Brewers Fall To Reds

Brandon Phillips drove in three runs and Adam Dunn hit his 39th homer to lead the Cincinnati Reds to their fourth straight victory, 6-5 over Milwaukee on Friday night in another setback for the Brewers' postseason hopes.

Prince Fielder hit his NL-leading 45th home run in the fourth to tie the Brewers' franchise record held by Richie Sexson (2001, '03) and Gorman Thomas (1979), but Milwaukee came up a run short with a ninth-inning rally.

The Brewers fell 1 1/2 games behind first-place Chicago in the NL Central. The Cubs beat St. Louis 5-3 on Friday.

Milwaukee, which has the best home winning percentage in the NL, hoped to take advantage of a three-game homestand with ace Ben Sheets starting and the Reds' top two hurlers -- Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo -- not scheduled to pitch in the series.

But Sheets (12-5) allowed four runs in the first inning.

After a single, a walk and a double steal, Phillips hit a two-run single to bring up Dunn.

Dunn came in batting .161 without an RBI in 31 at-bats against the right-hander, but he reached out and hit a low pitch down the right field line to make it 4-0.

Cincinnati, starting a 10-game road trip, added another run in the second on a sacrifice fly by Phillips to make it 5-0.

Bill Bray of the Reds worked the ninth for his first save of the season but he allowed the Brewers to get within 6-5.

With two outs, Corey Hart bunted and Bray couldn't come up with it quick enough for a single. Pinch-hitter Mike Rivera followed with his second of the year to make it 6-5, but Bray got Kevin Mench on a foul pop to end it.

Tom Shearn, the Reds' 30-year-old rookie, effectively used his four pitches -- highlighted by a 68 mph curveball -- to strike out four over 6 2/3 innings and become the first Reds right-handed starter to begin his career 3-0 since Santo Alcala and Pat Zachry in 1976.

While his fastball wasn't as slow as the 37 mph it once registered on the scoreboard, Shearn (3-0) was able to stay out of trouble until a leadoff double by Rickie Weeks in the fourth and Fielder's 425-foot shot to center.

Milwaukee added a run in the seventh on Johnny Estrada's RBI single that chased Shearn, who allowed four hits and walked one. The Reds made it 6-3 in the eighth on Edwin Encarnacion's sacrifice fly.

Sheets, who had been 2-0 in three starts after missing 1 1/2 months with a sprained right middle finger, struggled with his curveball and was pulled for a pinch hitter in the third.

He gave up five runs and six hits, walked two and struck out three.

Phillips likely cost the Reds a run or two in the fifth.

With Ken Griffey Jr. on first, Phillips thought he had hit his 30th homer of the season to join Alfonso Soriano as the only second basemen in the 30-30 club.

But the ball hit the wall and Phillips, who didn't run hard out of the batter's box, tried too late to stretch it into a double.

Phillips was easily thrown out at second, leaving Griffey on third with one out and the Reds failed to score.


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