Home Run Derby winner Prince Fielder hit a three-run shot that got Milwaukee's offense going, and the Brewers took a first step in turning themselves around after the All-Star break by beating the Cincinnati Reds 9-6 on Thursday night.
Fielder won the All-Star home run competition on Monday night in St. Louis. He got the Brewers started on their second-half quest _ catching the Cardinals in the NL Central _ by connecting in the third inning off Homer Bailey (1-1). Milwaukee moved to two games behind the idle Cardinals.
Braden Looper (8-4) went 5 1-3 innings and had three hits of his own, including a broken-bat, RBI single that extended Milwaukee's five-run rally in the sixth inning. The three hits _ all singles _ matched his total for the season and were a career high.
Seth McClung gave up a three-run homer in the eighth by Edwin Encarnacion, who drove in four runs overall. Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 23 chances.
The Brewers went into the All-Star break losing eight of 11, a slide that dropped them into second place behind St. Louis. The Reds have dropped seven of nine, falling four games under .500 for the first time this season and deflating their hopes of staying in the race.
Fielder, the Brewers' most consistent hitter all season, got them started by connecting on a 93 mph, down-the-middle fastball in the third inning. Bailey began berating himself as soon as the ball left the bat, stomping his right foot on the mound and muttering to himself.
Fielder set a club record with 78 RBIs before the All-Star break. With 81 now, he's on pace to shatter Cecil Cooper's franchise record of 126 RBIs in 1983.
The Brewers sent 10 batters to the plate for five runs in the sixth. Bailey was charged with a career-high seven runs, though the bullpen had a big hand in it. Bailey left with the bases loaded and the Reds down 4-2, but Nick Masset gave up a two-run single by J.J. Hardy and Looper's third hit of the game.
Joey Votto hit a two-run homer off Looper, who gave up seven hits and three runs. Since returning from a stay on the disabled list to deal with his father's death, Votto has batted .346 with four homers in 20 games.
NOTES: Brewers RH Dave Bush, on the DL with a small tear in his triceps, was sent for another exam after feeling fatigue in the arm during a rehab start on Wednesday night. It's now unlikely he'll be activated next week. ... Looper was 3 for 30 this season coming into the game. ... Fielder hit 23 homers during the All-Star Derby. His homer Thursday was his 23rd of the season. ... All-Star OF Ryan Braun had an infield single that snapped an 0-for-16 slump. ... Reds RF Chris Dickerson was scratched from the lineup because of back spasms. He hurt his back last Sunday in New York.