- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

CINCINNATI (AP) - Alfredo Simon knew the best thing he could do for Cincinnati’s historically bad bullpen was to stay in the game a long time. He accomplished his goal, but the relievers still had trouble.

Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer during his latest big game against Milwaukee, and the Reds beat the Brewers 9-5 on Thursday night even though their bullpen extended its historically bad streak of allowing runs.

Simon (1-3) made it easier on the major leagues’ worst bullpen, becoming only the second Reds starter to last seven innings. He allowed three runs in 7 2/3 innings, including Alex Presley’s two-run homer.

“The bullpen has been pitching a lot,” Simon said. “I really wanted to get through the eighth inning.”

The Reds turned three double plays behind Simon, helping him get out of trouble and stay in the game longer.

“He was throwing strikes and his sinker was working,” catcher Tucker Barnhart said. “He was able to get three double plays that were huge. They helped us get out of jams.”

Needing to get only four outs to close it out, the bullpen struggled again.

J.J. Hoover gave up Chris Carter’s 10th homer leading off the ninth inning, extending the bullpen’s major league record to 23 consecutive games allowing at least one run. It was the 23rd homer allowed by Reds relievers in 29 games. Colin Walsh drove in another run.

The Reds got the better of a matchup between the NL Central’s two bottom teams, winning for only the fourth time in their last 14 games.

Bruce homered during a five-run first inning off Chase Anderson (1-4). His 34 career homers against the Brewers are by far his highest total against any team. By comparison, he’s hit 20 against the Cardinals and the Pirates.

Anderson has been in a rut, and he couldn’t get out of it against a Reds team he has dominated. He beat the Reds twice last season and had allowed only one run in three career starts against Cincinnati.

The Reds sent nine batters to the plate for five runs in the first. Phillips hit a sacrifice fly, and Bruce’s fifth homer of the season made it 4-0 after only 13 pitches. Barnhart completed the rally with a run-scoring single.

“I was just trying to get the ball on the ground,” Anderson said. “I left a couple up and when you get pitches up in a hitter’s park, it can go a long way.”

Phillips added a two-run shot in the second off Anderson, his second homer in two games. Adam Duvall hit a two-run shot in the eighth, his third straight game with a homer.

STATS

Phillips hasn’t homered in three consecutive games since June 13-15, 2012. … Robert Stephenson is the other Reds starter to last seven innings, doing it April 19 against the Rockies. He was sent back to Triple-A Louisville. … With 125 homers, Bruce trails Adam Dunn by one for the most at Great American Ball Park.

EXTRA, EXTRA

Carter’s homer hit high off the batter’s eye in center field. Twenty of his 26 hits this season have gone for extra bases.

“You can’t turn away when he’s hitting, that’s for sure,” manager Craig Counsell said.

LATEST ADDITION

The Brewers claimed LH Michael Kirkman off waivers from San Diego. He’s expected to join the team on Saturday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: RF Domingo Santana was out of the lineup for the third straight game with a sore right shoulder.

Reds: CF Billy Hamilton returned after being out of the starting lineup the last three games because of a sore left thumb.

UP NEXT

Brewers: RH Tyler Cravy is expected to start in place of Wily Peralta, who will go on paternity leave.

Reds: RH Tim Adelman makes his second career start. He gave up two runs and three hits in six innings of a 6-5, 11-inning win in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

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

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