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.

Ryan Ludwick hit his first homer since last October, and Zack

Cozart had a tiebreaking two-run shot Saturday night, powering the

Cincinnati Reds to a 6-3 victory over the Brewers.

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.

Ludwick and Cozart connected in the sixth inning off John Axford

(6-7). Joey Votto added his 19th homer an inning later off Michael

Gonzalez, and Cozart singled for his third RBI.

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.

Ludwick’s homer was his first since a solo shot off San

Francisco’s Matt Cain during Game 5 of the Giants’ playoff victory

in Cincinnati last season.

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.

Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay