Reds 8, Brewers 4(10)

Reds manager Dusty Baker had a simple message for his players

before they faced the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night: Stay

positive and good luck will come our way.

It didn’t take very long for Baker’s words to resonate with his

frustrated team.

Jay Bruce sparked Cincinnati’s five-run 10th inning with a

leadoff homer and the Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-4 after the

defending NL Central champions cleared the air during a pregame

team meeting.

”Team meetings, they help and they’re not always negative.

Today was just kind of a meeting of reinforcement, reiteration that

we do have the talent to win here,” Bruce said. ”You have to

think like you’re a winner. Some stuff hasn’t gone our way lately,

and that’s OK, that’s OK. That’s baseball.”

The Reds, who also got an early home run from Ramon Hernandez,

had lost six of eight to fall a season-worst two games under .500

and appeared to be in trouble several times in this one.

But Bruce hit a towering drive to right against Marco Estrada

(2-6) for his 21st homer, and the Reds tacked on four more runs

while sending 10 men to the plate.

Milwaukee was again without Ryan Braun and blew a big

opportunity in the ninth.

””We just have to put this one behind us and move on,” catcher

Jonathan Lucroy said. ”It was a tough loss.”

Before the game, Baker called for a meeting and wouldn’t say

what he planned to discuss, but afterward called it a good reminder

that the Reds are in the thick of the NL Central even after a bumpy

stretch.

”I told my guys, you’ve got to think positive, think lucky and

keep thinking positive and lucky and good things will happen,”

Baker said. ”When the team’s not going good, you just try to make

it short and sweet.”

It didn’t appear that much had changed until Bruce belted his

third homer in four games. After losing consecutive one-run games,

everyone else got involved in Cincinnati’s offensive outburst,

too.

”Dusty’s competitive. Obviously he wants to win and he wanted

to remind us we have two games left, let’s not sleep into the

All-Star break here,” Scott Rolen said. ”We can make up a little

ground right now.”

The Reds are three games behind the Brewers and Cardinals for

first place in the NL Central.

Rolen doubled after Bruce’s homer and moved to third on Edgar

Renteria’s sacrifice. Hernandez then hit an RBI single, and Miguel

Cairo, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips each drove in a run later in

the inning.

The outburst came after a tense ninth when reliever Logan

Ondrusek gave up a leadoff single to Rickie Weeks before leaving

for Bill Bray.

Bray (2-1) immediately threw errantly to first, allowing Weeks

to advance to second. Nyjer Morgan struck out on a sacrifice

attempt, slamming his helmet in frustration in the dugout after it

rolled foul. Corey Hart followed with a fly ball that would’ve been

plenty for a sacrifice fly, but instead only moved Weeks to

third.

After Bray walked Prince Fielder, he got Mark Kotsay, Friday

night’s hero, to pop out harmlessly.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke spoke with Morgan briefly after the

game.

”I have to keep my head up. I was a little frustrated there

that I didn’t get the job done,” Morgan said. ”I was hoping my

boys behind me were going to pick me up and we were going to win it

right there. It was just one of those things where the kid didn’t

get the bunt down and, you know. It was just that one run.”

Reds closer Francisco Cordero gave up a run in the 10th after

allowing three the night before, but managed to close it out.

Braun missed his seventh straight game with a strained left calf

and will not play in Tuesday’s All-Star game. Scott Rolen was added

to the NL squad during the game as a replacement for Atlanta third

baseman Chipper Jones and will join teammates Bruce, Votto and

Phillips in Arizona.

”It’s an honor. Chipper’s so old, they upgraded in age and

youth,” said the 36-year-old Rolen, who plans to pick up his

children before heading to Phoenix. ”My daughter cried the first

time. She didn’t think I’d come home for the All-Star break.”

For the third straight game, the teams swapped leads

back-and-forth in the early innings.

Milwaukee went up 2-0 in the first on singles by Hart and

Kotsay. The Reds took a 3-2 lead in the second on Fred Lewis’

double and Hernandez’s two-run homer to straightaway center field.

Milwaukee tied it in the bottom of the second on Shaun Marcum’s

suicide squeeze.

The Reds left 12 runners on base as a team, with Rolen failing

with nine runners on base in his first four at-bats.

”I left a small village on base, not through lack of effort.

Things weren’t going my way,” Rolen said. ”Jay leads off with a

home run and everybody started putting some good at-bats

together.”

NOTES: The teams wore replica uniforms as part of Milwaukee’s

sixth annual Negro Leagues tribute with the Brewers representing

the 1923 Milwaukee Bears and the Reds honoring the 1936-37

Cincinnati Tigers. … Kotsay has an eight-game hitting streak. …

The Reds will start LHP Dontrelle Willis on Sunday. Willis had been

5-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 13 starts at Louisville this year, but

hasn’t pitched in the majors in more than a year … Pirates CF

Andrew McCutchen is replacing Braun on the NL All-Star roster.