Joey Votto hit the big home run that was the game-winner.

But it was the Devin Mesoraco Show in the Reds' 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers before a crowd of 33076 at Miller Park Thursday night.

He had two hits a run scored a nice play on a pop up behind the plate for a critical out a caught stealing and an unassisted tackle (more on that later). He also directed the pitching staff through another solid performance.

"A lot of action" Mesoraco said. "Sometimes there's not as much action. Today I seemed to be in middle of a lot of things."

Mesoraco is hitting .307 over his last 24 games.

"He plays hard and he comes to play" Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It showed his maturity. He always plays hard. What stood out was the throw he made to second base. His confidence is a big part of his game."

The win was the fifth in a row for the Reds and eighth in their last nine games. It moved them to within 2 1/2 games of the lead in the National League Central.

"It's a good win for us" Baker said. "We pick up a game. . . Bigger or better things are ahead for us."

Rookie left-hander Tony Cingrani put up another solid start. He went 6 1/3 innings and allowed one run on four hits. He walked one and struck out nine. He threw 95 pitches 66 for strikes.

Most of Cingrani's strikeouts came on high fastballs.

"They swung at it the last two times I faced them" Cingrani said. "They kept swinging. So I kept throwing it there."

Cingrani is 6-2 with a 2.78 ERA. He has allowed three runs or fewer in 13 of his 14 starts.

Sam LeCure came in and got a huge double play. Manny Parra and Jonathan Broxton worked the eighth. Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for his 30th save.

Former Red Kyle Lohse (8-8) lost for the first time since the All-Star Break.

The Reds had a chance to take the lead in the first. Shin-Soo Choo led off with a walk. An out later Votto walked. Both runners advanced on Brandon Phillips' flyout to deep right-center. The Brewers intentionally walked Jay Bruce to get to Ryan Ludwick.

Ludwick lined the first pitch up the middle but second baseman Jeff Bianchi snared it with a dive. Bianchi landed well on the left field side of second base.

Cingrani retired the first five he faced -- three by strikeout. But he ran the count full against Khris Davis the rookie who replaced Ryan Braun on the Brewer roster. Cingrani grooved in a 91 mph fastball. Davis crushed it to left for his fifth home run of the year.