MILWAUKEE (AP) - After being shuttled between the major and minor leagues this season, Sean Halton took advantage of a late-season opportunity for some playing time with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Halton blasted a game-ending home run, the first of his big league career, to lift the Brewers to a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
``As a kid growing up, I wanted to be a baseball player and a major leaguer. That's the top of the mountain,' Halton said. ``Nothing even comes close to this one, that's for sure. Especially off a team that is playing well and in the hunt. We've been playing that spoiler role lately.'
Halton's home run with one out in the ninth came off reliever Zach Duke (1-2), the fifth Cincinnati pitcher. It was Halton's third homer of the season.
Halton's big blow came after Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez made a game-saving catch on a deep drive by Jay Bruce with two runners on base and two outs in the top of the ninth. Gomez extended over the center field fence to take away a home run from Bruce.
``(Gomez) makes a great play, again. We had great energy coming into the dugout after that play and it carried over to the offensive side,' Halton said.
Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker was quick to point out that Gomez took away a potential home run when the Reds last visited Milwaukee.
``Same thing happened to us last time we came in. Gomez robbed us of a potential game-winning home run,' Baker said. ``I thought Jay got that ball.'
Gomez also threw out Brandon Phillips at third base earlier in the game.
``I'm expecting (Bruce) to hit the ball to center field or the gap because he's an aggressive hitter and I moved a few steps to the right side and I could follow the ball all the way through and get close to the fence,' Gomez said.
Jean Segura sparked an eighth-inning rally with a two-run triple after Reds relievers walked the first two batters. Jonathan Lucroy followed with a sacrifice fly to tie it.
Jim Henderson (4-5) pitched a scoreless inning in relief to pick up the win.
The Brewers survived a shaky outing by starter Yovani Gallardo, who was tagged for five runs on seven hits over six innings. He walked three and struck out five.
Gallardo labored through a 39-pitch inning first inning.
``I had no clue where the ball was going. You never want to go out there feeling that way,' Gallardo said.
Reds starter Bronson Arroyo surrendered two runs on three hits over 6 1-3 innings. He walked four, struck out one and didn't give up a hit until Segura singled leading off the fourth.
Arroyo got into a bit of trouble in the seventh, walking the first two batters before retiring Caleb Gindl on a fly ball.
He departed after issuing his third walk of the inning. The Brewers then scored a run on a fielder's choice, but Cincinnati reliever Sam LeCure retired Jeff Bianchi on a groundout to end the threat.
``I pitched great through six, we had some good defensive plays to keep us in it and I just kind of opened up a can of worms,' said Arroyo, who also hit a batter and was called for a balk.
Phillips had a run-scoring single, Ryan Ludwick drew a bases-loaded walk and Zach Cozart delivered a sacrifice fly to help the Reds jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first.
Todd Frazier's RBI single with two outs in the third extended Cincinnati's lead to 4-0.
Gindl's leadoff homer in the fifth gave Milwaukee its first run of the game, cutting the lead to 4-1.
Frazier's homer leading off the sixth pushed the Reds' advantage back to four.
The loss dealt a blow to Reds' pursuit of the NL Central title, although the team still has a hold on one of the wild-card spots.
``We can still finish strong, but that is not going to take away the sting we feel today,' Baker said. ``This does hurt. It really hurts.'
NOTES: Reds RHP Johnny Cueto, who hasn't pitched since June 28 due to an injured back muscle, is scheduled to start Monday against Houston. ... Arroyo reached 30 starts for the ninth consecutive season, an active streak bettered only by Toronto's Mark Buehrle, who has done it 13 years in a row.
The Associated Press News Service
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