MILWAUKEE — Edwin Encarnacion hit a towering grand slam to cap a six-run rally with two outs in the third inning, and the Cincinnati Reds started their longest road trip this season by roughing up Milwaukee Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo in a 7-6 win Monday night.
Jay Bruce also hit his first home run of the year as the Reds overcame a four-run deficit with a scoring binge to begin an 11-day, 10-game trip that includes series against NL Central rivals Houston and Chicago.
Milwaukee has lost three straight. The Brewers built a 5-1 lead in the first two innings off Reds starter Edinson Volquez, who labored again allowing six runs off seven hits and four walks.
But Gallardo (1-1) gave it back and the Reds bullpen held on with four scoreless innings, capped by Francisco Cordero's second save this season.
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While Volquez (1-1) struggled, Gallardo had an ugly 40-pitch third inning that began innocuously with two outs.
The 23-year-old right-hander quickly came unraveled with back-to-back walks to Willy Taveras and Chris Dickerson before Joey Votto's RBI single made it 5-2.
Brandon Phillips walked to load the bases, Bruce was hit by a pitch to score another run and Encarnacion hit a belt-high fastball deep over the Brewers bullpen for his third career grand slam to give the Reds a 7-5 lead.
That wiped out the run support Gallardo got early off Prince Fielder's fielder's choice in the first and four runs in the second off Jason Kendall's RBI single and Bowling Green native Corey Hart's three-run home run that left Volquez kicking the mound.
The Reds' right-hander regained his composure, pitching through a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth after giving up consecutive singles and loading the bases by hitting Rickie Weeks with a pitch that caught the Brewers' second baseman on his collar bone and jaw as he squared up to bunt and sent him sprawling face down.
Weeks stayed in the game but never left first as Volquez retired the Brewers' best three hitters — Hart, Ryan Braun and Fielder — to end the threat.
Bruce's solo homer got the Reds on the board in the second, while Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy's homer leading off the fifth made it 7-6. Volquez got through that inning, leaving him in line for the win despite his ERA rising to 9.64 in 91⁄3 innings over two starts.
From there, the Reds bullpen of Jared Burton, Arthur Rhodes, David Weathers and Cordero held on with Milwaukee stranding runners in scoring position the final three innings with Weathers getting the biggest out by forcing Hardy to fly out to center field with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth.
Hart has homered in consecutive games. ... Kendall's RBI single snapped an 0-for-15 start this season. ... Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman (oblique) threw off flat ground on Monday before the game. Brewers Manager Ken Macha said Hoffman's next rehab step will be throwing off a mound on Wednesday. Hoffman last threw off the mound on March 13. ... Macha said he'll speak Tuesday with Brewers starter Jeff Suppan, who is 0-2 with a 12.91 ERA to start this season while making a team-high $12.5 million this season. "I'm happy for him. He's making $12.5 million," Macha said. "Instead of looking at how much money he's making, we've got to look at how we're going to get this guy pitching like he has in the past."