CINCINNATI -- Ryan Braun belted career home run No. 299 and Orlando Arcia also went deep in the seventh as the Brewers erased a four-run deficit, but Billy Hamilton and the Reds struck back.
Hamilton's homer off Brewers rookie reliever Josh Hader with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Reds a 5-4 win over the Brewers on Monday at Great American Ball Park. Braun turned and watched the baseball fly into the left-field seats, dropping the Brewers 1 1/2 games behind the Rockies in the chase for the National League's second Wild Card following Colorado's 4-3 win over the Giants.
The Brewers also remained 3 1/2 games behind the Cubs, who lost 12-0 to the Pirates.
For Hamilton -- who has four homers this season and 17 in the big leagues since 2013 -- it was the first walk-off home run of his career. Characteristic of his speed, he sprinted around the bases in 16.19 seconds according to Statcast™ -- the third-fastest fence-clearing roundtripper in the Majors this season behind two from former Red Adam Rosales. His top sprint speed was 29.9 feet-per-second.
"I was going to get a home run if it landed in play anyway," Hamilton said. "That's what the goal was, to hit it off the wall and get an inside-the-park homer. That's why I was running so fast. I really wasn't thinking about it going out. I had to get on my horse, but it ended up going out for me."
"[Hamilton] is certainly not known for that, but he put a good swing on it and that's what happened," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Anybody is capable of it, especially in this ballpark."
It was Labor Day and that's just what Brewers starter Chase Anderson did, walking Joey Votto with the bases loaded in the third inning and Eugenio Suarez in the sixth before Tucker Barnhart's two-run double in a 3-0 count gave the Reds a 4-0 lead. Anderson had faced 22 previous plate appearances with the bases loaded and had never walked in a run prior to Monday.
"My only thought there was [to] try to get it to the outfield," Barnhart said of hitting a drive to the wall vs. Anderson. "It wasn't [to] get a hit, it wasn't [to] hit a homer, it wasn't [to] try to drive anybody in. It was just get it to the outfield."
Those runs backed Reds starter Homer Bailey, who cruised into the seventh inning before Braun spoiled his shutout bid and sparked the Brewers' tying rally with a solo home run, his first since Aug. 12 and No. 299 in his career. With his 25th home run at Great American Ball Park, Braun extended his record for a visitor here.
Orlando magic: Arcia was in a 5-for-46 (.109) funk spanning parts of 18 games before he connected with a first-pitch hanging slider from Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen with two outs in the seventh for a three-run home run that completed the Brewers' comeback from four runs down at the start of the frame. The homer came after a mound visit from Reds pitching coach Mack Jenkins.
"I was going out there looking for [an offspeed pitch]," Arcia said. "I wasn't looking fastball. I was looking for offspeed up in the zone that I could do something with. Thankfully, I got it."
Working the count: Bailey is no slouch at the plate -- he batted .282 in 2011 -- but he's no Pete Rose, either. So it was notable when Bailey worked Anderson for a 10-pitch at-bat in the third inning that ended with a line-drive single right over the mound. The inning got worse for the Brewers when Arcia booted Hamilton's bouncer and Anderson walked the next two batters, including Votto with the bases loaded after falling behind in the count, 3-0. It stood as the game's only run into the sixth.
"I was like one pitch away from really giving them no runs. The two walks [with the bases loaded] got me," said Anderson, who was charged with four runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings in his fourth start off a stint on the disabled list. "I'm still kind of building back to where I want to be."
"Of all people, Billy Hamilton hit a home run from the right side with two outs to walk 'em off. It was kind of an out-of-nowhere shot, not that he doesn't have the power to do it. But you kind of hope, he gets on and steals a base and [Zack Cozart] drives him in. That was sensational." -- Reds manager Bryan Price on Hamilton's rare long ball.
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• Braun is racing the Mariners' Robinson Cano to 300 homers. Cano also has 299, and whoever gets there first will be the 145th player in Major League history to reach that milestone -- and the fourth this season. Nelson Cruz, Curtis Granderson and Matt Holliday all have hit No. 300 in 2017.
• When Votto struck out in the first inning vs. Anderson, it was his first time striking out since it happened twice on Aug. 26 vs. the Pirates. Thus ended a streak of 31 plate appearances without a strikeout, the longest active streak in the Majors and Votto's second-longest of the season.
Only the Marlins (107 runs) have scored more first-inning runs this season than the Brewers (99), but Hamilton and the Reds denied Milwaukee. After Neil Walker doubled and held at third on Braun's single to right field, he tried to tag and score on Travis Shaw's medium flyout to center field. Hamilton did not make a particularly strong throw home, but it two-hopped to the plate right on target, and the slow-footed Walker was out. It was the Reds' MLB-leading 36th outfield assist and Hamilton's 12th, second in the Majors to teammate Adam Duvall's 13. Walker was bloodied from the play at home plate, but remained in the game.
"Saving a run was better for me," Hamilton said. "I come out here every day trying to beat Duvall throwing guys out. He's still one up on me. I'd rather throw a guy out like that than hit a game-winning homer. But I'll take both of them."
"To Billy's credit, I didn't even think we'd get a play at the plate, to be honest with you, as deep as it was," Barnhart said. "He put it right on the money. He had to. That's all you can ask for if you're trying to tag a guy out at a base."
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers: Road warrior Zach Davies takes the mound as the series continues on Tuesday at 6:10 p.m. CT. Davies has a 2.13 ERA in his 14 starts away from Miller Park, and lately he's been effective everywhere -- going 9-3 with a 2.43 ERA over his last 13 games.
Reds:Robert Stephenson will try to maintain a run of strong starting pitching for the Reds when the series continues at 7:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Stephenson has been on a nice stretch of his own lately. He was 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in four starts and one relief appearance in August.