MILWAUKEE -- If Brewers manager Ned Yost did not feel comfortable with his team's hold of the National League Wild Card going into Monday's game, imagine how he felt afterward. A four-game lead over the Phillies shrunk to three with a 5-4 loss to the Reds, who rallied for three runs in the ninth inning against Brewers closer Salomon Torres to perpetuate a terrible Brewers homestand. "I'll take it," Yost said of his club's cushion entering play, "but if you think we're resting on that ... If you told me we had a four-game lead with a week to go, I might feel better."
Now Milwaukee needs to work to get the lead back to four games. The Brewers also missed yet another opportunity to gain ground on the slumping Cubs, who were off Monday. The Cubs have lost seven of their last eight games, but have dropped only two games in the standings over that span. They lead the Brewers by 4 1/2 games. Yost didn't want to hear about the Cubs after watching Torres (6-5) suffer his seventh blown save of the season and his second in his last three chances. Corey Patterson hit an RBI infield single that glanced off Torres' foot before Jeff Keppinger gave the Reds their first lead with a two-run double off the right-field wall. "The only thing that matters is here," Yost said when asked about idle Chicago. "That's it. This ballpark. The game that goes on in this ballpark is the only thing that matters." What matters now is salvaging what's left of a 10-game homestand gone bad. The Brewers fell deeper into the mire Monday after Jason Kendall and J.J. Hardy homered for a 4-1 lead that got away. Brewers starter Dave Bush surrendered a solo homer to Joey Votto in the eighth inning that cut the Brewers' lead to 4-2 for Torres, who is in the midst of a career year. Torres surrendered singles to the first two hitters he faced, then walked pinch-hitter Chris Dickerson to load the bases with nobody out. Torres struck out Javier Valentin, who has given Milwaukee trouble in past matchups but is 1-for-11 this season, to bring up Patterson, who scalded a line drive up the middle. Torres spun and the ball appeared to hit his left foot before it settled for an infield RBI hit. "I think my left foot got in the way," Torres said. "I saw the video, and my glove was right there. Even if it didn't hit me, I think [second baseman Ray] Durham would have had a play right on the bag. It's one of those things where things don't go your way." Yost saw it differently. "Superman doesn't make that play," the manager said. "Mighty Mouse doesn't make it either. We kind of got lucky right there, I think, that it hit his foot, because it was probably going to go up the middle and score two runs. That gave us another opportunity to keep the ball down, maybe get a double play on Keppinger. But we couldn't do it." Keppinger hit a 1-1 pitch over Ryan Braun's head in left field to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs. Torres had not allowed three earned runs in an outing since April 29 against the Cubs, before he supplanted Eric Gagne as Milwaukee's closer. Reds reliever Jared Burton (5-1) notched the win for Cincinnati, and Francisco Cordero breezed through a quick ninth for his 28th save. "We have to keep fighting," Torres said. "I'm sure I'm going to get the same situation tomorrow to save the game, and it's going to be business as usual. We cannot let this affect us." He added: "This is a time to show what we are made of. This is the time to finish proud. How long has it been, 26 years?" He was referring to the Brewers' postseason drought. They have not participated in a playoff game since Game 7 of the 1982 World Series. Torres' tough inning spoiled the night for Bush, who rebounded from a loss last week and allowed two runs in eight innings to move within three outs of his 10th win of the season. Bush scattered seven hits and escaped major damage in the fourth inning, when he loaded the bases with nobody out but induced a 1-2-3 double play by catcher Paul Bako and then retired Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez on a popout. "That's a difficult spot," said Bush, who had a 3-1 lead at the time. "At the time, it was easily the biggest situation in the game." Prince Fielder put the Brewers on the board with a first-inning RBI groundout against Volquez, who struck out 10 but surrendered four runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings. After the Reds tied the game in the second inning on Wilkin Castillo's two-out single, Kendall put the Brewers back in front with a two-run home run into Milwaukee's bullpen, doubling his home run total for the season. Hardy added a solo shot off Volquez with two outs in the fifth. "I will be the first one to admit, I picked the wrong time to give up three runs," Torres said.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.