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Votto helps Reds forge tie against Brewers

Votto helps Reds forge tie against Brewers

PHOENIX -- Brewers Spring Training star Khris Davis hit two more towering home runs and drove in five runs, Reds regular-season star Joey Votto homered and drove in three runs and the teams slugged their way to a 9-9 tie at Maryvale Baseball Park on Saturday.

Votto's seventh-inning solo homer sparked a four-run Reds rally over the final three innings that gave Cincinnati a 9-8 lead entering the bottom of the ninth. But Milwaukee's Donnie Murphy led off the bottom of the frame with a double, advanced on a wild pitch and scored the tying run when Lance Roenicke -- the son of Brewers manager Ron Roenicke -- lined a single to center field.

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The Brewers' rally fizzled there. The teams had decided before the ninth that they would not play extra innings.

The star of the game was Davis, a Brewers Minor League left fielder who has seen significant playing time with Ryan Braun away at the World Baseball Classic. Davis has hit six homers this spring including one in an exhibition against Team Canada and with Saturday's 3-for-3 afternoon is batting .364 in official Cactus League at-bats. He could have a harder time finding at-bats after Sunday, when Braun returns to Brewers camp.

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez and center fielder Logan Schafer each collected two hits and an RBI for the Brewers, who took a 5-1 lead in the first inning, saw the Reds fight back into a 5-5 tie, then pushed ahead in the bottom of the third when Davis hit a two-run homer off Cincinnati starter Mike Leake.

Davis homered again in the fifth inning against left-hander Sean Marshall.

Leake was knocked around over 3 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits.

The Reds were a split squad but sent an "A" lineup to Maryvale, featuring longtime Brewers tormentors Votto and Jay Bruce. Each had two hits against Brewers starter Mike Fiers, including a bloop two-run single for Votto and a pair of well-placed doubles for Bruce, one down each foul line. Votto added another hit in the seventh inning, an opposite-field, solo home run off left-hander Travis Webb that cut the Reds' deficit to 8-6.

Fiers surrendered five earned runs on eight hits and two walks over four innings. He struck out four, but saw his Cactus League ERA rise to 4.41.

He is not the only one of the Brewers' young pitchers to take some lumps lately. Manager Ron Roenicke said he was not concerned yet, and reiterated that the Brewers are comfortable with their internal pitching candidates.

"We saw what they are last year," Roenicke said. "We saw where we think they can be. Coming into Spring Training and worrying about these young guys -- we're still halfway through March, and I don't think that's a panic time for a young pitcher to be locked in."

Up next: The Reds return to Goodyear Ballpark on Sunday for a 4:05 p.m. ET game vs. the Indians. Mat Latos will be making his fourth start of the spring and Jonathan Broxton will be among those who follow from the bullpen. The status of former Indians star Shin-Soo Choo is in doubt after he was scratched from Saturday's game vs. the Brewers with back spasms. Choo has seven hits in his last nine at-bats.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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