CINCINNATI -- Ryan Braun, Hernan Perez and Jonathan Lucroy homered as the Brewers came from behind to beat the Reds for the second straight day, the latest a rain-delayed, 5-4 win on Mother's Day at Great American Ball Park that featured a thrilling finish.
The Reds took a 4-1 lead after four innings, but the Brewers chipped away with a run apiece in every inning from the fifth through the eighth. Lucroy drove in two of those runs, first with a well-placed double in the sixth inning, then with a booming home run off Reds reliever Ross Ohlendorf in the eighth that gave the Brewers the lead.
In the ninth, Lucroy helped Jeremy Jeffress close the game by throwing out speedy pinch-runner Billy Hamilton trying to steal second base for the game's final out. The play was reviewed by the umpires and stood as called.
"We got down the last two games early, but our offense kept battling back, kept inching us closer," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. " And the bullpen did a really nice job again."
Brewers center fielder Ramon Flores made a diving catch for the second out of the ninth inning before Lucroy ended it by retiring Hamilton. Jeffress improved to 8-for-8 in save chances and Milwaukee earned a four-game series split.
"We called up, and they said there's a chance it could be overturned, but we weren't conclusive either," said Reds manager Bryan Price about the decision to challenge the call. "It has to be conclusive to get the call overturned. The replay served its purpose. It was inconclusive. We didn't have enough information in order to overturn the play."
The Reds, who got an RBI apiece from four different players, including Adam Duvall's solo home run in the fourth inning off Brewers starter Junior Guerra, were trying to cover the final five innings with relief pitchers after starter John Lamb left the game with a sprained left thumb at the start of the fifth.
The start of Sunday's finale was delayed one hour and 55 minutes by rain.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Lucroy starting to slug: Lucroy finished a triple shy of the cycle, with a single in the first inning, an RBI double in the sixth and his go-ahead home run in the eighth. After playing 21 games in April with five extra-base hits and no home runs, Lucroy has five extra base hits including three home runs in his first seven games of May. They included his fortuitous double in the sixth inning, which rolled right over third base to score Braun, who had also doubled for the second of his two hits.
"Those numbers will be there in the end if you stay where you're supposed to be at," Lucroy said. More >
Make it count:Tyler Holt started for just the fifth time this season but made his presence known quickly. He delivered the Reds' first hit of the game with an RBI triple in the third inning. He scored one batter later on Ivan De Jesus Jr.'s double. Holt also recorded five putouts defensively, including a running grab against the wall in left-center field of a drive by Jonathan Villar in the top of the third.
Worth the wait: The day's longest at-bat, by time if not by pitches, belonged to Perez, who was in a 2-2 count leading off the fifth before Lamb drew a visit from the Reds' athletic trainer. Perez returned to the on-deck circle and waited, first while Lamb lobbied to remain in the game, then while reliever Steve Delabar warmed up. When play resumed, Perez fouled off Delabar's first two offerings before hitting the third for a home run that cut Milwaukee's deficit to 4-2.
"It's just a tough situation to be in, to start with two strikes on a new pitcher," Counsell said. "From the get-go, you're under fire." More >
Bad timing: Lamb's departure from the game was due to a sprained left thumb. He injured the thumb when it got jammed during an at-bat in the fourth inning. Lamb grounded into a force play to end the inning. He was hopeful of continuing in the game but had trouble gripping the baseball. After giving up a solo home run to Braun and a double to Lucroy in the first inning, Lamb retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced, with only a walk to Braun leading off the fourth inning interrupting the streak. More >
"We just have to be a way better pitching staff, or this is what you have. You end up having to go to an eight-man bullpen, because we don't get enough from the starters. Last year it was rain delays or extra innings. Right now we're just not getting the length from the starters, and we're not getting the quality from the bullpen." -- Price, on the continued struggles of his pitching staff
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Braun's home run was his 20th at Great American Ball Park, matching Albert Pujols for second-most by a Reds opponent since the stadium opened in 2003. Lance Berkman holds the record for a visitor, with 23 home runs here. Including games at Miller Park, Braun has 32 home runs against the Reds, most of any Cincinnati opponent since Braun's Major League debut in 2007. The Pirates' Andrew McCutchen is second with 25 homers against the Reds.
The one-hour, 55-minute rain delay to begin the game was the first weather delay of the season for the Reds. Last season they endured 24 weather delays, totaling 32:56, and leading to five postponements and two suspended games. Of those games, 18 came at home, totaling 26:57. It was the highest total at home since the Reds began tracking weather delays in 1978.
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers:Wily Peralta returns from paternity leave Monday to face Jose Fernandez and the Marlins in the opener of a three-game series in Miami at 6:10 p.m. CT. Peralta surrendered a career-high 13 hits against the Marlins in his most recent start, but won thanks a a 14-run, 18-hit Brewers outburst. Fernandez is 19-1 at Marlins Park.
Reds: Pittsburgh comes to town for the second time this season in the opener of a three-game series on Monday at 7:10 p.m. at Great American Ball Park. Dan Straily makes his second start of the season against the Pirates and his third appearance. He pitched three shutout innings in relief during a 2-1 Reds win on April 10. He gave up two runs in six innings on April 29, taking the loss in a 4-1 defeat at PNC Park.