CINCINNATI (WSAU-TSN) Norichika Aoki went 3-for-4 with a solo homer, two RBI and two runs scored as Milwaukee kept its playoff hopes alive with an 8-1 win over Cincinnati.
The race for the final wild card spot in the National League got a little tighter with Milwaukee's win and St. Louis losing to Houston. The Cardinals lead the Brewers and the Dodgers, who also won on Wednesday, by 3 1/2 games. However, both Milwaukee and Los Angeles do have a game in hand on St. Louis.
Ryan Braun hit a two-run home run while Jonathan Lucroy homered, scored twice and had three hits for the Brewers, who had dropped three of four coming into the contest.
"You never know what can happen," said Lucroy. "All we can do is go out and play hard every day and take care of our business. It might not work out, but we have to keep playing hard till the end."
Shaun Marcum (6-4) gave up just one run on four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts over six innings to win for the first time since June 8, a span of seven starts. He spent two months on the disabled list with tightness in his right elbow.
Joey Votto drove in the lone run of the game for the Reds, who had won six of eight. Bronson Arroyo (12-9) was touched for four runs on eight hits over six innings to drop his second straight decision.
"Marcum kept our guys off-balance all night out there," said Reds interim manager Chris Speier. "We just couldn't get anything going offensively against them and they did. They swung the bats real good over there."
Cincinnati fell a game behind Washington for the best record in the majors as the Nationals beat the Phillies on Wednesday.
The Reds struck in the first inning as Zack Cozart beat out an infield single with one out and Votto followed with a double high off the wall in left for a 1-0 lead.
Milwaukee took the lead with a two-out rally in the third. Aoki tied the game with a swing of the bat on his 10th home run of the season. Rickie Weeks then singled and Braun followed with a double. Consecutive singles from Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart each scored a run for a 3-1 advantage.
Cincinnati left men on first and second in the third then loaded the bases in the fifth, but it was with two outs and Scott Rolen struck out to end the frame.
The Brewers added a run in the sixth. Lucroy hit a ground-rule double to start the inning, moved to third on a Logan Schafer groundout and crossed the plate on Jeff Bianchi's sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead.
Braun's two-run homer, his NL-leading 41st of the year, in the seventh off Logan Ondrusek made it a 6-1 contest.
Milwaukee plated another run in the eighth when Aoki's double scored Jeff Bianchi, who led off with a walk, and made it an 8-1 game in the ninth on Lucroy's solo homer.
The Brewers and Reds play again at 11:00am CT Thursday. Hear the game on AM-550 FM-99.9 WSAU. It's the Brewers final road game of the season.