Mike Fiers took a perfect game into the seventh inning on Tuesday and the Milwaukee Brewers hung on to edge the Cincinnati Reds, 3-1, in the middle installment of a three-game series at Miller Park.
Fiers (6-4) threw 76 of his 113 pitches for strikes, allowed just one run and a trio of hits while fanning seven and walking one over eight innings to win his third consecutive start. Jim Henderson was perfect in the ninth inning to secure his first career save.
"It's always in my head," Fiers said of a potential perfect game. "I was thinking I wasn't walking anyone and I didn't want to give up any hits. In the sixth and seventh, the thought came into my head a little more, but I was just trying to keep us in the game."
Aramis Ramirez belted a two-run home run in the opening inning and Jean Segura collected his first major league RBI with a ground out in the seventh for the Brewers, who have won two straight on the heels of a three-game slide.
Zack Cozart ripped a double off Fiers leading off the seventh to break up the perfect game and Brandon Phillips got the lone RBI on a sacrifice fly for the NL Central-leading Reds, who have lost three straight.
Johnny Cueto (14-6) pitched well in defeat, allowing three runs on six hits over seven innings with nine strikeouts, but it wasn't enough as the righty lost for the first time since July 3.
Milwaukee struck for a pair of runs in its first at-bat. Ryan Braun was at first courtesy of a fielder's choice, and Ramirez then got a fastball from Cueto and deposited it into the stands in left.
Cozart's two-bagger to left-center started the seventh against Fiers ended any chance of the franchise's first perfect game and second no-hitter. Cozart was able to advance to second on a fly out to right by Drew Stubbs before scoring on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Phillips.
Rickie Weeks doubled to deep center to begin the Milwaukee eighth and went to third on a groundout by Jonathan Lucroy before scampering home on Segura's groundout to third.
"The problem was their pitcher, he pitched a great game." Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "That was one of the best games pitched against us in a long time. There's not a lot we could do. He's very deceptive with his delivery."
Prior to Tuesday's loss, the Reds had won seven of the 10 games between the clubs this season...Also on Tuesday, the Reds announced that they will officially retire 2012 Hall of Fame inductee Barry Larkin's No. 11 in a pre- game ceremony on August 25...The Reds finished 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and left just two on base, while the Brewers went 0-for-4 with RISP and left five on base...Cozart's double erased what could have been the first perfect game in Brewers history and just the second no-hitter.