Ryan Braun belted a grand slam to highlight a six-run first inning as the visiting Milwaukee Brewers secured a playoff berth for the second straight season with a 9-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
Eric Thames and Keston Hiura each launched a solo homer, and Jordan Lyles (12-8) allowed two runs over five strong innings for the surging Brewers (88-70). Milwaukee has won six in a row and 17 of its past 19 contests.
The Brewers, who are guaranteed at least a wild-card spot, moved within 1 1/2 games of first-place St. Louis in the National League Central and remained one game behind Washington for the top NL wild card. The Cardinals (90-69) dropped a 9-7 decision to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday while the Nationals (89-69) beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2.
Cincinnati’s Eugenio Suarez set a record for most homers by a NL third baseman by crushing his 49th of the season in the first inning. The blast enabled Suarez to pass the mark initially set by Mike Schmidt (1980) and matched by Adrian Beltre (2004). He moved within three of the major league record for a third baseman, set by Alex Rodriguez in 2007.
Suarez’s homer, his ninth versus Milwaukee this season, was the franchise-record-tying 222nd of the season for the Reds (73-85).
Braun, who belted a solo shot in the Brewers’ 4-2 win at Cincinnati on Tuesday, deposited a 1-1 offering from Tyler Mahle (2-12) over the wall in center field to give Milwaukee a 4-0 lead in the first inning Wednesday.
Braun’s 22nd homer of the season served as the 28th of his career at Great American Ball Park, the most by a visiting player.
Thames added to the advantage just two pitches later after sending a fastball from Mahle over the wall in center field for his 24th homer of the season.
Lorenzo Cain capped the six-run uprising in the first inning by scoring on a fielder’s choice by Trent Grisham.
Suarez trimmed the deficit in the bottom of the first, sending a first-pitch fastball from Lyles over the wall in left field. Hiura answered with a solo shot in the top of the second.
Milwaukee’s Yasmani Grandal and Cincinnati’s Tucker Barnhart traded RBI doubles in the third and fourth innings, respectively, before the Brewers capped the scoring when Grisham was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the seventh.
—Field Level Media