On Thursday night, a day after losing starter Chase Anderson to an oblique strain, the Brewers needed innings out of their starter to rest the bullpen and a few runs. They got that, and more.
Milwaukee homered six times, including a pair of solo shots by Jonathan Villar and a three-run shot by Jesus Aguilar, in an 11-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the finale of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.
Ryan Braun, Manny Pina and Domingo Santana also went deep for the Brewers (42-39), who avoided the sweep and improved to 7-3 against the Reds this season.
"(Wednesday) was a tough game in a lot of ways," Counsell said. "We keep bouncing back from those tough games. We came back tonight to get the last game of the series in a big way."
Aguilar went 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and four RBIs, helping Milwaukee remain in sole possession of first place in the National League Central for the 40th day.
It was the sixth time in Brewers history that they homered six or more times in a game, the first time since 2007, when they also did it against Cincinnati.
The homers provided more than enough run support for right-hander Jimmy Nelson, who allowed only three hits and two runs in seven innings. Nelson (6-4) walked one and tied a career high with 11 strikeouts.
"You don't want to put too much pressure on yourself to go deep in a game, but I wanted to help the bullpen," Nelson said. "(Losing Anderson) is big for sure. We just have to step up as a rotation."
Right-hander Homer Bailey (0-2) made his second start since coming off the disabled list on Saturday. And, unfortunately for the Reds, the results were much the same.
On Saturday, Bailey allowed eight runs in 1 2/3 innings of an 18-3 loss at Washington. On Thursday, he was charged with six runs in three innings.
"He's getting his sea legs under him," said Reds manager Bryan Price, who was ejected in the third inning. "It's been the better part of three years since he's pitched at this level. His stuff is OK. I got to watch from the office. His location isn't good. This would be his early-season starts. He's a better pitcher than that."
Bailey was a strike away from retiring the Brewers in order in the first inning, but Braun hit Bailey's 1-2 pitch off the left field foul pole to put Milwaukee ahead 1-0.
Pina belted his sixth homer to right-center with one out in the second to make the score 2-0. Villar's seventh homer made it a three-run lead.
"The action on the pitches was there," Bailey said. "The velocity was there. I'm getting back to the speed of the game. I have to be a little bit sharper."
Hernan Perez doubled home the Brewers' fourth run in the third inning. The ball got lodged at the base of the wall, and Price asked for replay review to determine if it was a ground-rule double, which would have sent the runner back to third.
The call stood, and Price argued the decision with plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth. Price was ejected for the second time this season.
The whole sequence was made moot when Milwaukee erupted for four runs in the fourth inning off right-hander Kevin Shackelford, who was making his major league debut.
Villar, making his first start since coming off the disabled list on Tuesday, homered for the second consecutive at-bat, and Aguilar's three-run shot made the score 10-0.
"I'm just waiting for my turn," Villar said. "Whether I'm starting or coming in the middle of the game, I'll be ready."
Nelson held Cincinnati hitless until Votto's solo home run with one out in the fourth. Thursday was Votto's 13th career multi-homer game, first this season.
"You knew we were going to bust out of it, especially in a park like this," Nelson said.
NOTES: Milwaukee placed RHP Chase Anderson on the 10-day disabled list with a left quad strain. Anderson left the Wednesday game in the first inning after injuring himself while batting. ... Brewers RHP Jorge Lopez was recalled from Double-A Biloxi prior to the Thursday game, and he allowed a run and four hits over two innings of relief. ... Reds RHP Jake Buchanan, who had been designated for assignment, cleared outright waivers and was granted free agency. ... Brewers LF Ryan Braun's 24th career homer at Great American Ball Park moved him past Lance Berkman for most all-time by a visiting player there.