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Jeffress shuts down late rally in win vs. Reds

Shaw, Aguilar hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning
Special to MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Jeremy Jeffress didn't make history on Tuesday night like Josh Hader the night before, but the situation he encountered in the eighth inning was as tough as it gets -- runners on first and third, one out, Joey Votto at the plate.

"Josh had a great night last night," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "But, Jeremy's situation was tougher. The game's on the line there. Not easy to do. Tonight was more impressive."

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CINCINNATI -- Jeremy Jeffress didn't make history on Tuesday night like Josh Hader the night before, but the situation he encountered in the eighth inning was as tough as it gets -- runners on first and third, one out, Joey Votto at the plate.

"Josh had a great night last night," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "But, Jeremy's situation was tougher. The game's on the line there. Not easy to do. Tonight was more impressive."

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Jeffress struck out Votto on four pitches and retired Scott Schebler on a grounder to end the threat. He then cruised through the ninth for his first save since 2016, helping the Brewers hang on for a 7-6 win over the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Video: MIL@CIN: Jeffress gets groundout to escape 8th

Travis Shaw and Jesus Aguilar hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, and Ryan Braun added a two-run double in the fifth, to spark another big night for a Brewers offense that came into the series struggling.

"We've had consistent at-bats regularly through the order the past couple days," Shaw said. "We made a conscious effort to lock it in offensively after the last series."

Hernan Perez added a solo homer off Amir Garrett in the seventh, his third, helping Milwaukee (18-13) take the first two games in the series after being swept by the Cubs and scoring only two runs in four games at Wrigley Field.

Chase Anderson (3-2) allowed four runs over 5 1/3 innings and earned the victory on Tuesday, despite not having his best stuff. He walked four, but the bullpen helped him out.

"I was battling my command a pretty good amount," Anderson said. "I didn't have any fastball command. I was fighting my mechanics. A win's a win. Go on to the next one."

Shaw who was 2-for-24 on the road trip coming into the game, crushed Homer Bailey's 3-2 changeup into the right-field seats for a two-run homer.

Two pitches later, Aguilar belted his second home run of the season to make the score 3-0, giving the Brewers their fourth set of back-to-back homers this season and first since April 20.

Video: MIL@CIN: Shaw, Aguilar go back-to-back in the 1st

Five of the Brewers' runs on Tuesday night came with two outs.

"The home run was the story tonight," Counsell said. "We did enough offensively tonight, for sure."

The Reds (7-23) answered with three runs in the bottom half of the first, two coming when Eugenio Suarez belted his third home run of the season on Anderson's first pitch to tie the score at 3-3.

"There's going to be nights like that," Counsell said of Anderson. "You're not going to have your best stuff every night. He maybe got a little tired in the sixth, but he did a nice job."

Video: MIL@CIN: Anderson K's Duvall to end the 2nd

Bailey (0-4) retired 10 of 11 before the Brewers produced more two-out lightning when Braun doubled in two runs in the fifth to put them ahead 5-3.

Hader was unavailable coming off his historic eight-strikeout performance on Monday night, so the Brewers had to rely on other arms to hold the lead.

The Brewers led 7-5 when the Reds' Alex Blandino launched his first career home run to lead off the eighth inning against Milwaukee reliever Jacob Barnes.

But, Jeffress came on to put out the fire. He pitched 1 2/3 innings to earn his first save since July 31, 2016. Jeffress also extended his scoreless streak to 10 1/3 innings.

"That's a hard thing to do, strike out Votto in that situation," Anderson said. "J.J.'s been amazing. He's been kind of the unsung hero for our season so far."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jeffress works out of jam: For the second straight night, the Brewers retired Votto in a key spot. On Monday night, it was Hader striking him out swinging in a one-run game. On Tuesday, Jeffress did the trick, this time with runners on first and third in the seventh. Jeffress fanned Votto on four pitches, the last one a called strike on a 96 mph four-seam fastball. Jeffress then got Schebler to ground to Braun who made a bare-handed flip to Jeffress for the final out.

"He made a nice bare-handed play," said Counsell. "He was aggressive to the ball. J.J. is a good athlete and was able to get over there."

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Perez hit a liner to left leading off the seventh against Garrett that bounced off the top of the wall and back on to the field. The call on the field was a home run. The play went to a review and was confirmed, giving the Brewers their final run and a 7-4 lead.

Video: MIL@CIN: Perez homer is confirmed after review

Reds left fielder Adam Duvall was involved in a pair of replay reviews in the fifth inning. In both instances, the call on the field would stand. The second ruling was to the benefit of the Brewers.

The Brewers thought they had picked off Duvall at first base for the first out, but the replay official ruled there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the call on the field.

Then with two outs, Anderson picked Duvall off second. The Reds challenged the call, but the call would stand, ending the scoring threat and preserving the Brewers' three-run lead.

UP NEXT
Left-hander Wade Miley is expected to come off the disabled list to make his Brewers debut in Wednesday's 6:10 p.m. CT contest. Miley was in line to join the Brewers out of Spring Training before injuring his groin fielding a bunt in the final week of camp. He is 3-2 in seven career starts against the Reds with a 3.68 ERA. Miley will be opposed by Reds right-hander Luis Castillo, who allowed four earned runs in 6 2/3 innings in a 10-4 win at Miller Park on April 16.

Jeff Wallner is a contributor for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

Milwaukee Brewers