MILWAUKEE — The Miller Park roof was open and the wind was blowing out to center. With a home run-prone pitcher on the mound for the Milwaukee Brewers, the conditions were ripe for the Cincinnati Reds to have a big day at the plate.
Billy Hamilton got the slugging started by leading the game off with a home run, and the Reds finished Sunday afternoon with eight runs over the final two innings to send Milwaukee fans to the exits early in a 13-4 victory.
Brandon Phillips added a two-run shot in the first inning and Todd Frazier later hit his team-high 15th homer for the Reds. Hamilton connected for the second straight day, off Marco Estrada (5-4).
"We know we can do it, but we haven’t been doing it a lot," Frazier said. "Today, it showed we can do those (kinds) of things and we got a pitcher that we can hit a little bit."
The Reds moved back within two games of .500 despite a rocky outing by Mike Leake (4-6), who allowed four runs on nine hits and three walks in five innings. Cincinnati took two of three from the NL Central-leading Brewers.
"It was definitely big," manager Bryan Price said. "We’re establishing the fact that we can play this team very well."
His offense collected some gaudy statistics, including a season-high 19 hits. Among other highlights:
Ten different Reds scored runs.
A career-high three doubles for Ryan Ludwick, who went 4 for 5.
Six players with at least two hits.
"Things didn’t go right on the mound for us," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
Hot dog wrappers were blowing around the warning track early in the game, a bad sign for Estrada. The right-hander who made mistakes up in the zone has given up a major league-high 23 homers in just 84 innings, with 18 coming since May 1.
"Mentally, I felt great. Physically, I felt great. I think I just tried way too hard and that’s what happens," Estrada said. "I was rushing stuff, leaving balls up and got hit around. Once that inning was over, I came back in and calmed down."
The Reds led 3-0 in the fourth when Milwaukee loaded the bases with two outs on an intentional walk to Jean Segura. Estrada followed with his RBI chopper up the middle and Scooter Gennett then sliced a double the other way down the left-field line to tie it.
Milwaukee might have scored even more in the inning had Carlos Gomez not been doubled off first after taking off on Aramis Ramirez’s long fly to right tracked down at the warning track by Jay Bruce.
Frazier followed with his two-run shot the next inning to put Cincinnati up for good. Hamilton led off the inning with a single and drew a few pickoff throws before Frazier homered on an 0-1 fastball up in the zone.
Leake gave up Jonathan Lucroy’s homer to center leading off the bottom of the fifth to get the Brewers within 5-4 before the Reds broke it open with five runs in the eighth. Brewers reliever Rob Wooten allowed six straight hits without recording an out and watched his ERA balloon by nearly two runs to 4.98.
"I did what I could, but our offense really came around today," Leake said.
Lucroy added a double to go 2 for 4 and raised his average to .336.
NOTES: Reds LHP Tony Cingrani pitched scoreless two innings in his first relief appearance since getting bumped from the rotation following the return of starter Mat Latos from the disabled list. … Brewers LHP Tom Gorzelanny tossed a scoreless sixth inning in his season debut after coming off the disabled list Saturday. Gorzelanny had offseason shoulder surgery. … The Reds have an off-day Monday before starting a series Tuesday in Pittsburgh. … RHP Wily Peralta (6-5) has returned to the Brewers after attending to a personal matter in his native Dominican Republic. Peralta, who did not miss a start, said he is ready for his next outing Monday in Arizona.