CINCINNATI — Twice, the Brewers wasted chances with the bases loaded. In the end, they’d blown another opportunity to make the NL Central race a whole lot tighter.

Robert Stephenson escaped threats while pitching into the seventh on Tuesday night, and Scooter Gennett homered during Cincinnati’s five-run rally in the bottom of the inning, sending the Reds to a 9-3 victory over Milwaukee.

The last-place Reds have taken the first two games in the series from Milwaukee, which is trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011. The Cubs also lost both days, meaning the Brewers have wasted two opportunities to gain ground in the NL Central.

They remain 3 ½ games behind the Cubs. They also trail Arizona and Colorado in the wild card race.

“It’s coming down to crunch time, but we’re going to figure it out,” said Zach Davies (16-8). “I don’t think the team has clicked on all cylinders in every aspect of our lineup and pitching staff. So now’s as good a time as any.”

Stephenson (4-4) used his slider to escape a bases-loaded, none-out threat in the fourth inning. He walked two to load the bases and then fanned three straight to end the threat.

“It was tough working out of those jams,” said Stephenson, who gave up four hits while pitching into the seventh. “Luckily, the walks didn’t end up hurting me, but I have to work on that.”

The Brewers also left the bases loaded in the seventh. Milwaukee hit into three double plays as well.

“We just didn’t do enough well in all parts of the game,” manager Craig Counsell said. “This wasn’t a game where just one thing went wrong. Too much went wrong for us tonight.”

Davies ended up with only his second loss on the road this season, allowing two runs — one of them unearned — in 5 2/3 innings. Davies is 8-2 in 15 road starts.

The Reds put it away with five runs off the bullpen in the seventh, taking advantage of a single, three walks, two wild pitches and Gennett’s three-run homer off Wei-Chung Wang for a 7-1 lead.

Travis Shaw hit a two-run homer in the eighth. The Brewers threatened again before Raisel Iglesias came on and got the last six outs for his 25th save in 26 chances.

QUICK ADDITION

The Brewers called up speedy outfielder Quintin Berry from Triple-A with one thing in mind.

“I don’t think there’s any secret why Quintin is here,” Counsell said. “He’s here to be a baserunner. It’s a limited role and I hope he impacts a couple of games.”

Berry ran for Stephen Vogt in the seventh and was stranded. Milwaukee also designated RHP Aaron Brooks for assignment.

SPEEDY DUO

Bengals first-round pick John Ross threw a ceremonial pitch to center fielder Billy Hamilton. Ross set the NFL combine record for the 40-yard dash. Hamilton leads the majors with 58 steals, matching his career high.

A MOUTHFUL

Keon Broxton was shown on the videoboard chomping on a huge wad of gum in the Brewers dugout between innings. He responded with a gummy smile. Broxton got into the game in the seventh as a defensive replacement — without the gum.

REDS ADDITIONS

Cincinnati called up RHP Rookie Davis, LHP Amir Garrett, LHP Cody Reed and RHP Jackson Stephenson from Triple-A Louisville.

TOUGH TIME

Jonathan Villar got his sixth start in center field and set up Cincinnati’s first run. Stephenson’s fly over Villar’s head deflected off his glove for a two-base error. Villar tried but failed to make a sprawling catch on Zack Cozart’s soft fly, which fell for an RBI double.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: 1B Neil Walker was in the lineup a day after he got a cut on his lip on a play at the plate.

Reds: LH reliever Wandy Peralta had an MRI on his sore right hip that found no significant injury. He could return in a couple of days. Peralta hurt the hip Saturday in Pittsburgh.

UP NEXT

Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (6-8) is 0-2 in his last three starts, going no more than five innings. He’s given up 11 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings over the span.

Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (2-7) is 0-3 in his last six starts despite a 2.97 ERA. The Reds have scored two or fewer runs in four of the six games.


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