Jay Bruce smacked a three-run homer, part of a five-run fourth inning that helped propel the Cincinnati Reds past the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-1, in the opener of a three-game series Monday.
Zack Cozart also hit a solo shot in the inning for the Reds, who have won four of five. Bronson Arroyo (2-1) picked up the win by scattering six hits and one run with nine strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings.
"Getting a big lead early gave Bronson some room to breathe," Bruce said.
Ryan Braun homered for the Brewers, who saw Marco Estrada (0-2) surrender five runs on eight hits with five strikeouts over seven frames as they dropped their third in a row.
"[Estrada] started missing his location [in the fourth inning]," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "He gave up five, six hits that one inning and two, three the rest of the game. He threw a great game except for that inning."
Trailing 1-0, Cozart tied the game when he opened the fourth by lifting Estrada's first offering over the left-center field wall.
Drew Stubbs and Joey Votto followed with back-to-back doubles to give Cincinatti the lead, and Brandon Phillips singled to put runners on the corners.
Bruce then stepped to the plate, taking a ball in the dirt before crushing a 77 mile-per-hour changeup to right-center. The blast traveled an estimated 463 feet.
"That's as good as I can hit a ball," Bruce commented.
Braun had put Milwaukee in front with his own long shot in the home first, a solo homer he launched to dead center field.
A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases in the fourth, but Arroyo got Cesar Izturis to line out to end the inning.
Miguel Cairo pushed the Reds' margin to 6-1 in the ninth with a ground-rule double that plated Chris Heisey, who had singled and stole second.
It was the ninth home run of the season for both Braun and Bruce...Cozart has three home runs on the season...Milwaukee finished 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and let seven men on base...Heisey committed his second error of the season.