After a rough six-week stretch, the Milwaukee Brewers have regained their winning edge.
Prince Fielder homered and scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning and Rickie Weeks tripled to drive in Craig Counsell with the go-ahead run in the ninth inning as the Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 Saturday night to remain tied for first place in the NL Central.
"To come back like that, it's a good feeling," Fielder said. "It's good to get the excitement back."
Counsell led off against David Weathers (2-5) with a single and moved to second on Mike Rivera's sacrifice, setting up Weeks' RBI triple to the right-center field gap, his third hit of the game.
The Brewers, who trailed 3-0, have won six of their last eight after going 13-27 from July 18 to Aug. 30.
"When you're battling for a championship like they are, you know how to scratch out runs when you need them," said Weathers, who pitched for the 1996 Yankees team that won the World Series. "People said they were dead in the water and were falling apart. Well, they're starting to putting it back together."
Milwaukee remained tied in the Central with the Chicago Cubs, who beat Pittsburgh 5-1. St. Louis, which played at West-leading Arizona later, began the day one game back.
Derrick Turnbow (4-4) pitched a perfect eighth to get the win. Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth to extend his single-season club record for saves to 41 in 47 opportunities.
Jeff Suppan, whose 7-4 victory over Pittsburgh last Sunday at Milwaukee snapped a streak of 12 consecutive starts without a win, allowed just three hits and three runs with a walk and four strikeouts in six innings. He is 1-4 in 14 starts since beating Kansas City on June 22.
"Suppan shut us down," Reds manager Pete Mackanin said. "When you get four hits, you're not going to win many games. We couldn't solve him. We couldn't get anything going. That gives the other team a chance to get back in it, and that's what happened."
Aaron Harang, who allowed 10 hits and six runs in 5 2/3 innings while losing his last start Monday against the Mets, bounced back to allow seven hits and two runs with two walks and seven strikeouts. He left with a 3-2 lead.
"They took full advantage when they needed to to squeak this one out," said Harang, who is 8-1 against Central Division teams this season. "That's why they're in first place. They're able to take advantage of situations and capitalize on them. They're a scrappy team. They have been all season. They scratch and claw their way back into games."
Joey Votto gave Cincinnati a 3-0 lead in the second inning when he followed Adam Dunn's one-out walk and Edwin Encarnacion's single up the middle with his second homer in Cincinnati's last three games and second of his career.
The Brewers couldn't capitalize on a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity in the fourth. Geoff Jenkins struck out swinging and Damian Miller flied out to right fielder Ken Griffey Jr.
They pushed across a run in the fifth when Suppan singled with one out, moved to third on Weeks' single to right-center and scored on Gabe Gross' groundout to second.
Fielder cut the Reds lead to 3-2 by leading off the fifth with his second homer in two games and NL-leading 43rd of the season. He scored the tying run in the eighth after drawing a one-out walk from Jared Burton, moving to third on Bill Hall's double and scoring on Jenkins' sacrifice fly to Griffey, whose throw from medium right field took catcher David Ross up the third base line.
"He had to go," manager Ned Yost said. "[Fielder's] a very good athlete. There's no doubt he should have scored there."