MILWAUKEE -- A rejuvenated Wily Peralta didn't need much run support, but Ryan Braun provided more than enough with six RBIs as the Brewers avoided a sweep by beating the Reds, 7-3, on Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.
Peralta, making his second start since returning to Milwaukee following a mid-June demotion to the Minors, lit up the radar gun by throwing in the upper 90s and worked through the Reds' order for six innings, allowing four hits and one run while striking out five. Over his last two starts, Peralta has given up three runs and eight hits over 12 innings.
"It feels great," Peralta said. "I think I'm in good shape right now. My mechanics have been pretty good. That's one of the reasons my velocity has been there, has been up in my last few starts. Just being consistent in my delivery, that's all."
It was a different story for Cody Reed, Cincinnati's rookie left-hander, who gave up six runs and remained winless in his big league career. Reed failed to record an out in the second, exiting once he allowed a 450-foot three-run homer to Braun. The Brewers' left fielder lined another long ball his next time up to notch his fourth multi-homer game of the season after he opened the scoring with a two-run double in the first.
"I could tell when I started warming up today, just a little off, a little sluggish," said Reed, who is 0-7 with a 7.36 ERA in 10 big league starts. "But I've obviously still got to make pitches no matter how you feel, and I didn't really do that again."
The Reds trailed 7-0 after four innings and scored all three runs courtesy of Joey Votto, who went a robust 8-for-13 at the plate with four extra-base hits in the series.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Tip of the spear: With everyday leadoff hitter Jonathan Villar getting the day off, the top of the Brewers' lineup didn't miss a beat, as the first three batters scored all seven of the team's runs. Keon Broxton and Orlando Arcia led off with walks in the first, stole a combined three bases and scored on Braun's double. In the second, Broxton led off the inning once again after Milwaukee batted around in the first and lined a double. Arcia followed with a masterful bunt single and both were able to watch from the bases as Braun demolished a first-pitch slider from Reed off the Miller Park scoreboard.
"I thought what set the tone [was] Broxton and Arcia both worked the counts for walks after going 0-2 [in the first inning]," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "That was great to see. Just getting on base and putting stress on their guy to face a hot, really good hitter. That was the difference today."
Superb long relief: After Reed was pulled without notching an out in the second inning, Keyvius Sampson gave the Reds five innings of relief with one run allowed on Braun's solo homer. Sampson, who struck out four batters, retired his final seven in a row following a two-out walk in the fourth.Had Sampson had a shorter outing, Reds manager Bryan Price noted the club might have needed to call-up reinforcements for the bullpen to get through the next series. That shouldn't be needed now.
"He saved us," Price said. "He was very efficient. Five innings, gave up a solo homer and that was about it. That was the type of boost we needed from Keyvius, and I'm happy that he pitched so well."
Wily gets wily: The Reds threatened to jump ahead in the first until the Milwaukee right-hander foiled those plans twice. Billy Hamilton led off with a double off Broxton's glove in center and advanced to third on Votto's one-out tapper to the mound. Peralta caught Hamilton too far off the base and fired to third, leaving Hamilton out to dry. Votto moved into scoring position as Hamilton was caught in a rundown, but he was promptly picked off by Peralta to end the threat. The next time the Reds came to bat, they trailed, 3-0.
"He's pretty fast, so you have to be careful with him," Peralta said. "... It's big any way that you get an out. It doesn't matter if the catcher picks him off or somebody else. But when you get those two outs quickly, it takes you out of a jam right away."
Votto provides Reds runs: Cincinnati trailed, 7-0, in the sixth when Hamilton collected his third hit of the game with a single. Two batters later with two outs against Peralta, Votto blooped a fly ball to left field where three Brewers converged before it dropped between them. Running all the way from first base, Hamilton was able to score standing up as Votto reached second base with a double. In his next at-bat in the eighth against Carlos Torres, Votto hit a two-run homer to right field -- his 19th of the season.The two hits raised his batting average to a season-high .303.
"It's remarkable to watch, it really is," Price said of Votto's prolific second half. To go from 0-for-2 to start the game and then a soft double and two-run homer, and he ends up having an impactful game for us."
"Over the last couple weeks, I've swung the bat pretty well, and the pitches that I have gotten to hit, I haven't missed many of them." -- Braun, who is batting .381 with nine homers and 21 RBIs since the All-Star break.
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• Braun became the third Brewer in history to record two games with at least 6 RBIs in a season -- and did so within a nine-day span. He hit two homers and tied a career high by driving in seven on Aug. 7. The other two players accomplish the feat were Geoff Jenkins in 2001 and Jonathan Lucroy in 2012.
• Votto's homer snapped a 15-game, 60 at-bat streak without a home run since July 26 at San Francisco. It was his longest stretch without a homer this season.
WHAT'S NEXT Reds: A 10-game homestand opens Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET with the first of four games vs. the Marlins at Great American Ball Park. Brandon Finnegan will get the ball and will seek his fourth straight quality start. Miami will not have Giancarlo Stanton, who went on the disabled list Sunday and will miss the rest of the season with a groin injury .
Brewers: After an off-day on Monday, the Crew opens a four-game series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field with a doubleheader on Tuesday. Matt Garza will take the mound for the first game, which begins at 12:20 p.m. CT. The nightcap begins at 7:05 p.m., with Chase Anderson on the hill.