Raptors eliminate Bucks despite Antetokounmpo’s 34 points

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks went on a 34-7 run to erase a 25-point deficit, but were eliminated by the Toronto Raptors 92-89.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 34 points on 13-of-23 shooting, but he made perhaps a critical error that could have provided Milwaukee a better chance to win. Down by three with less than 11 seconds remaining, Antetokounmpo dribbled out the clock at the top of the key, but instead of setting up a three-point shot, he drove in for a dunk with 3.5 seconds left.

DeMar DeRozan drained a pair of free throws on the other end to extend Toronto’s lead back to three points and Milwaukee’s in-bounds pass was intercepted, handing the Bucks their third-straight loss in the series.

Milwaukee was leading the series 2-1 before heading back to the BMO Harris Bradley Center for game four. It’s the first time in Toronto history the Raptors have won three straight games in a playoff series.

Khris Middleton returned from an illness to score 19 points in 42 minutes of action. Matthew Dellavedova was next on the team in scoring with 12 off the bench.

Thames sets franchise-record, Brewers beat Reds 9-1

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Eric Thames mashed his 11th home run of the year, setting a franchise record for the month of April in a 9-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday night.

Thames now leads the majors in home runs, slugging percentage (.929), on-base plus slugging (1.411), and runs scored (25). Having faced steroid accusations for most of his life, Thames joked about the process following the win.

“This whole thing is surprising me, as well,” Thames said of his hot start to the season. “I really have no goals for this year. I wasn’t trying to break any records or set anything. I just wanted to apply what I learned in Korea to see how it would fare here. I’m shocked at all the results.”

“So, yeah, if people keep thinking I’m on stuff, I’ll be here every day. I have lots of blood and urine.”

But it was more than just Thames who contributed to the win. Hernan Perez hit a pair of RBI triples along with a home run, while Jonathan Villar added four RBIs. Zach Davies was masterful from the mound, throwing five innings of shutout baseball, striking out six Reds batters in the process.

Ryan Braun and Domingo Santana struggled at the plate, going 0-for-4 and 0-for-5, respectively.

The win puts Milwaukee two games out of first place in the National League Central behind the Chicago Cubs.

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.

Raptors blow out Bucks in Game 5 to take series lead

TORONTO — All five starters scored in double digits as the Toronto Raptors blew past the Milwaukee Bucks 118-93 in Monday night’s game five of the NBA playoffs.

Norman Powell had a playoff career-high 25 points to lead a Raptors team that shot nearly 58 percent from the field. Serge Ibaka followed with 19 points, six rebounds, and three blocks.

Fighting through an illness, Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton only contributed eight points in Milwaukee’s losing effort. Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in a game-high 30 to go with his nine rebounds.

Milwaukee started out sluggish, turning the ball over three times, while Toronto opened up an early lead. That lead grew to 19 late in the first half, but the Bucks were able to close it to six just before intermission. But coming out of the locker room, the Raptors slowly built the lead back up, grabbing 40 of the game’s 63 rebounds.

The series moves back to Milwaukee for a possible series-deciding game six on Thursday, with the Raptors holding a 3-2 series lead.

Leake dominates as Cardinals beat Brewers in series finale 6-4

MILWAUKEE — Mike Leake not only threw six innings of two-run baseball, but drove in two runs with his bat, giving the St. Louis Cardinals a 6-4 win Sunday over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Leake’s two-run single in the fourth inning put St. Louis ahead for good, with Ryan Braun coming up just short of a game-tying home run in the ninth inning. Leake also dominated on the mound, striking out six Milwaukee batters in his six innings of work. He picks up his third win of the year and his ERA dropped to 1.32 on the season.

“It doesn’t feel good, it is kind of like a dagger. It is one of the last things you want to do.”

That was leake’s reaction when asked about getting a hit against opposing pitcher Jimmy Nelson when Nelson got ahead in the count 0-2. Nelson would allow just one more earned run the rest of the way, but the damage had already been done after walking six batters.

The Cardinals got the job done without swinging for the fences. It’s the first time since Apr. 14, 2014 that St. Louis has left Milwaukee without at least one home run during the course of a series.

Big bats back Brewers in 4-2 win over Reds

CINCINNATI — The Milwaukee Brewers recorded three home runs on their way to a 4-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds Sunday afternoon at Great American Ballpark.

Milwaukee (7-6) now sits in second place in the National League Central after winning three games in the four-game series with Cincinnati. Ryan Braun, Travis Shaw, and Eric Thames all went yard in the win.

Thames is now tied for the MLB lead with six home runs on the season, while holding the outright lead in OPS (1.376).

“I can’t remember a time in my career where a guy hit five home runs in a single series,” Braun said of Thames. “We’re seeing a really, really impressive hitter starting to emerge.”

Wily Peralta had a solid performance, lasting six innings, while giving up just two earned runs to pick up his third win of the year. He allowed a home run to Eugenio Suarez in the fourth inning.

Bucks steal game 1 in Toronto 97-83

TORONTO — The Milwaukee Bucks hadn’t won a road playoff game one in 17 tries, but 28 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo helped snap that trend in a 97-83 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Antetokounmpo shot 72 percent from the field in the win, adding eight rebounds and two steals to the stat sheet. Perhaps more importantly, his supporting cast did their part, with five other Bucks players scoring in the double digits. Greg Monroe was particularly effective, logging 14 points and 15 rebounds off the bench.

Toronto scored just 32 points in the second half, struggling to 36 percent shooting overall. The Raptors couldn’t take advantage of 47 total rebounds, turning the ball over 10 times. DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 27 points and eight rebounds.

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.

Brewers extend win streak to four, reach milestone

CINCINNATI — The Milwaukee Brewers used a 4-for-5 day for Manny Pina and a two-run blast from Eric Thames to beat the Cincinnati Reds 10-4 and extend their winning streak to four games.

The run production broke through in the latter portions of the game, with Milwaukee able to push eight runs across the plate in the sixth and seventh innings. Most of that damage came against Blake Wood and Michael Lorenzen, whose respective ERAs rose to 6.75 and 5.14 on the year. The Brewers bullpen, on the other hand, allowed zero earned runs. The only run that scored was Arismendy Alcantara on a throwing error from Hernan Perez.

The victory not only moved Milwaukee up to third place in the National League Central, but put the Brewers (6-5) above .500 for the first time since late in the 2014 season.

Tommy Milone pitched under a bit of early pressure with the Brewers trailing 3-0, but he maintained his composure to throw five innings while striking out three. Those three runs allowed were the only marks against him on the evening.

Bucks clinch at least a six seed in playoffs with win over Hornets

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks can do no worse than a No. 6 seed in the postseason after taking down the Charlotte Hornets 89-79 Monday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists marked his eighth triple double of the season, in which the Bucks are 7-1. Tony Snell and Greg Monroe led Milwaukee in scoring with 16 points apiece, while holding Charlotte’s Frank Kaminsky III to three points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field.

The Bucks not only crashed the boards with a 45-39 advantage over the Hornets, but they shot 57 percent (16-of-28) from three-point range. They could improve in the turnover department, however, allowing Charlotte 16 opportunities to stay in the game.

Playoff Seeding Scenarios
MIL is a No. 6 seed with a win or a loss at BOS
MIL is a No. 5 seed with a win at BOS, plus two losses by ATL

If the Playoffs Started Today…
Bucks (6) vs Raptors (3): TOR leads season series 3-1
Last game: Mar. 4 | MIL 101, TOR 94

Milwaukee’s win over Charlotte gave the Bucks a 42-39 record, securing a winning season for just the sixth time in the last 26 years.