By JOE TOTORAITIS, Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Bryan Price knew exactly what Eric Thames did to carry the Milwaukee Brewers past the Cincinnati Reds.
Thames homered twice to raise his major league-leading total to 10, Hernan Perez added a three-run shot, Matt Garza pitched for the first time this season and the Brewers beat the Reds 11-7 on Monday night.
“He’s not missing,” Price said of Thames. “As the saying goes, you may get one good pitch to hit in your at-bat, you don’t want to miss it. He’s not missing it.”
The left-handed batting Thames got just enough muscle on an 0-2 pitch from Amir Garrett (2-2) to slice an opposite-field, two-run homer in the second. Thames extended his home run streak against the Reds this season to five consecutive games with a solo shot on a 3-2 pitch to right in the first. Perez’s three-run homer capped that inning.
“It’s not that every pitch he’s hit against us has been a terrible pitch,” the Reds manager said. “He’s hit some good pitches, too, but he doesn’t miss a mistake. That’s where we’ve gotten into a lot of trouble with him.”
Brewers manager Craig Counsell was equally impressed.
“The first at-bat, he (Garrett) threw him some good sliders,” Counsell said of Thames. “He wasn’t on the slider, and then 3-2, he was on the slider. I give Eric a lot of credit there.”
Seven of Thames’ 10 major league-leading home runs have come off the Reds’ hurlers, including five in the four-game series in mid-April at Cincinnati.
“You are facing good pitchers and good catchers that are smart and they study you and your holes,” Thames said. “You have to be that smart to be able to hit here.”
Garza, who strained his right groin at the end of spring training, was activated from the disabled list before the game. He threw 93 pitches — 57 for strikes — and was pulled after four innings. He allowed one earned run and four hits, walked three, struck out four and handed a 10-4 lead over to the bullpen.
Five relievers followed and Carlos Torres (1-2) picked up the win.
Garza singled in a run in the third after Perez’s RBI double. Jesus Aguilar grounded out with the bases loaded in the eighth for the final run.
The Brewers chased Garrett in the fourth on Ryan Braun’s run-scoring double and Manny Piña’s RBI single. The rookie left-hander allowed nine earned runs and eight hits in 3 1/3 innings. He walked four and struck out one.
Scott Schebler hit a two-out, three-run homer off Garza in the third. His fifth home run of the season followed shortstop Orlando Arcia’s fielding error on a routine groundball. Schebler doubled in a run in the ninth. Stuart Turner doubled in a run in the second and sixth for his first career multi-hit game. Jose Peraza added a two-out RBI single off Corey Knebel in the eighth.
Reds: RHP Rookie Davis (bruised right forearm) is scheduled to come off the 10-day disabled list and start Wednesday in place of RHP Tim Adelman, who will be bumped to start Friday in the opener of the weekend series at St. Louis. LHP Cody Reed moves to the bullpen.
Brewers: Braun fouled three pitches off his left foot in his first at bat, but stayed in the game until the bottom of the sixth. X-rays were negative. He is day-to-day. . LHP Brent Suter (0-0, 4.91 ERA) in five games was optioned to Triple-A in order to activate Garza.
BREWERS MR. APRIL
Thames became the first Brewers player to hit 10 home runs in the team’s first 21 games. He tied Carlos Lee (2006) for the most home runs (10) in franchise history for the month of April. Thames also matched the April club mark of 23 runs scored set by Paul Molitor (1987) and duplicated by Rickie Weeks (2008).
MESORACO ON THE MEND
Reds C Devin Mesoraco, on the 10-day DL after right hip surgery, is 18 days into a rehab assignment with Double-A Pensacola. Mesoraco likely would be activated for the weekend series in St. Louis.
Reds: RHP Scott Feldman (1-1, 2.38 ERA) makes his fifth start and second against the Brewers this season. He turned a 3-2 lead over to the bullpen on April 14, but Milwaukee scored four runs in the sixth off Blake Wood and Wandy Peralta and won 10-4.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (1-2, 8.24) makes his fifth start and second against the Reds this season. He is 2-1 with a 4.28 ERA in six career starts against them. He took a no-decision at Cincinnati on April 15.
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