Brewers give up 4 HRs, fall to Reds 6-3
Wily Peralta couldn't get his slider to go where he wished, setting up a night of struggles for Milwaukee's pitching staff.
The Reds had four homers among their 14 hits - their best total since June 11 - while evening their series at a game. Cincinnati has won 13 of its past 18 overall, tightening the NL Central race.
Chris Heisey started it with a solo homer off Peralta, who left after only five innings with a pitch count of 103.
The right-hander is 1-3 in five starts against the Reds this season. Last Sunday in Milwaukee, he gave up seven runs in only 4 1-3 innings of a 9-1 loss to the Reds.
The slider has been Peralta's best pitch lately, and he couldn't get it to work, setting up long at-bats that quickly inflated his pitch count.
''It just wasn't there,'' Peralta said. ''But that's going to happen. When those things happen, you have to battle and do your best.''
Under the circumstances, it wasn't all that bad.
''He did a nice job of just giving up one run, but his pitch count was up early,'' manager Ron Roenicke said. ''But he kept us in the game and left with a 2-1 lead. For not having his command, he did a nice job.''
That 2-1 lead didn't last long.
Axford had a rough start to the season, giving up runs in each of his first four appearances. He didn't give up any runs in 31 of his 32 appearances from May 15 to July 24. His inconsistency has been a mystery.
''It's hard to know,'' Roenicke said. ''When he's right, I want him in there. But he's got to be more consistent.
''He's got to get back to that guy he was for 30 outings in a row. He was really good for a while.''
Ludwick's homer was the most meaningful one for the defending NL Central champions, who hope their cleanup hitter gets his swing straightened out for September and beyond.
He tore cartilage in his right shoulder while sliding headfirst into base on opening day, sidelining him for more than three months.
Bronson Arroyo (13-9) won his fourth straight start by allowing three runs, including Caleb Gindl's pinch-hit homer leading off the eighth. The right-hander hasn't walked a batter in his past 29 2-3 innings.
Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his 33rd save in 38 chances. The left-hander hit a batter and fanned three with a fastball that repeatedly registered 102 mph.
Arroyo overcome a tough early inning.
Khris Davis drove in the Brewers' first run with a double in the second, extending his impressive series. He had a pair of two-run homers in consecutive at-bats for a 6-4 win on Friday night.
Davis was called up for his third stint with Milwaukee when Ryan Braun accepted a 65-game suspension on July 22 for using performance-enhancing drugs.
The rookie has batted .383 with eight homers since then, earning regular playing time in the outfield. He's got a 10-game hitting streak.
Scooter Gennett followed Davis' double with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.
Milwaukee's defense cut down a rally in the fourth. Ludwick led off with a broken-bat single and tried to score from first base on Jack Hannahan's double off the wall in left-center field. Carlos Gomez got to the ball quickly and shortstop Jean Segura made a perfect relay to get Ludwick sliding into the plate.
Notes: RH Greg Reynolds joined the Reds before Saturday's game. Manager Dusty Baker said he'll start the final game of the series on Sunday in place of LH Tony Cingrani, who had to leave his start on Tuesday with a strained lower back. The Brewers will start Marco Estrada. ... RF Jay Bruce got a day off. He has played in all but two of Cincinnati's games this season. ... Heisey extended his hitting streak to seven games.
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