CINCINNATI — Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Khris Davis is getting regular playing time and beginning to gain confidence. Manager Ron Roenicke said Davis’ pitch selection is uncanny for a rookie, and it’s producing results.
On Friday night, Davis hit a pair of two-run homers and Scooter Gennett added a solo shot, lifting the Brewers to a 6-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a three-game series on Friday night at Great American Ball Park.
“He’s making me put him in there every day,” Roenicke said. “Consistently, he’s laying off the bad pitches. He’s swinging at the pitch he wants to swing at. I don’t see any flaws in him right now offensively.”
Brandon Phillips hit his 16th home run of the season for Cincinnati.
Jim Henderson struck out Joey Votto with the tying run on base in the ninth to seal his 20th save. Rob Wooten (2-0) was the winner.
Twice Davis put the Brewers ahead with home runs. In the sixth, he gave them a 3-2 lead with a two-run homer on a 2-2 pitch from Reds starter Homer Bailey.
“We’d gotten him earlier going in, so we thought we’d go there again,” Bailey said. “We’ll know better next time.”
Phillips tied the score in the bottom of the sixth with a 408-foot solo blast to center field. But Davis launched the first pitch from right-hander Alfredo Simon for a two-run homer in the eighth, making it 5-3. It was the first multi-homer game of Davis’ career.
“I’m getting my confidence that comes from being prepared,” said Davis, who is now batting .571 with four homers this season against Cincinnati. “It’s a good feeling to see all the smiles on my teammates’ faces. The experience I’m getting is important. I’m just having fun.”
With two outs in the eighth, Gennett homered on a 1-0 pitch from Simon. The home run, confirmed by replay, put Milwaukee ahead 6-3.
Simon (5-4) took the loss, allowing three runs and three hits, including two home runs, in two-thirds of an inning.
“That was uncharacteristic of Simon. I think you saw some signs of fatigue,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “Davis is the best young player I’ve seen come into the league this year.”
Bailey allowed three earned runs and six hits in six innings. After Bailey had thrown 102 pitches and with a thin bullpen, Baker decided not to extend the right-hander, who threw 119 pitches in his last outing.
“I contemplated leaving him out there a little longer,” Baker said. “He missed location on a couple guys. It was a struggle.”
Yovani Gallardo battled for six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) for Milwaukee.
“I was able to keep the ball down in the zone,” Gallardo said. “I pitched out of some jams. The ball to Phillips was the only mistake I made. It was up in the zone and he did what good hitters do.”
Reds right-hander Nick Christiani pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his major league debut.
Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead in the third when Gennett singled, was sacrificed to second and then scored on Nori Aoki’s RBI single.
In his last start against Cincinnati, Gallardo allowed just three hits through 6 1/3 innings in a 2-0 Brewers win on Aug. 17 at Miller Park. But he ran into trouble in the fourth inning on Friday.
With runners on first and second with two outs, Zack Cozart fouled off five pitches during a nine-pitch at-bat before lining an RBI single to center. A second run scored on the play when Carlos Gomez bobbled the ball in center. That gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.
NOTES: Roenicke was satisfied with Ryan Braun’s statement released Thursday in which he expressed regret for using performance-enhancing drugs. “I think he explained himself, certainly enough for me,” Roenicke said. “There are probably some things he still can’t say. This is a nice young man that messed up. He’s got a long road ahead of him. He needs to heal some relationships.” … Gomez was in the lineup for the first time since Aug. 15, when he sprained his right knee making a leaping grab against Cincinnati at Miller Park. … Reds RHP Jonathan Broxton had season-ending surgery on Friday morning to repair a flexor mass strain in his right forearm. “It’s a silver lining that it wasn’t the ligament or in the joint,” Baker said. “It could’ve been a lot worse.” Broxton is expected to miss six months. … Reds LHP Tony Cingrani experienced some discomfort during his bullpen session on Friday and he might miss Sunday’s scheduled start. Cingrani left Tuesday’s game in the fourth inning with a lower back strain.