- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

CINCINNATI (AP) - Milwaukee’s impressive bullpen had one very bad inning.

Brayan Pena’s second career pinch-homer started Cincinnati’s big eighth-inning rally and swept the Reds to an 8-3 victory over the Brewers on Thursday night.

The Reds hit three homers in all as they pulled within 6½ games of the NL Central leaders, who came in with the fourth-best bullpen in the league. The Reds sent 11 batters to the plate while scoring five times in the eighth.

A rare bad day by the relievers.

“They’re going to happen, no doubt,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “We’ve been good down there. We just weren’t good tonight.”

Neither was starter Marco Estrada, who gave up three runs, six hits and four walks in six innings, leaving with the score tied at 3.

“If I’d have made my pitches, we could have won today,” Estrada said. “We scored three runs off Homer Bailey and that should have been enough.”

Tucker Barnhart led off the fifth with his first career homer. Todd Frazier added a two-run drive in the sixth off Estrada, who had trouble controlling his pitches.

“I left a lot of changeups up,” he said. “When I tried to come inside on guys, it wasn’t for a strike. It was everything. The curve wasn’t that great today.

“I got away with too much today.”

Both homer runs came off changeups and barely cleared the walls.

“Both of them were out front,” Roenicke said. “The ball carries very well here. I didn’t think either one was going to be a home run.”

Pena had homered during a 9-4 loss to the Cubs on Wednesday night. He hit for Bailey with the score tied at 3 in the eighth and connected on the first pitch from Jim Henderson (2-1) for a two-run homer that started the winning rally.

Bailey (2-2) allowed eight hits in a season-high eight innings, finally returning to form after missing much of spring training with a strained groin.

Milwaukee has lost back-to-back games for only the second time this season. The Brewers haven’t dropped more than two in a row.

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