Joey Votto, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez homered and Trevor Bauer dominated on the mound to lead the Cincinnati Reds to their most important victory of the season, though every victory from this point forward will fall into that category.

The Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1 on Wednesday to win the three-game series 2-1, moving ahead of the Brewers in the National League Central Division and wild-card races.

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Dozens of fans watched the game from outside the front entrance at Great American Ball Park. A television just inside the gate showed the game. This was the last of 30 home games in the pandemic-shortened 60-game season.

After Wade Miley, making his first relief appearance of the season on the day he returned from the injured list, recorded the final outs with a double play in the ninth, the Reds thanked members of the grounds crew, who cheered them all season in an empty stadium. They slapped hands with the groundskeepers before returning to the clubhouse.

The Reds play three more regular-season games on the road against the Minnesota Twins — that series starts Friday — and then will play on the road in the first round of the playoffs if they earn a postseason bid. If they advance past the first round, all their games will be played at a neutral site.

The Reds (29-28) lead the Brewers (27-28) by one game in the wild-card race. The Brewers close the regular season with five games in four days in St. Louis against the Cardinals, who began the day one game in front of the Reds and Brewers but were losing 6-0 to the Royals in the fourth inning Wednesday.

The Reds are off Thursday when the Brewers and Cardinals start their series, which includes a doubleheader Friday.

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For the second straight day, the Reds grabbed an early lead against the Brewers. Nick Castellanos hit a two-run home run in the first inning Tuesday, though the Reds didn’t score again and lost 3-2. This time, Votto hit a two-run home run in the first.

Winker followed with a solo home run in the fourth. Suarez hit a three-run home run in the fifth.

Bauer (5-4, 1.73 ERA), pitching on three days rest, made that lead stand up. He allowed one run on four hits and struck out 12 in eight innings. It was another strong statement in the race for the Cy Young Award. Bauer is trying to become the first Reds pitcher to win the award.

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