PHILADELPHIA -- Domingo Santana led off the eighth inning with a tiebreaking home run and Scooter Gennett delivered insurance in the ninth, as the Brewers overcame an early deficit to beat the Phillies, 6-3, on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.
Playing his second game back from a two-week stint on the disabled list for a sore right shoulder, Santana finished 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and his first home run since May 1. The go-ahead homer came against Phillies reliever Hector Neris, who had just entered a 3-3 tie.
"He's an offensive player, for sure," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Santana, "and he's obviously got some slug in his offense, too. He does make a difference, certainly."
Jonathan Villar and Jonathan Lucroy each had three hits for the Brewers, including Villar leading off the game with a home run, his third long ball in as many games in this series. But the Phillies pushed ahead with two home runs off Brewers starter Junior Guerra during a three-run second inning before the Brewers mounted their comeback, tying it with a run each in the fourth and fifth against starter Jeremy Hellickson.
Will Smith, Tyler Thornburg and Jeremy Jeffress pitched the final three innings for Milwaukee on 30 total pitches, Smith earning the win in his second outing off the disabled list and Jeffress his 15th save in 16 chances. The Brewers have won eight of their last 12 games overall, and 11 of their last 13 games in Philadelphia.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Scooter snaps slump: Gennett was 0-for-4 in the game, 2-for-11 so far in the series and 7-for-42 (.167) over his last dozen games, before he connected with two outs against the Phillies' Andrew Bailey in the ninth. Gennett's two-run single to center field opened a more comfortable, three-run lead for closer Jeffress, who has yet to surrender a run on the road this season in 11 innings.
"The hit is 'whatever,' but being able to tack on a couple of runs in that situation, that's awesome," Gennett said. "That's my job. … All the personal stuff goes aside. It's all about the team and getting the job done."
Homer happy: For the first time this season, the Phillies hit two home runs in the same inning. Tommy Joseph led off the second with a blast to center field. Tyler Goeddel followed with a triple, and then Cesar Hernandez went yard. The long ball accounted for all three Phillies runs. For Hernandez, it was his first home run in 501 at-bats -- since May 30, 2015. Joseph, meanwhile, has four since being called up. The Phillies' 45 home runs on the season are the second-fewest in baseball, but they're still 23 more than what the last-place Braves have.
"After that second inning, I thought we were going to have a good day offensively," manager Pete Mackanin said. "Boy, I couldn't believe Cesar hit that home run to dead center. That's why I thought we were going to be in for a good day. The ball was really carrying."
Villar the world: When the Brewers traded starting shortstop Jean Segura in January, Villar looked like a stopgap at the position while top prospect Orlando Arcia finished his seasoning at Triple-A Colorado Springs. A few months later, Villar is looking more and more like an All-Star. He had three hits and two RBIs by the fourth inning Saturday, and became the first Major Leaguer to reach 20 stolen bases.
Neris stumbles again: Neris, for the second time in four appearances, allowed the go-ahead run. He entered a tie game in the eighth, but Santana almost immediately changed the score, homering to lead off the inning and giving the Brewers a 4-3 lead. Neris had pitched two scoreless innings since allowing three runs to the Nationals on Monday, though he walked two in Friday's game. He's now allowed as many runs in his last four games as he had in 26 prior, raising his season ERA to 2.27.
"He just doesn't look the same," Mackanin said. "He looks a little bit more tentative. I don't know why that is. Hitters go through slumps and so do pitchers at times. I'm not worried about him; I just wonder why he's taking more time between pitches."
"What's been a common theme with Junior is he's gotten better as his starts have gone on. He scuffled a little bit in that second inning, but he put up four zeros after that, which is pretty darn good." -- Counsell on Guerra, who has completed at least six innings in six of his seven starts and took a no-decision Saturday after allowing three runs in six innings
MILESTONE ON DECK FOR BRAUN Ryan Braun singled in his first at-bat Saturday, leaving him one hit shy of becoming the fifth man to reach 1,500 hits in a Brewers uniform. But Braun went hitless in four subsequent at-bats, delaying his bid to join Robin Yount, Cecil Cooper, Paul Molitor and Jim Gantner at that franchise milestone. Only Cooper (1,191 games) and Molitor (1,233 games) got there quicker than Braun, who has played 1,265 games in his career.
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers: Struggling Opening Day starter Wily Peralta will be back on the mound Sunday, when the teams, weather permitting, will finish their series beginning at 12:35 p.m. CT. Peralta's results were marginally better in May, but he's still grinding for every out, averaging 18.4 pitches per inning of work in his past six starts.
Phillies:Aaron Nola (4-4, 2.88) starts for the Phillies in the series finale at 1:35 p.m. ET. Last time he faced the Brewers, Nola went seven innings, allowing just one run and striking out seven. While that ranks near the top of his outings this season, Nola has been remarkably consistent, going at least six innings in 10 of his 11 starts and recording a quality start in nine of them.