CINCINNATI — Chase Anderson was trying to get ground balls. Instead, he wound up turning and looking toward the walls a lot, setting up another long night for the Brewers.
Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer during his latest big game against Milwaukee, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Brewers 9-5 on Thursday night even though their bullpen extended its historically bad streak of allowing runs.
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Bruce homered during a five-run first inning off Anderson (1-4). His 34 career homers against the Brewers are by far his highest total against any team. By comparison, he’s hit 20 against the Cardinals and the Pirates.
"It wasn’t a great pitch, let’s put it that way," Anderson said of his curveball to Bruce. "Looking back, I made two or three bad pitches tonight. Other than that, I felt pretty good. When you put your offense behind the 8-ball like I have the last few times, it’s hard to score runs."
Anderson has been in a rut, and he couldn’t get out of it against a Reds team he has dominated. He beat the Reds twice last season and had allowed only one run in three career starts against Cincinnati.
"His last three innings were encouraging," manager Craig Counsell said. "We need Chase. It’s important that we get him going."
The Reds sent nine batters to the plate for five runs in the first. Phillips hit a sacrifice fly, and Bruce’s fifth homer of the season made it 4-0 after only 13 pitches. Tucker Barnhart completed the rally with a run-scoring single.
Phillips added a two-run shot in the second off Anderson, his second homer in two games. Adam Duvall hit a two-run shot in the eighth, his third straight game with a homer.
"I was just trying to get the ball on the ground," Anderson said. "I left a couple up and when you leave pitches up in a hitter’s park, it can go a long way."
Alfredo Simon (1-3) made it easy on the major leagues’ worst bullpen, becoming only the second Reds starter to last seven innings. He allowed three runs in 7 2/3 innings, including Alex Presley’s two-run homer. The Reds turned three double plays behind him.
The bullpen couldn’t close it out smoothly. J.J. Hoover gave up Chris Carter’s 10th homer leading off the ninth inning, extending the bullpen’s major league record to 23 consecutive games allowing at least one run. It was the 23rd homer allowed by Reds relievers in 29 games. Colin Walsh drove in another run.
The Reds got the better of a matchup between the NL Central’s two bottom teams, winning for only the fourth time in their last 14 games.
Carter’s homer hit high off the batter’s eye in center field. Twenty of his 26 hits this season have gone for extra bases.
"You can’t turn away when he’s hitting, that’s for sure," Counsell said.
The Brewers claimed LHP Michael Kirkman off waivers from San Diego. He’s expected to join the team on Saturday.