MILWAUKEE — When the Milwaukee Brewers signed first baseman Eric Thames to a three-year, $16 million contract, they were simply hoping for production. So far, he’s made that contract look like a bargain.
Thames blasted his 19th home run of the year in Friday night’s 6-5 win over the San Diego Padres, hitting a milestone along the way. His walk-off home run in the 10th inning was the first of his Major League career.
But Thames wasn’t the only one to go yard in Milwaukee’s fourth-straight win. Travis Shaw hit a solo home run in the second inning, followed by Keon Broxton’s three-run dinger in the fourth that erased a 4-0 deficit. Manny Piña would add another solo bomb in the eighth prior to Thames’ game winner.
Milwaukee’s Junior Guerra struggled with command on the mound, walking four batters in six innings of work. That lack of command led to four runs (three earned) scoring for San Diego, including a pair of home runs. The Brewers late-inning relievers shut the door on any comeback attempt for the Padres, with Corey Knebel striking out a pair in his single inning of work. Jared Hughes picked up his third win of the year after pitching a scoreless 10th.
Milwaukee got contributions from all over its roster on Wednesday night to beat the San Francisco Giants 6-3 and reclaim sole possession of first place in the NL Central.
Starter Jimmy Nelson went six innings for the Brewers, giving up three runs on seven hits and striking out six to pick up his fourth win of the year. It wasn’t the dominating effort he’d given the last two times out, but it was good enough.
“Tough to be as sharp as his last outing, for sure, but he battled through it,” manager Craig Counsell said afterwards. “He just competed really well and got through it.”
Nelson turned things over to a bullpen that had been shaky of late, but they were lights out against San Francisco. Jared Hughes, Jacob Barnes and Corey Knebel didn’t allow a hit in their three innings of work while striking out four of the 10 batters they faced.
The offense was a group effort, with six different players driving home a run, including a homer from Domingo Santana in the first inning. After falling behind 3-1, Milwaukee took the lead in the fifth courtesy of a Jesus Aguilar two-out double, which proved to be the winning hit.
The Brewers win and a Chicago loss to Miami allowed the Crew to go one-game up on the Cubs in the NL Central race. They’ll close out their series with the Giants this Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.
A four-run sixth inning was enough to get the Chicago Cubs past Milwaukee with a 9-7 win on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.
Jimmy Nelson had a 7-4 lead heading into the bottom of sixth but couldn’t hold it. After retiring the first batter, he proceeded to give up three hits and a run before manager Craig Counsell pulled him. Insert Jared Hughes, who couldn’t stem the Cubs momentum, giving up a triple to Jon Jay that scored a pair, followed by a wild pitch that allowed Chicago to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Hughes got the loss, but Nelson’s line wasn’t pretty either. After two really good outings to start the year, he got tagged with seven runs on nine hits and gave up a pair of home runs.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s offense kept rolling along, led by first baseman Eric Thames. Though he didn’t hit a home run for the first time in five games, the lefty did go 3 or 4 from the plate and scored twice. Third baseman Travis Shaw had a pair of doubles and three RBI’s on the night, while outfielder Domingo Santana knocked in a couple runs as well.
The loss was just the second in the last eight games for Milwaukee.
The two teams will play the rubber match of their three-game series this afternoon at Wrigley Field.