CINCINNATI (AP) - A misplaced slider. A hanging changeup. Two bad pitches left the Brewers with yet another stunning finish in Cincinnati.
Jay Bruce and Joey Votto hit two-run homers during Cincinnati's late comeback, and closer Francisco Cordero took advantage of the unexpected opportunity to get his 300th career save and a 4-3 win Wednesday night.
Until the seventh, it looked like the Brewers were headed for a new high point. They were on the verge of moving six games over .500 for the first time in two years.
Just like that, it got away.
Shaun Marcum lost his shutout bid in the seventh when Bruce hit his 17th homer, a two-run shot that cut it to 3-2. The changeup was the only blemish on an impressive game - seven innings, five hits, no walks, seven strikeouts.
``It was a mistake pitch,' Marcum said. ``If it's located (properly), he probably doesn't hit it out of the ballpark.'
Bruce's homer extended his May tear into a new month. The outfielder has 13 homers and 35 RBIs in May and now June.
Nick Masset (1-3) pitched out of a threat in the eighth, giving the Reds a chance for their 15th come-from-behind win. They pulled it off against Kameron Loe (2-5), who retired the first two batters before grazing Brandon Phillips' arm with a fastball.
``I'm (mad) at myself for hitting Phillips,' Loe said. ``I can get a ground ball out of him every time, I feel. Against Votto, I got one up. I pretty much threw the sinker too hard and it stayed up.'
Votto had only one homer in May, but hit the hanging slider high off the batter's eye in center for a 4-3 lead that gave Cordero his shot at No. 300.
``Votto is always hot,' manager Ron Roenicke said. ``Bruce has been unbelievable for the last month. If you make a mistake to either one of them, they'll hit it.'
For the Brewers, it was just another stunning loss in the ballpark where they've had so many. They wound up losing for the 13th time in their last 15 games at Great American Ball Park.
In several ways, it reminded Milwaukee of opening day.
Just like the opener, Rickie Weeks led it off with a homer, this time off Mike Leake. It was his third leadoff homer against the Reds this season.
And, just like opening day, the lead got away in the Reds' final at-bat.
Cordero, who also pitched for Detroit, Texas and Milwaukee, retired the three batters in the ninth, getting Craig Counsell on a called third strike to end it. He raised his arms and threw back his head in celebration - only the 22nd pitcher to get 300 saves.
``That's a big number,' Cordero said. ``I don't know what to say. I'm just so excited. I'm really happy. I'm just glad I could get it out of the way. Now I can focus on getting saves and helping us get to the playoffs.'
Cordero tied Bruce Sutter with 300 saves and improved to 10 for 12 this season. He has 123 saves in four seasons with the Reds, leaving him third in club history behind Danny Graves (182) and John Franco (148).
NOTES: Both teams gave their slumping third basemen a day out of the starting lineup. Milwaukee's Casey McGehee is in a 3-for-23 slump. Cincinnati's Scott Rolen is 2 for 16. Rolen got into the game in the eighth inning as part of a double switch. ... It was Weeks' 24th career leadoff homer, trailing Paul Molitor's 33 on the Brewers list. ... The Reds have given up four leadoff homers this season. ... An indication of how much Bruce has carried the Reds' offense lately: He has seven of their last eight homers and nine of their last 11. ... Reds leadoff hitter Drew Stubbs struck out three times for the second straight game. He leads the NL with 73 strikeouts.
The Associated Press News Service
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