CINCINNATI (AP) — Christian Yelich hit his first homer of the season and Kolten Wong had three hits, helping the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-4 on Sunday.
Yelich, who has been hampered by back trouble for much of the season, hit a solo drive in the ninth against Brad Brach. The 2018 NL MVP finished with two hits and two RBIs.
“I’m still trying to find it,” Yelich said. “But I hope it’s a step in the right direction. Will have to wait and see.”
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Yelich just needs to get consistent at-bats.
“That’s something that he hasn’t had,” he said. “He’s seeing the ball well since he’s been back. Positive signs for sure.”
Wong, who returned to the lineup after he was hit on the right elbow by a pitch in the seventh inning on Friday, hit a two-run triple in the sixth. He grounded to second in the eighth, falling a home run shy of the Brewers’ first cycle since Yelich in 2018, also against the Reds.
“You could tell in my last at-bat I was trying for it,” Wong said. “I’ve never had (a cycle), so why not see what happens?”
Jesse Winker hit a solo homer in the third for Cincinnati, and Nick Castellanos connected for a two-run shot in the ninth.
The Reds were hoping for a return to form for Luis Castillo, who was coming off an 11-strikeout outing on Tuesday. But he struggled during a 32-pitch first inning, allowing three hits and two walks, including one with the bases loaded. Willy Adames’ two-run single put the Brewers ahead 3-0.
Avisaíl García’s seventh homer, a two-run shot in the third, extended Milwaukee’s lead to five. It was the eighth home run allowed this season by Castillo (1-7), who has a 7.61 ERA.
“It was another bad day,” Castillo said. “What can I say? Every bad moment we know it is going to end eventually. Being frustrated all the time isn’t good for me. We are continuing the process. We will get there.”
Brewers starter Freddy Peralta allowed two runs and three hits in 4 2/3 innings. Brad Boxberger (1-1) got the win.
Milwaukee took two of three in the weekend set.
“To lose the opener and come back and win two it’s huge,” Yelich said. “In baseball your ups and downs are magnified. You don’t need to panic. Just stay the course.”
WINK AND SMILE
Winker became the first Reds batter with five homers in a three-game series since Willie Greene from Sept. 24-26, 1996, against the Cubs. Winker hit three of them on Friday.
Winker is the first major league player to go deep five times in a three-game series since José Abreu homered six times for the White Sox last August, also against the Cubs.
Counsell tied Ned Yost for second on the Brewers’ managerial wins list with 457. Counsell played for Yost in 2004, 2007, and 2008. Phil Garner tops the franchise wins list with 563.
Reds: 1B Joey Votto, who has been on the IL since May 7 with a fractured left thumb, had a follow-up X-ray which showed sufficient healing. Votto could join the team on its next road trip to continue treatment and baseball activity.
The Reds begin a six-game road trip in Washington on Tuesday, with Tyler Mahle starting the opener. He owns a 12.15 ERA in his career against the Nationals in two starts.
The Brewers return home for a four-game series with the Padres. Brandon Woodruff starts the opener. He beat the Padres on April 19, allowing a run over six innings.