Rickie Weeks, Cody Ransom help Brewers avoid sweep against Reds

CINCINNATI -- No sidestepping it. The Milwaukee Brewers felt they had to win this game.

After dropping four in a row and falling 8 1/2 games out, the defending NL Central champions were feeling the pressure on Wednesday. They got two-run homers from Rickie Weeks and Cody Ransom that set up an 8-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds and eased their angst.

"We needed it," manager Ron Roenicke said.

They had the right guy on the mound to get it.

Zack Greinke (9-2) remained unbeaten against the Reds, allowing two runs in six innings. Greinke improved to 4-0 in six career starts against first-place Cincinnati, which now leads the Brewers by 7 1/2 games.

"We've been playing good all month, just not really putting any streaks together," Greinke said. "We should be winning more games than we are.

"We're a little bit out, but we've got a lot of talent on this team. If we get on a little roll, things can change."

Bailey (5-6) has had nothing but trouble against Milwaukee, falling to 0-5 in 10 games with a 6.50 ERA. He left after failing to get an out in the fifth inning, trailing 5-2.

The Brewers came to town hoping to take at least two of three and get back in the race. A slumping offense held them back the first two games. They didn't even manage a hit until the eighth inning of a 4-3 loss on Tuesday night.

Milwaukee broke out with 11 hits on Wednesday, including two doubles, a triple and two homers.

"One thing the Brewers have always been able to do is hit the ball out of the ballpark," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "If you don't make quality pitches, they'll reach the fences."

The Brewers wasted a bases-loaded, none-out chance to break the game open in the seventh inning, failing to score. Milwaukee put it away with three in the ninth off Jose Arredondo, who walked Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart with the bases loaded.

Weeks hit a two-run homer in the second off Bailey, who snapped his glove toward the ground in anger as soon as the ball left the bat. Center fielder Chris Heisey jumped for the ball at the wall, but couldn't quite reach it.

Weeks' first homer since May 26 left him 11 of 20 career off Bailey with a pair of homers. It also made it 65 consecutive games at Great American Ball Park with at least one homer, the longest such streak since an 80-game stretch at Coors Field in 2002-03.

Ransom hit a two-run homer in the fourth for a 5-1 lead. Since the Brewers claimed him off waivers from Arizona on May 23, he'd been batting only .152 with one other homer.

The Brewers loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, but Norichika Aoki struck out and Ransom was caught in a rundown off a failed suicide squeeze attempt with Nyjer Morgan, who got ready to bunt but pulled the bat back when the pitch was low. Morgan then popped out.

"He should have tried to bunt at it," Roenicke said. "We did some interesting things today."

Morgan got tangled with a fan as he reached into the right field stands to try to catch a foul ball in the ninth inning. The fan reached for the ball and grabbed Morgan's glove. The outfielder yanked it away, and the fan yelled something at Morgan, who waved as he went back to his position.

"Our hands just got tangled up," Morgan said. "One of those things. I gave him a little `get-off-me.' He was doing his part of being a fan and trying to help his team out."

Greinke allowed five hits and a pair of runs in six innings, including Ryan Ludwick's solo homer. Greinke is 4-0 in his last six starts overall, allowing a total of only eight runs.

Ludwick had another solo shot in the ninth off Livan Hernandez, his second multihomer game of the season.

Reds Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips got hit in the face by Ramirez's arm while tagging him out on a steal attempt in the third. Phillips was a little dizzy and left the game three innings later as a precaution.

Game notes
The Brewers completed a 2-4 trip and returned home for a day off, followed by seven games against Arizona and Miami. ... The Reds head into the All-Star break with an 11-game trip to San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. ... OF Ryan Braun was out of the Brewers' lineup with a tender left elbow, hit by Bronson Arroyo's pitch in the first inning on Tuesday night. Braun finished that game, but the elbow was bothering him a day later. ... Stubbs and 3B Scott Rolen were out of the Reds' starting lineup, getting some rest. ... Reds rookie SS Zack Cozart singled in the eighth, snapping an 0-for-19 slump.


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