MILWAUKEE (AP) - Nyjer Morgan and the Milwaukee Brewers had the Cincinnati Reds right where they wanted them in the ninth. Instead, they squandered the opportunity.
Morgan failed to get down a bunt in a key situation and Jay Bruce sparked Cincinnati's five-run 10th inning with a leadoff homer, helping the Reds beat the Brewers 8-4 on Saturday night.
``I have to keep my head up. I was a little frustrated there that I didn't get the job done,' Morgan said. ``I was hoping my boys behind me were going to pick me up and we were going to win it right there. But it was just one of those things where the kid didn't get the bunt down and, you know. It was just that one run.'
Milwaukee had won three straight, including two one-run decisions against the Reds.
The Brewers had a great chance to post another dramatic victory in the ninth inning. Logan Ondrusek gave up a leadoff single to Rickie Weeks before leaving for Bill Bray.
Bray (2-1) immediately threw errantly to first, allowing Weeks to advance to second. Morgan then struck out on a sacrifice attempt after it rolled foul, slamming his helmet in the dugout in frustration.
``He's a pretty good bunter. They were tough pitches to bunt,' Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ``First two were tough pitches to bunt as they were down and out. (The third pitch) was a breaking ball down and away and he wanted to make sure he pulled it to make it fair and he pulled it too much.'
Corey Hart followed with a fly ball that would've been plenty for a sacrifice fly, but instead only moved Weeks to third.
After Bray walked Prince Fielder, he got Mark Kotsay, Friday night's hero, to pop out harmlessly.
``I guarantee you that Morgan is going to be successful more times than not with that bunt,' catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. ``It's a team loss. I'm just as guilty as he is. I could have hit a home run each time I was up.'
Milwaukee fell back into a tie with St. Louis in the NL Central, a game ahead of Pittsburgh and three games up on Cincinnati.
Bruce hit a towering drive to right against Marco Estrada (2-6), and the Reds tacked on four more runs while sending 10 men to the plate.
Scott Rolen doubled after Bruce's 21st homer and moved to third on Edgar Renteria's sacrifice. Ramon Hernandez then hit an RBI single, and Miguel Cairo, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips each drove in a run later in the inning.
For the third straight game, the teams swapped leads back-and-forth in the early innings.
Milwaukee went up 2-0 in the first on singles by Hart and Kotsay. The Reds took a 3-2 lead in the second on Fred Lewis' double and Hernandez's two-run homer to straightaway center field. Milwaukee tied it in the bottom of the second on Shaun Marcum's suicide squeeze. That's the way it stayed until the 10th.
``We battled all night and we got good pitching,' Morgan said. ``Everyone hung tight. We just got the wrong side of the coin right there.'
NOTES: The teams wore replica uniforms as part of Milwaukee's sixth annual Negro Leagues tribute with the Brewers representing the 1923 Milwaukee Bears and the Reds honoring the 1936-37 Cincinnati Tigers. ... Kotsay has an eight-game hitting streak. ... Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun missed his seventh straight game with a strained left calf and will skip the All-Star game on Tuesday. He likely will only be available in an emergency role in Sunday's finale. ... Hart has reached base in eight straight plate appearances with six hits, an error and a fielder's choice.
The Associated Press News Service
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