Cincinnati, OH – Brandon Phillips homered, drove in a pair of runs and possibly saved several others with a sensational play in the field as the Cincinnati Reds opened their three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers with a 4-3 victory at Great American Ball Park.
Zack Cozart and Jay Bruce each drove in a run for the Reds, who were coming off a series loss to the Braves but have still won five of their last seven games.
Alfredo Simon (3-1) threw two scoreless innings to highlight a strong relief effort behind Tony Cingrani, who needed 85 pitches to get through four frames. The rookie lefty gave up five hits and two runs -- both on homers by Jean Segura and Ryan Braun in the fourth inning.
Yovani Gallardo (3-2) also labored through his four-inning start and was charged with three runs on five hits and five walks to take the loss.
"Throwing (100) pitches in four innings is not what he normally does. I know he's not a guy who is going to go nine innings and throw 80 pitches, but it is still unusual to do that," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of his starter.
The Brewers opened their 10-game road trip with their seventh loss in eight games. They went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight.
Braun came up in a big spot in the seventh with one out, runners on first and second and the Brewers trailing by one. Phillips and Cozart converged on Braun's dribbler up the middle and nearly collided before Phillips stepped in front and barehanded the ball while going to the ground. He tagged second base with his left knee and in one motion threw a one-hopper to first that Joey Votto scooped to double-up Braun for the final out.
Phillips came up second in the bottom half of the inning and hit a no-doubter to left field on the first pitch he saw for a 4-2 lead.
"I was sitting on something off-speed because I knew Jay Bruce was hitting behind me, and he wouldn't want to throw me anything hard. I just tried to get the head out and get a hit. It felt good," Phillips said of his homer.
The insurance run proved vital after Aroldis Chapman's wild pitch allowed Norichika Aoki to score in the ninth. Chapman battled back and struck out Segura to secure his eighth save of the season.
In the third, Shin-Soo Choo worked a leadoff walk, stole second with two outs and scored when Phillips punched a payoff pitch into left field for a single. Bruce followed with a line drive to right field that went off the heel of Aoki's glove as he tracked it down just before the wall.
Phillips scored without a throw for a 2-0 Reds lead that quickly got erased when Segura and Braun cracked back-to-back homers to start the fourth. Segura sent a 90 m.p.h. fastball into the right-field seats, and on the next pitch Braun did the same for his eighth homer of the season.
The Reds went ahead again with a run in the fourth as Donald Lutz, pinch- hitting for Cingrani, reached on a single, stole second and scored on Cozart's looping base hit to right.
Simon stranded a pair in the fifth, Sam LeCure tossed a scoreless seventh thanks to Phillips' highlight-reel play and Jonathan Broxton worked around a leadoff walk in the eighth.
The Reds improved to 14-6 at Great American Ball Park despite leaving 13 runners on base ... Braun extended his hitting streak to 11 games ... Gallardo, who had won his previous three decisions, threw only 53 of his 100 pitches for strikes ... Game time: 3:49.