CINCINNATI (AP) — Ryan Ludwick hit his first homer since last October, another indication his swing is coming around, and Zack Cozart had a tiebreaking two-run shot Saturday night, powering the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Reds had four homers among their 14 hits while evening their series at a game apiece. Cincinnati has won 13 of its last 18 overall, tightening the NL Central race.
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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 last 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.
Ludwick and Cozart connected in the sixth inning off John Axford (6-7), who failed to hold a 2-1 lead. Joey Votto added his 19th homer an inning later off Michael Gonzalez, and Cozart singled for his third RBI.
Chris Heisey started it with a solo homer off Wily Peralta, who lasted only five innings. 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.
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.
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, giving them another option for the final game of the series. LH Tony Cingrani had to leave his start on Tuesday with a strained lower back. Manager Dusty Baker is leaning toward starting Reynolds in Cingrani’s place on Sunday. 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.