The Reds will hold first for one more day.
Dusty Baker said before the game, "We think we have a good team but we don't know because we haven't played everybody yet. We've played the Cardinals nine times but we haven't played Milwaukee yet."
His team came out aggressive from the start. Sometimes too aggressive.
Orlando Cabrera threw Alcides Escobar out at home plate on a hard ground ball off Ryan Braun's bat. Escobar tripled with one out. The Reds were more than willing to concede the run with the infield back. But Cabrera gambled and threw the runner out. The Brewers are 12-1 when they score first and 3-21 when they don't.
"He's one of the smartest players I've ever been around," Baker said. "He knew just how hard the ball was hit."
It got starter Johnny Cueto pumped up. Cueto was coming off his best start, a one-hit shutout over Pittsburgh.
"It got my adrenaline going. It showed me they were playing hard behind me," Cueto said.
Cueto gave up a home run to Corey Hart but nothing else in seven innings thanks to more defense.
Brandon Phillips made the team's first error in 13 games, letting a hard hit ball by Jody Gerut get by him. But Drew Stubbs picked him up by throwing out Greg Zaun at home on a fly out.
"I love our defense," Baker said. "You may not see Brandon miss a ball like that the rest of the year, then Stubbs pieked him up."
The Reds made a couple running mistakes but they were aggressive mistakes.
"We want our guys to be aggressive," Baker said.
Joey Votto drove in the tying run with a double but was caught between second and third when the throw home was cut off. Then Phillips failed to see that Cabrera was being held and was caught off second in the Reds winning five-run seventh inning rally.
Chris Heisey tripled to start the seventh against former Red Todd Coffey. Cabrera put the Reds in the lead with a single up the middle. Phillips singled and Votto singled. Phillips made his mistake but got in a run down to allow Votto to get to second. Scott Rolen hit a sacrifice fly. Jay Bruce was walked intentionally.
All that did was make Jonny Gomes mad and he hit a three-run home run.
"We're all competitors in here," Gomes said. "It's a little character check when the decide they'd rather pitch to you. Coffey has a power arm. You have to be ready."