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The Associated Press

CINCINNATI - The National League's reigning MVP sure knows how to perform an encore.

Christian Yelich singled with the bases loaded and hit his major league-leading 30th homer Monday night, helping the Milwaukee Brewers rally for their sixth straight victory at Great American Ball Park, 8-6 over the Cincinnati Reds.

Milwaukee sent 10 batters to the plate for five runs in the seventh inning, with Yelich contributing an RBI single. Yelich hit a two-run homer in the ninth that made him the first Brewer with 30 before the All-Star break. Prince Fielder hit 29 before the break in 2007.

Yelich knew he was one homer away from the mark. He hit No. 29 on June 21 and had only four hits and one RBI since.

"It's cool," Yelich said. "It's hard to put it out of your mind. You're constantly reminded about it by the fans and the media. It's nice to get it out of the way."

The homer came off a pitch that was above the strike zone and landed in the first row of seats in left field.

"It was one of those weird ones," Yelich said. "It wasn't the best pitch to swing at, but that's baseball. Sometimes, you do everything right and don't get rewarded. Sometimes, you do everything wrong and hit a home run."

Even though he's struggled lately, he had two important hits when the Brewers needed them.

"He's had a tremendous first half," manager Craig Counsell said. "I think he'll tell you he's been fighting himself a little bit, but he still came up with big hits tonight."

The Brewers have won 11 of 15 overall against their NL Central rival. This time, they overcame a pair of two-run homers by Eugenio Suarez , who has three in the last two games.

Trailing 3-1, Lorenzo Cain led off the seventh inning with a homer that was only the second hit off Tyler Mahle. David Hernandez (2-4) walked Yasmani Grandal with the bases loaded to force in a run that put Milwaukee up 4-3, and Yelich followed with a single.

Mahle gave up three hits overall, including Keston Hiura's homer in the fifth.

The Brewers got a career-high five-plus innings from Adrian Houser, who was making his fourth start after 14 relief appearances. He blanked the Reds on four hits over the first five innings, but Jesse Winker hit a solo shot and Suarez added a two-run homer as the Reds chased Houser to open the sixth.

Alex Claudio (2-2) retired the three batters he faced in the inning. Suarez connected again in the eighth off Josh Hader. Jeremy Jeffress allowed a run in the ninth while getting his first save.

Remembering Skaggs

The Reds had a moment of silence pregame for Tyler Skaggs, the Angels pitcher who died Monday at the team's hotel in Texas.

"It's shocking," Counsell said. "It just rocks everybody's world."

Slip sliding

The Reds won two games at Miller Park on June 20-21 that completed a six-game winning streak, their longest of the season. Since then, they've dropped six of eight, falling back into last place.

What you wish for

Mahle complained earlier this season that manager David Bell wasn't letting him work deeper into games. Bell let him start the seventh inning this time, and Mahle couldn't get an out.

"I blew it," Mahle said. "That's what I think sucks the most, when the manager has faith in you and you go out and blow it."

It went that way

Cain's opposite-field homer was only his eighth in 72 career homers.

Bullpen swap

The Reds called up right-handed reliever Jimmy Herget from Triple-A to make his debut and designated left-hander Zach Duke for assignment. Duke was signed to a $2 million, one-year deal in February. He went 3-1 with a 5.01 ERA in 30 appearances.

Trainer's room

Brewers: Left-hander Gio Gonzalez threw in the bullpen for the first time since he went on the injured list on June 1 with a sore left arm.

Reds: Yasiel Puig got a day off. Manager David Bell said the outfielder was sore from slamming into the wall to make a catch last Friday. ... Reliever Wandy Peralta is expected to throw in the bullpen Tuesday. He's been on the injured list since June 15 with a strained hip.

REDS 8, CUBS 6: With July 4 still a few days off, Eugenio Suarez got an early jump on the fireworks.

Suarez ended his slump with Cincinnati's longest homer of the season, Anthony DeSclafani pitched six scoreless innings and the Reds held off the Chicago Cubs 8-6 Sunday.

Phillip Ervin and Nick Senzel drove in two runs each, and Raisel Iglesias escaped with a six-out save despite allowing Jason Heyward's three-run homer in the ninth. Kyle Schwarber also had a late connection for the Cubs.

Chicago starter Jon Lester (7-6) hadn't lost to the Reds since 2016, a streak of seven straight starts. The Cubs have dropped 3 of 4 and finished June 14-15, their first losing month since May 2017.

"It could've been a lot worse," Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. "We've been a .500 team the entire month."

Yasiel Puig stole two bases a day after a shouting match with Chicago reliever Pedro Strop - Puig was upset after being hit by a 3-0 pitch. He scored after both stolen bases thanks to Ervin's bloop singles, including one during a four-run eighth. Senzel added a two-run single during the big frame.

"It is always important to add on when you get that chance," Ervin said. "I was up there trying to fight. I tried to fight off good pitches to get something to hit. He just kept throwing good pitches, and I was just fighting them off. Somehow, those two found some grass."

Suarez, hitting .155 over his previous 22 games, blasted Lester's 3-2 pitch a projected 457 feet into a party structure atop the batter's eye in the first inning. The three-run shot gave him 17 homers this season.

"I didn't see where Suarez's drive landed," Bell said. "It never came down. Geno obviously has good power to be able to do that against a good pitcher. It went a long way, but the main thing is it went over the fence."

DeSclafani (5-4) ended his day by striking out David Bote with two runners on and celebrated with a fist pump. He struck out seven and allowed five hits and a walk.

REDS 6, CUBS 3: Joe Maddon looked up from his sheet of statistics and saw left-hander Cole Hamels walking toward him instead of warming up for the second inning - the last thing the Cubs manager wanted to see.

Just like that, the Cubs' rotation had taken another big hit.

Hamels walked off the field after throwing only one warm-up pitch before the second inning Friday night and feeling discomfort in his left side. The Cincinnati Reds took advantage for a 6-3 victory that ended their four-game losing streak.

The Cubs already were missing Kyle Hendricks, sidelined by a sore pitching shoulder. Hamels (6-3) exited after only one inning that included 22 pitches, a walk, two hits and a run. He's expected to go on the 10-day injured list Saturday.

Hamels will have an MRI to determine the severity of the injury, located by the left oblique.

It was a huge break for the last-place Reds, who were 1-11 career against the left-hander entering the game. Plus, Hamels had been on his best streak of the season, going at least seven innings in each of his last five starts with a 1.00 ERA.

"I'm not sure what happened," Reds manager David Bell said. "That was unfortunate for them. At that point, you're just trying to limit the damage to your bullpen."

Chicago overcame a five-run deficit for a 9-7 win on Thursday against Atlanta but couldn't pull off a second straight big comeback.

Sonny Gray (4-5) pitched shutout ball into the seventh before giving up Jason Heyward's two-run homer . Michael Lorenzen pitched out of the two-on threat in the eighth and got the last five outs for his fifth save in six chances.

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