Villar, Lucroy spark Brewers in 5-4 win over reeling Reds
MILWAUKEE (AP) Jonathan Lucroy came through when needed all weekend long for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Lucroy drove in three runs and the Brewers earned a 5-4 victory over the reeling Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
''I've been swinging at bad pitches. I'm just trying to have good approaches. It's a mental thing, really,'' said Lucroy, who finished the series with nine RBIs.
Leadoff hitter Jonathan Villar scored three runs and drove in another and Milwaukee won for the fifth time in six games.
''He's doing a lot of everything right now,'' Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson (5-3) struggled early, but settled down to allow two runs and six hits and two walks in 7 1-3 innings.
Jay Bruce homered for Cincinnati, which is 4-19 away from Great American Ball Park. The Reds have yet to win a road series this year and have lost 12 of their past 13 overall.
Cincinnati rallied in the ninth by stringing together three two-out singles off reliever Blaine Boyer to cut the lead to 5-4 before Boyer struck out pinch hitter Jordan Pacheco looking to end it for his first save of the season.
Boyer was in after closer Jeremy Jeffress wasn't available following four appearances in five days.
''We were able to get some guys on base and do some things with really good two-out at-bats,'' Reds manager Bryan Price said. ''We just weren't able to finish it off. Good to see that there's still a lot of fight there at the end.''
Villar has been a pleasant surprise for the Brewers.
Acquired in an offseason trade from Houston for a pitching prospect, Villar is hitting .307 with a .409 on-base percentage and holding down the shortstop position before top prospect Orlando Arcia takes over.
''That's the kind of guy you want in the leadoff spot. He's got speed, he's hitting for average, he's walking and he's making good decisions,'' Lucroy said. ''It's nice to get up there and have a guy on base every time you get up to hit.''
The Reds appeared to have Nelson in big trouble in the second. The right-hander loaded the bases with no outs after hitting a batter and allowing two singles.
But Tucker Barnhart bounced into a double play that scored Adam Duvall, giving the Reds a 2-1 lead, and Reds starter Brandon Finnegan grounded out to end the inning.
Finnegan (1-4) lost his fourth straight decision, allowing four runs in 6 1-3 innings.
''It is easy to get frustrated,'' Finnegan said. ''We have the talent on this team to win. I think we can.''
Cincinnati hasn't won a series on the road since taking two of three in Milwaukee on Sept. 18-20, 2015.
PHILLIPS STAYS IN
Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips hit the wall in foul territory after catching a pop up in the first.
Phillips appeared to jam his left leg and ankle while making the play. He sat down in shallow right field while trainers attended to him, but stayed in the game.
''We'll see how he comes out of it tomorrow,'' Price said. ''He wrenched his ankle pretty good there. He wanted to stay in and be out there competing with his teammates. I knew it was painful.''
Reds: LHP Jon Moscot is scheduled to come off the disabled list and start Tuesday in Colorado.
Brewers: LF Ryan Braun (neck) was out of the starting lineup for the eighth time in the past 14 games. Braun has had wrist, back and neck issues over the past two weeks. ... RHP Corey Knebel (oblique) is headed to Class A Brevard County on Monday to begin a rehab assignment.
Reds: Cincinnati will begin a four-game series in Colorado on Monday.
Brewers: Milwaukee looks to improve to 6-0 in games when RHP Junior Guerra (3-0, 3.30 ERA) starts when the Brewers open a three-game series against the Cardinals on Monday.