Milwaukee closed within two games of Colorado for the National League's second wild card with three games left, rallying to beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 Thursday as Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning.
"This team is relentless. We keep fighting," Phillips said. "These are must-win games. Going to St. Louis for three, we owe it to each other to play hard and that's what we're going to do."
Milwaukee (84-75) closes the regular season at St. Louis, and the Rockies host the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Brewers are assured of their best record since finishing 96-66 in 2011, when they lost to the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series — Milwaukee's last playoff appearance.
"To take it to the last weekend, it means a lot," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "That we're jumping on a plane with three games left and with some possibilities is exciting and well-deserved for those guys."
After Cincinnati tied the score in the sixth on RBI singles by Scooter Gennett against starter Brent Suter and Jesse Winkler off Oliver Drake, Jared Hughes (5-3) entered with two on. The Reds loaded the bases when the reliever bobbled Jose Peraza's bunt for an error.
Hughes struck out Adam Duvall and got Stuart Turner to ground into a double play.
"That was my best shot — throwing a strike and getting a ball put in play," Hughes said. "It just so happened that it worked out that way."
Anthony Swarzak worked around three walks in two hitless innings, and Corey Knebel struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 39th save in 45 chances.
Patrick Kivlehan's fourth-inning homer off Suter put Cincinnati ahead, but Orlando Arcia's sacrifice fly against Sal Romano (5-8) tied the score in the bottom half. Neil Walker hit an RBI double in the fifth and scored on Ryan Braun's single for a 3-1 lead.
Suter gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings. Romano allowed four runs — three earned — and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.