Thames, Garza lead Brewers past Reds 11-7

MILWAUKEE — Eric Thames increased his home run total to 10, while Matt Garza impressed in his season debut to give the Milwaukee Brewers an 11-7 win over the Cincinnati Reds Monday night.

Thames’ hot April continued early in the game, blasting his ninth and tenth home runs of the year in the first and second innings of the game. He’s now hit seven home runs against the Reds this season in just five games.

But Hernan Perez may have played just as big a role in Milwaukee’s win, bombing a three-run home run at the score board in the first inning. The Brewers are now outscoring opponents in the first inning 22-7. That early run support made Garza’s job easier, striking out four batters during his four innings of work. He allowed just one earned run, but Cincinnati was able to grind out his pitch counts to 93 before his day was over.

Milwaukee is now a half game out of second place in the National League Central with two more games coming against Cincinnati at Miller Park.

Brewers can’t slow Reds in 7-5 loss

CINCINNATI — Eric Thames homered twice, but the Milwaukee Brewers still fell to the Cincinnati Reds Saturday afternoon at Great American Ballpark.

The former Korean star now leads Milwaukee with five home runs, but Cincinnati’s bats were hot as well, recording 11 hits in the win. Scooter Gennett drove in two runs against his former team, taking advantage of a bullpen playing from behind. Starter Zach Davies allowed three earned runs on five hits in five innings of work.

Reds starter Brandon Finnegan left after one inning on the mound due to a lat strain. Raisel Iglesias would pick up the win, throwing two innings of one-run ball.

Hernan Perez provided a silver lining for the Brewers, driving in three runs on a first-inning double and a sixth-inning solo blast that held up under umpire review. Perez finished 3-for-4 at the plate.

Braun headlines Brewers 2016 season awards

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was named the Most Valuable Player as part of a season-ending awards list released Monday by the Milwaukee chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Braun led the Brewers with a .305 batting average in 2016, adding a .903 OPS and driving in 91 runs.

The five-member panel selected Junior Guerra as the club’s Most Valuable Pitcher after leading the Crew with a 2.81 ERA and a 9-3 record.

Others earning recognition from the BBWAA were Jonathan Villar (Top Newcomer), Hernan Perez (Unsung Hero), and Chris Carter (Good Guy Award).

Villar and Carter were also considered by the panel for the MVP award.

Brewers’ win streak ends in 4-3 loss to Cardinals

ST LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals used a pair of two-run home runs in the third inning to get past the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 Friday night, ending Milwaukee’s three-game winning streak.

The Cardinals recorded just five hits in the game, but the Matt Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty blasts proved enough to beat the Brewers, while keeping St. Louis just ½ game back of the New York Mets for the second National League wild card spot. The Brewers logged nine hits, punctuated by a Scooter Gennett home run in the same inning as Carpenter and Piscotty.

Right fielder Hernan Perez was the only Brewers player with more than one hit, going two-for-four, but striking out twice. Jimmy Nelson takes his 14th loss of the season after allowing five hits and all four earned runs in six innings of work. Conversely, Carlos Martinez earned the win for St. Louis after going seven innings and allowing just two earned runs. Milwaukee recorded all nine of their hits against Martinez.

Milwaukee is still in contention for a National League wild card spot, but would be eliminated with 10 more losses.

Brewers call up top prospect Orlando Arcia

SAN DIEGO — The same night the Milwaukee Brewers traded away veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy, manager Craig Counsell announced the team would be calling up top shortstop prospect Orlando Arcia from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

“The thinking is it’s time to get started,” Counsell said following Monday’s game. “We’ve still got 55 games left, a good chunk of the season left, where we’re hopeful that it gives [Arcia] good experience going into next year”

The No. 1 prospect in Milwaukee’s farm system has 404 minor league at-bats in 2015 with a .267 batting average with eight home runs and 15 steals.

Arcia will get the start at shortstop Tuesday night in San Diego, bumping Jonathan Villar over to third base.  Counsell says he’ll have to find a new place for Hernan Perez, whose hot season continued with his eighth home run of the season in Monday night’s 7-3 loss.

Milwaukee is now tied for the most prospects (eight) ranked in the Top 75.

Brewers suffer second straight walk-off loss

PITTSBURGH — After a late rally, the Brewers tied the Pirates 2-2 but Josh Harrison turned a triple into a Little League home run, giving Pittsburgh the 3-2 win.

Milwaukee suffered a similar fate Sunday against Cincinnati, losing on a passed ball that allowed the Reds to score the walk-off run. Tuesday night, Harrison rook advantage of a throwing error to score the game-deciding run in the bottom of the ninth inning. After ripping a hit to center field, he decided to test the Brewers’ relay abilities after getting thrown out on a similar play the game before.

“I never broke stride. I was going to make them make perfect relays,” Harrison said. “The odds of that happening two games in a row, I was going to take my chances.”

Tyler Thornburg was pitching at the time, giving Harrison his second game-winner off Thornburg in as many years.

The Pirates had a scare in the second inning when starting pitcher Jameson Taillon was hit in the head with a ball scorched off the bat of Hernan Perez. He would remain in the game to pitch six innings of one-run baseball.

CBSSports.com Ranks Three Brewers In Top 25

MILWAUKEE — CBSSports.com compiled a list of the Top 100 players so far this season, ranking Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, shortstop Jonathan Villar, and outfielder Ryan Braun in the Top 25.

Lucroy is the highest-rated player on the list, checking in at No. 17. He’s described as “one of the top defensive catchers in baseball, and this season he’s healthy and hitting an an All-Star level.” Lucroy is currently batting .316 (second-best in his career) with a .342 on-base percentage (second best) and a .539 slugging percentage (career best).

Villar made the list at No. 20 and somewhat of a surprise, even for Brewers fans. Aside from his .307 batting average and 74 putouts this season, Villar’s biggest contribution has come on the basepaths. He leads Milwaukee with 21 stolen bases, with the next closest being Hernan Perez with seven.

Rounding out the list for the Brewers is Ryan Braun at No. 23. Although it’s a small sample size, Braun’s up to a career-best .337 batting average with a .406 on-base percentage. He’s been taking regular rest as he eases into the season following surgery for a herniated disc in his back, but so far it’s not had an extreme affect on his game.