MILWAUKEE – Joey Votto and Scott Rolen homered on back-to-back pitches in the eighth inning to break open a tie game and lead the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.
The Reds widened their lead in the National League Central to seven games over the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost 4-0 to the Florida Marlins on Monday. Cincinnati's magic number for clinching their first NL Central title since 1995 is six.
Cincinnati's Francisco Cordero pitched a perfect ninth for his 37th save in 45 chances.
Aroldis Chapman retired both batters he faced in the eighth, hitting 100 mph on the radar gun in getting Casey McGehee to fly out harmlessly to right to end the inning.
The game was tied at 2 in the eighth when Orlando Cabrera, who had three hits, singled with one out. Votto followed with a towering homer over the Goodwill sign in left-center.
Rolen followed with his 20th home run on the next pitch from Kameron Loe (3-5), lifting Cincinnati to its eighth win in nine games against Milwaukee this season.
It was Votto's 35th homer and came after he exchanged words with home plate umpire Joe West in the first and sixth innings after striking out looking.
Votto is hitting .457 against the Brewers this season with 12 RBI. Rolen is hitting .480 against Milwaukee with 11 RBI.
Drew Stubbs also homered for the Reds, who moved to 56-27 against teams below .500. They are 29-39 against those with winning records.
Nick Masset (4-4) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings to get the win for the Reds.
Cincinnati starter Homer Bailey looked sharp after leaving his start on Wednesday against Arizona with dizziness. He gave up two runs, six hits and three walks in six innings, striking out seven.
Chris Capuano pitched equally as strong with his fourth straight solid start for Milwaukee, striking out a season-high seven in six innings. He gave up four hits and three walks and threw a season-high 105 pitches — his most pitches since Aug. 19, 2007.
Before this season, Capuano had not pitched in a major league game since Sept. 28, 2007 after having his second Tommy John surgery.
The Reds went up 2-0 in the second, as Jonny Gomes singled and Stubbs smacked his 20th homer and fifth in his last 12 games.
Milwaukee made it 2-1 in the third, when Ryan Braun's RBI groundout scored Rickie Weeks, who had walked. The Brewers tied it in the fifth, as Weeks led off with a double and scored on Braun's double two batters later.
Braun came into the game batting .388 since August 1, best in the majors.
Notes: Capuano has a 2.58 ERA over his last four starts and has lowered his season ERA to 3.99. ... Weeks is the first Brewers leadoff hitter with 100 runs scored in a season since Fernando Vina had 101 in 1998. ... All-Star Reds 2B Brandon Phillips came into the game hitting .132 (9 for 68) with no home runs and two RBIs in his last 16 games, since he returned to the lineup after missing six starts after being hit on the right hand with a pitch. ... Brewers RHP Dave Bush (2-4, 7.07 ERA in his career against the Reds) starts for Milwaukee against Cincinnati RHP Edinson Volquez Tuesday.