of work.
The fastball has been especially kind to Cingrani against the Brewers, and Thursday was no different.
"They swung at it the last two times I faced them," Cingrani said. "They kept swinging. So I kept throwing it there."
The Reds' offense, paced by Joey Votto's team-leading 17th home run of the season, didn't do much, but it was enough to give Cingrani his third victory in his last four decisions.
Votto's home run was his first since Aug. 3.
"That was the difference in the game," Baker said. "I don't think you ever think that, especially in this ballpark."
Milwaukee's Lohse went seven innings, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on five hits and four walks with four strikeouts.
Three of those walks (one was intentional) came in the first inning.
"For him to walk two guys in the first inning, his command was off," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Even when he's off, he keeps us in the game."
Lohse (8-8) avoided a disaster in the first inning when he waked leadoff batter Shin-Soo Choo and, with one out, Joey Votto.
Brandon Phillips flew out to center for the second out, and Lohse intentionally walked Jay Bruce, loading the bases for Ryan Ludwick, who lined a first-pitch slider up the middle for what would have given the Reds an early lead. But a leaping grab by Jeff Bianchi ended the inning.
"After that (the first inning), I felt like I pitched pretty well," Lohse said. "I didn't have my best stuff, but you don't have that every day, and you've just got to go out there and battle."
Lohse's bid for a fourth consecutive victory was derailed, in part, by two crucial mistakes by his offense.
Bianchi led off the third with a base hit into center but, with Lohse batting, he was caught in a rundown between first and second for the inning's first out. Lohse ended up striking out, and Norichika Aoki grounded out to end the inning.
Logan Schafer spoiled the Brewers' best scoring chance in the seventh, popping out to the catcher on a botched bunt attempt.
" When it's a close game, it usually comes down to a couple of mistakes," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We didn't get a couple of things done. We turned a few double plays, which I liked. But he bunt was big, no question. ... Those couple of little things made the difference."
Schafer came into the game for Carlos Gomez, who suffered a sprained right knee when he crashed into the center-field wall while hauling in Brandon Phillips' fourth-inning drive.
"It's part of the job," said Gomez, who suffered a separated shoulder crashing into the wall earlier this season. "You don't want to hit the walls, you don't want to get hurt. Sometimes you can't control it. It's part of the game."
Gomez was on crutches after the game and will undergo an MRI Friday in Milwaukee.
Davis put Milwaukee on the board with his fifth home run of the season. Cincinnati evened the score in the fifth when catcher Jonathan Lucroy couldn't hold onto a relay throw that allowed Devin Mesoraco to score.
NOTES: Cincinnati has won five in a row is now a season-high 17 games over .500 and moved within a half-game of second-place St. Louis and 2 1/2 games of front-running Pittsburgh in the NL Central . ... Milwaukee's rotation has produced a quality start in six consecutive games, posting a 4-3 record and an 1.85 ERA in the last 10. ... The Reds struck out seven times
Thursday, increasing their National League-leading total to 1,002 for the season. Four Cincinnati players have struck out at least 100 times. ... Aramis Ramirez returned to third base Thursday after serving as the Brewers' designated hitter Wednesday at Texas.