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Latos goes 6 shutout innings in season debut, but Reds fall 4-2 to Brewers on Braun's 2-run HR

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MILWAUKEE - Mat Latos' first appearance of the season for Cincinnati went as well as could be expected in every way — except the final score.

Latos threw 87 pitches over six shutout innings in his season debut, giving up two hits while striking out four in the Reds' 4-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Latos, who started the season on the disabled list while recovering from elbow and knee surgeries, left with a 1-0 lead, but the Reds bullpen couldn't protect it, with J.J. Hoover yielding Ryan Braun's game-winning two-run home run in the eighth inning.

Latos retired the first four hitters he faced before giving up a single to Aramis Ramirez. He then retired 13 hitters in a row before Scooter Gennett outlasted him in a long at-bat with two outs in the sixth inning. Gennett, who several times just got a piece of the ball to stay alive, hit the 13th pitch into left field for a double.

Braun then hit a drive to the centre field wall that Billy Hamilton caught, prompting Latos to thrust his fist in the air.

Latos said it was emotional to be back on the mound.

"It has been a struggle to get where I was today," he said. "It is definitely good. The outcome kind of sucks, but that is baseball. They are in first place for a reason. You just got to come back strong tomorrow."

Reds manager Bryan Price said Latos did his job very well.

"I don't regret taking him out," he said. "I regret the result, the fact that we lost the game. He did exactly what we had hoped he would do."

Price said the Reds have to bounce back and try to win the series on Sunday.

"You have to be resilient in this game," he said. "There are a lot of guys that are upset, disappointed, frustrated by the game. We come back tomorrow and we got to come and play a good game."

With one out in the eighth inning, Gennett ended up with a double after blooping a ball to centre that Hamilton got his glove on but couldn't hold. Braun then drove the first pitch from reliever Hoover (1-5) over the right field fence for his 10th homer of the season.

Hoover said he was trying to get ahead on Braun.

"I kind of left it up a little bit," he said. "I tip my hat to him. He put a good swing on it."

Braun has been battling a hitting slump and said he was looking for a fastball from Hoover.

"We know a lot about Hoover and know he likes to throw the fastball," Braun said. "This is definitely encouraging and hopefully I can build off that and get going."

Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 21st save in 23 opportunities. Will Smith (1-0) got the win despite giving up a game-tying home run to Hamilton in the eighth inning.

Another encouraging sign for the Brewers was the performance of starter Yovani Gallardo, who went seven innings, allowing one run on six hits and two walks while striking out eight.

The Reds grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Brandon Phillips' RBI single.

The Brewers wasted no time in taking the lead after Latos left the game. Logan Ondrusek walked Jonathan Lucroy to start the seventh inning and Carlos Gomez lined a single. Both runners advanced on Ramirez's fly out and Lucroy scored on Khris Davis' groundout.

Rickie Weeks then singled to left to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead.

Hamilton tied the score in the bottom of the inning with his third home run of the season.

NOTES: To make room for Latos on the roster, the Reds put LHP Sean Marshall on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder. ... The Brewers signed the team's top three draft picks: LHP Kodi Medeiros, SS Jacob Gatewood and OF Monte Harrison. All three were at Miller Park Saturday and took batting practice before the game. ... The Brewers will start RHP Marco Estrada (5-3) in Sunday's series finale against the Reds' Mike Leake (3-6).

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