(Sports Network) - Center fielder Carlos Gomez's game-saving catch lifted Milwaukee to a series-opening victory over Cincinnati on Monday night.
The Brewers hope to get another boost from their outfield in the second contest of this three-game series as Ryan Braun is expected in the starting lineup versus the Reds for the first time in a month.
Braun has not played since June 9 because of a right thumb contusion, but was activated from the disabled list prior to last night's opener. He did not start and was available to pinch-hit, but did not appear in the 4-3 win.
However, the 2011 NL MVP is in line to start tonight's contest and is hitting .304 with nine homers and 36 RBI in 57 games this season. He'll return to action despite his hand not being fully at 100 percent.
"It's exciting more than it is a relief," Braun told Milwaukee's website of his return. "Being on the DL is not something I enjoyed. It definitely made me appreciate the last six years, having never spent time on the DL, because it's just a lot of long and boring days. I'm excited to be back, excited to be able to compete again and be able to contribute, hopefully, to some better baseball."
Milwaukee opened a roster spot by placing third baseman Aramis Ramirez on the 15-day DL because of a left knee sprain. Another key part of the Brewers' lineup, Ramirez is hitting .271 with five homers and 26 RBI in 54 games, but hadn't played since Saturday.
Without Ramirez or Braun in the lineup on Monday, catcher Jonathan Lucroy hit a two-run homer, his third straight game going deep, and Jean Segura went 3- for-3 with a double and RBI as the Brewers carried a one-run lead into the ninth.
Francisco Rodriguez recorded two quick outs before walking Derrick Robinson to bring Joey Votto to the plate.
The Reds slugger drove a 2-2 fastball to deep center field for what looked like a go-ahead homer, but Gomez backed to the wall and perfectly timed his leap to pull back the baseball and end the game.
"When the ball gets up in the air like that we know it carries well here," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "When Gommy went to the wall I felt he was going to jump for it. There aren't too many guys who can jump as high as Gommy. I don't think I've ever seen a game end like that. I've seen replays, but never in a game."
Gomez's catch secured just Milwaukee's second victory in seven meetings with Cincinnati this season, while the Reds suffered their third loss in four games overall.
In his first start since tossing the second no-hitter of his career, Homer Bailey was tagged for four runs and 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings to suffer the loss.
"This team just kind of had my number," said Bailey, who is 1-7 lifetime against Milwaukee with a 5.92 earned run average. "It's just one of those unexplainable things. I just couldn't find a rhythm."
Milwaukee's Wily Peralta had a pretty good rhythm going last time out before left hamstring tightness forced him out of a start early, but the righty is scheduled to take the hill tonight following a little extra rest.
Peralta was rolling last Tuesday versus Washington, logging 5 1/3 scoreless frames before his injury finally forced him out of the contest. He had allowed just three hits and a pair of walks before departing, but set the tone in a 4-0 victory for his club even though he did not get a decision.
"He had great command on his fastball and great movement," Roenicke said of his starter. "It was a real nice game for him."
Peralta had his next start pushed back from Sunday to tonight and brings a 5-9 record and 5.27 ERA through 18 starts into the contest.
The 24-year-old has struggled in two starts versus the Reds this season, giving up seven earned runs, 12 hits and four walks over 11 1/3 total innings while losing both games.
For the Reds, Tony Cingrani draws another start tonight with Johnny Cueto out due to injury. He is 3-0 with a 3.40 ERA in 13 games this season, including eight starts.
Cingrani's first seven appearances this season were starts before a shift to the bullpen, but he returned to the rotation last Wednesday to face the San Francisco Giants. The southpaw kept his club in a 3-2 win, allowing two runs over 5 2/3 innings and working around four hits and four walks in a no- decision.
Both runs Cingrani allowed came on a two-run homer in the fifth inning and the long ball hindered his first career start versus the Brewers back on May 10. On that day, the 24-year-old yielded solo homers to Segura and Braun in the fourth frame, getting a no-decision.