Brewers lose to Reds 3-1, pushed to brink of elimination from wild card race

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CINCINNATI — The Brewers can't even make a final push to stay in the race.

Johnny Cueto kept his hopes of a 20-win season in play, and Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco hit back-to-back homers on Tuesday night, sending the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-1 victory that pushed Milwaukee to the verge elimination from wild card contention.

"It's always tough," said Mike Fiers (6-4), who gave up the back-to-back homers. "We kind of gave it away. We had a lot of opportunities. It was in our hands."

The Brewers led the NL Central for 150 days, but fell apart at the end. Up by 6 ½ games on June 28, the Brewers have gone 29-45 and fallen far behind Pittsburgh and San Francisco in the wild card race. Their loss on Tuesday was their 19th in 26 games.

Milwaukee's offense has unraveled in the closing weeks of the season, scoring two or fewer runs in each of the last six games.

"We've been trying to get this thing done and win some games," manager Ron Roenicke said. "And every night, it just seems to be the same game."

Cueto (19-9) gave up Carlos Gomez's homer over eight innings. He'll pitch Cincinnati's final game on Sunday against Pittsburgh at Great American Ball Park.

The Reds haven't had a 20-game winner since left-hander Danny Jackson in 1988. The last Reds right-hander to win 20 games was Sammy Ellis in 1965.

The Reds got the better of a matchup between teams with huge second-half fades. The Reds are 22-40 since the All-Star break.

Frazier and Mesoraco connected in the first inning off Fiers, who hadn't allowed two homers in a game since May 25. It was Frazier's 28th homer, the most by a third baseman in the National League. Mesoraco's homer was his 25th. He leads the majors in homers by a catcher.

Fiers went to a 2-2 count on Frazier, then had the next pitch called a ball even though he thought it was on the corner. Frazier homered on a full-count fastball.

"That definitely changed the game," Fiers said of the 2-2 pitch. "But I need to make a better pitch than that. Frazier can hit pretty much any pitch. To Mesoraco, I think I gave in a little bit. I think I lost focus a little bit."

Gomez hit a solo homer in the sixth, ending a streak of 14 consecutive batters retired by Cueto. The right-hander gave up four hits, walked one and struck out seven.

Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his 34th save in 36 chances, fanning Ryan Braun with two runners aboard to end it.

The Brewers had chances in the first inning, when they had two singles and a walk but failed to score. Gomez singled and was picked off first base. Scooter Gennett walked but was thrown out at the plate while trying to score from second base on Aramis Ramirez's single.

"Facing Cueto, you don't get many chances," Roenicke said. "When you get chances, you've got to be able to do something to beat him."

BAD AT GABP

The Brewers have lost 13 of their last 18 games at Great American Ball Park and 31 of their last 43. Overall this season, the Reds are 9-8 against Milwaukee, including 6-2 at GABP.

STATS

Fiers' five innings matches his season low as a starter. ... Gomez was caught stealing for the 12th time. ... It's the second time Cueto has won 19 games in a season. He went 19-9 in 2012. ... CF Billy Hamilton threw Gennett out at the plate in the first inning. It was his 10th assist, the most by any center fielder in the NL and any rookie outfielder in the majors.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: 1B Joey Votto continues to take batting practice and infield practice, but it's still unclear whether he'll play this week. Votto has missed 94 games because of strained muscles above his left knee. He's been out since July 6 on his second DL stint.

UP NEXT

Brewers: Kyle Lohse (12-9) makes his fifth start against the Reds this season. He's 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA in the other four. Overall, he's 6-5 career against Cincinnati with a 2.90 ERA.

Reds: Daniel Corcino (0-1) makes his third career start. Corcino, who was called up this month, made his first major league start at Milwaukee on Sept. 12 and gave up two runs in six innings. The Reds lost 3-2.


Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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