Craig Counsell's solo homer started a four-run rally against Aaron Harang on Saturday night, and the Milwaukee Brewers' bullpen emerged from its struggles with three scoreless innings, protecting a 5-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Counsell led off the fourth inning with a homer, the first hit off Harang (5-10). The right-hander had a fielding error that prolonged the four-run inning and extended one of the worst stretches of his career.
Harang hasn't won since May 25, going 0-6 in his last 10 starts. The six consecutive losses match his career high.
Left-hander Manny Parra (4-8) repeatedly pitched out of scoring threats during his six innings, needing 125 pitches to get that far.
The Brewers lost eight of 11 heading into the All-Star break, a slide that dropped them behind St. Louis in the NL Central. The bullpen's struggles contributed to the decline and prompted manager Ken Macha to change set-up roles. The bullpen has been solid as Milwaukee won two of three in Cincinnati.
Todd Coffey pitched a perfect seventh inning, then returned after a 1-hour, 59-minute rain delay to pitch a perfect eighth as well, throwing 96 mph fastballs. Mark DiFelice gave up a single in the ninth before finishing the combined six-hitter.
The Brewers were missing All-Star outfielder Ryan Braun, who has a sore right thumb. Braun's hands were hit by a pitch from Bronson Arroyo on Friday night. X-rays on Saturday found no fracture, and Braun isn't expected to miss a lot of games.
Counsell, the Brewers' leadoff hitter, got the offense going with his third homer of the season, a drive to right field that landed in the first row of seats. It was his first homer since June 21.
Milwaukee sent nine batters to the plate in the inning. Prince Fielder's comeback ground deflected off Harang's glove for an error that let in a run. Corey Hart had an RBI double, and Frank Catalanotto _ Braun's replacement _ had a sacrifice fly.
J.J. Hardy homered off Nick Masset after the rain delay.
Parra ended Edwin Encarnacion's tear. The third baseman was 7 for 7 in the first two games with a walk, reaching base safely in all eight plate appearances. He took a called third strike in the first inning, ending a two-on threat.
NOTES: Brewers RHP Dave Bush will rest for five days, then be evaluated again. Bush, on the DL with an arm injury, felt fatigue in his last rehab start. ... The Reds had their sixth sellout for an Edinson Volquez bobblehead giveaway. ... Volquez made 30 throws in the outfield Saturday without pain. He plans to throw in the bullpen on Monday. Volquez has been on the DL since June 2 with tendinitis in his pitching elbow. ... Harang pushed his strikeout total with the Reds to 1,005, eighth on the team's list.