MILWAUKEE (AP) — Domingo Santana hit an early three-run homer and the Milwaukee Brewers kept pace in the playoff race by holding off the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 on Tuesday night.
The surprising Brewers have five games left and need help to reach the postseason. They remained 1 1/2 games behind Colorado for the second NL wild card after the Rockies blanked Miami 6-0.
Milwaukee (83-74) began the day six games back of the first-place Cubs in the NL Central. Chicago played at St. Louis and was one win short of clinching the division crown.
With starter Zach Davies lasting just four innings, Josh Hader (2-3) earned the win by striking out six and allowing two runs over 2 2/3 innings of relief.
Joey Votto singled with one out in the ninth off Brewers closer Corey Knebel, and pinch-runner Philip Ervin stole second. Knebel recovered to earn his 38th save by striking out Scooter Gennett and getting Eugenio Suarez to fly out to right field.
Santana connected off rookie Deck McGuire (0-1) in the first. Stephen Vogt and Orlando Arcia hit consecutive doubles to make it 4-0.
Scott Schebler pulled the Reds to 4-2 with a two-run homer off Davies in the second, but a throwing error by Gennett at second base allowed two runs to score for the Brewers with two outs in the third.
Cincinnati chipped away at the 6-2 deficit, scoring a run on a sacrifice fly by Votto in the fifth and adding two more in the seventh on a solo homer by Zack Cozart and an RBI single by Suarez.
Vogt hit his third double of the game and scored on a sacrifice fly by Hernan Perez in the seventh to put the Brewers up 7-5.
The Reds got that run back in the eighth when pinch-hitter Jesse Winker homered off Anthony Swarzak.
Reds: RHP Drew Storen had Tommy John surgery in Cincinnati. He is expected to miss the entire 2018 season.
Brewers: C Manny Pina was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game after injuring his left thumb on a play at the plate Thursday against the Cubs. It is uncertain if Pina will be able to return before the end of the regular season.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey (5-9, 6.96 ERA) will start for the fourth time this season against the Brewers on Wednesday. He has a 7.07 ERA in his previous three outings against Milwaukee but did allow just three runs over six innings in a 5-4 win on Sept. 4.
Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff (2-2. 3.76) is slated to make his eighth career start and first against the Reds. He received a no-decision last time out on Sept. 22 after allowing four runs over five innings against the Cubs.