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Home runs power Brewers past Cincinnati, 9-6

CINCINNATI — Ken Macha has seen the Home Run Derby turn power hitters into hapless swingers. So, when Prince Fielder won the All-Star competition this week, the Milwaukee manager wondered if it would mess with his swing.

One homer eased his mind.

Fielder hit a three-run shot that got Milwaukee’s offense going, and the Brewers took a first step in turning themselves around after the All-Star break by beating the Cincinnati Reds 9-6 on Thursday night.

Fielder won the All-Star home run competition on Monday night in St. Louis by hitting 23 balls over the wall. His homer Thursday was his 23rd of the season. Fielder got the Brewers started on their second-half quest — catching the Cardinals in the NL Central — by connecting in the third inning off Homer Bailey (1-1).

Obviously, the derby didn’t mess him up.

‘‘I swing hard,’’ Fielder said. ‘‘So I’m not going to say it couldn’t, but I really don’t worry about that as much.’’

Macha did. Asked if he has concerns about Fielder being affected by all those swings in the derby, Macha quickly replied, ‘‘Sure do. But coming out and hitting one like that tonight, maybe it had no effect on him.’’

Braden Looper (8-4) went 5 1-3 innings and had three hits of his own, including a broken-bat, RBI single that extended Milwaukee’s five-run rally in the sixth inning. The three hits — all singles — matched his total for the season and were a career high.

‘‘I don’t know,’’ Looper said. ‘‘Just one of those things, one of those days. I didn’t have some masterful plan. I was just trying to swing and hit it.’’

Seth McClung gave up a three-run homer in the eighth by Edwin Encarnacion, who drove in four runs overall. Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 23 chances.

The Brewers went into the All-Star break losing eight of 11, a slide that dropped them into second place behind St. Louis. The victory on Thursday moved them two games behind the idle Cardinals.

‘‘We finished the first half on a little bit of a downer note,’’ Macha said. ‘‘All wins are good, some better than others. It’s nice to get a start like that.’’

Reds’ boxscore

Thursday’s Game

Milwaukee 9, Cincinnati 6

Milwaukee Cincinnati

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Kendall c 4 1 2 1 Tavers cf 5 0 1 0

Counsll 2b 5 1 0 0 HrstnJr ss 4 1 2 0

Braun lf 4 1 1 0 Votto 1b 5 1 2 2

Fielder 1b 3 2 1 3 BPhllps 2b 4 0 1 0

McGeh 3b 5 1 1 0 RHrndz c 4 0 0 0

MCmrn cf 5 1 2 1 L.Nix lf 4 2 1 0

C.Hart rf 4 1 2 0 Gomes rf 2 1 0 0

Hardy ss 4 1 2 3 Encrnc 3b 3 1 3 4

Looper p 3 0 3 1 HBaily p 2 0 0 0

DiFelic p 1 0 0 0 Masset p 0 0 0 0

McClng p 0 0 0 0 ARosls ph 1 0 0 0

Coffey p 0 0 0 0 Roenck p 0 0 0 0

Hoffmn p 0 0 0 0 Janish ph 1 0 0 0

Manuel p 0 0 0 0

Totals 38 9 14 9 Totals 35 6 10 6

Milwaukee 003 005 100 — 9

Cincinnati 002 001 030 — 6

E—Taveras (4). DP—Cincinnati 2. LOB—Milwaukee 7, Cincinnati 9. 2B—M.Cameron (18), Hairston Jr. (14). HR—Fielder (23), Votto (12), Encarnacion (3). SB—Braun (8), B.Phillips (13). CS—M.Cameron (3).

IP H R ER BB SO

Milwaukee

Looper W,8-4 5 1-3 7 3 3 5 4

DiFelice 1 2-3 1 0 0 0 2

McClung 1-3 1 3 3 2 0

Coffey H,14 2-3 0 0 0 0 0

Hoffman S,21-23 1 1 0 0 0 1

Cincinnati

H.Bailey L,1-1 5 1-3 6 7 7 4 3

Masset 2-3 3 1 0 0 0

Roenicke 2 4 1 1 0 4

Manuel 1 1 0 0 0 0

HBP—by H.Bailey (Kendall). WP—Looper. Umpires—Home, Bill Miller; First, Derryl Cousins; Second, Brian Runge; Third, Kevin Causey. T—3:21. A—23,579 (42,319).