Nobody had to tell Ryan Braun he hadn't been swinging the bat well.

"The last week or two, my swings probably fluctuated somewhere between terrible and awful," said the Milwaukee Brewers' star rightfielder.

That changed in a big way Saturday night when Braun snapped out of a 7-for-43 skid (.163) in dramatic fashion. Jumping on a first pitch from Cincinnati reliever J.J. Hoover, Braun drove a two-run home run to right field with one down in the eighth inning to provide the winning runs as the Brewers toppled the Reds, 4-2, before 40,507 fans at Miller Park.

Braun actually had shown signs of snapping out of his drought in his previous two at-bats — a line drive to shortstop and a drive to deep center. But outs are outs, and hard-hit ones can be even more frustrating when you're knee-deep in a slump.

"Throughout that time period, I hit quite a few balls hard at people," said Braun. "But those two at-bats were an encouraging sign. All you can do as a hitter is hit the ball on the barrel.

"I've said it many, many times. You have very little control over results, so you just continue to compete every day, continue to put your work in and believe in the process. I've played this game long enough. I deal with this inevitably at some point every year.

"It's not fun, it's always frustrating but eventually things work themselves out."

Braun's home run allowed the Brewers to pull out a game that for the longest time was a tense pitchers' duel between right-hander Yovani Gallardo and Cincinnati's Mat Latos, making his first start of the season after coming off the disabled list. Gallardo allowed a first-inning run but that was it during a seven-inning stint in which he struck out eight.

It was the second consecutive strong outing for Gallardo, who shut out Pittsburgh over seven innings on the Brewers' last trip.

"I've felt pretty good the last two starts," said Gallardo, who allowed six hits and two walks. "The starts before that I would just get out of my rhythm. I was able to make pitches tonight.