CINCINNATI — Back in the majors after four seasons, Eric Thames is just trusting his instincts.
Thames homered for the second straight night and drove in three runs, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 10-4 Friday night.
Thames’ third home run of the season capped Milwaukee’s four-run sixth inning against a Cincinnati bullpen that went into the game with a National League-best 1.13 ERA. Blake Wood (0-1) allowed three hits and three runs, including Jonathan Villar’s tiebreaking double off the glove of right fielder Patrick Kivlehan. Thames followed with a two-run shot into the right field seats off left-hander Wandy Peralta.
“I was trying to ambush him,” said Thames, playing in the majors for the first time since 2012 after spending a season in the minors and three in Korea. “I know he throws hard. I was thinking too much. I decided to just react. I just reacted and got the barrel on it and let my body flow. I took my mind out of it.
“It’s a long season. I’m sure I’ll see him again and he’ll get his share of strikeouts. I’ll just keep learning.”
Reds manager Bryan Price marveled at how quickly it all unraveled.
“We had a hit batter, a two-strike hit, another two-strike hit and a two-strike home run and they took the momentum right away from us,” he said. “(Wood) looked so good against (Domingo) Santana. He attacked the zone. I can’t complain about his approach.”
Manager Craig Counsell was impressed that the left-handed Thames homered off a lefty specifically brought in to face him.
“The guy threw him a couple of pretty good sliders and a fastball in off the plate,” Counsell said. “That was a pretty good at bat. Every one of his at bats is a quality at bat. It has an intent to it.”
The Brewers, who had a season-high 12 hits, broke the game open with a four-run seventh, including pinch-hitter Nick Franklin’s two-run triple, en route to their fourth straight win.
Zack Cozart hit a two-run homer in the second inning and Joey Votto added a solo shot in the third to give the Reds a 3-0 lead against Tommy Milone (1-0), who allowed three runs and six hits in five innings with no walks.
Milone and relievers Jhan Marinez, Jacob Barnes and Oliver Drake — making his Brewers debut — combined to allow just one unearned run over the last six innings.
Reds starter Scott Feldman allowed four hits and five walks, two more than his combined total from his first two starts. He walked the bases full with one out in the fifth inning before getting Domingo Santana to ground into a double play.
“On a night like this, the best thing I can take was I kept the team in the game,” Feldman said. “I didn’t have good command at all.”
“Feldman got his pitch count up, but he battled,” Price said. “That 3-0 lead didn’t feel like it was safe.”
Rookie catcher Manny Pina extended his hitting streak to five games with four hits, including a two-run double in the fourth that cut Cincinnati’s lead to 3-2.
Academy Award-winning actor Casey Affleck was a press box visitor in the fourth inning. Affleck, the most recent Best Actor for “Manchester By The Sea,” is in Cincinnati filming a movie with Robert Redford.
NEW FACE I
RHP Oliver Drake joined the Brewers after being acquired from Baltimore late on Thursday for a player to be named or cash. He brought an 8.10 earned-run average in 3 1/3 innings over three Oriole appearances before pitching the final two innings on Friday.
NEW FACE II
The Reds recalled OF Jesse Winker from Triple-A Louisville before Friday’s game. He pinch-hit in the ninth, becoming the fifth Reds player to make his major league debut this season.
Brewers: C Andrew Susac went 1 for 4 with an RBI on Thursday in the first game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Colorado Springs. Susac went on the 10-day disabled list on April 2 with trapezius tightness.
Reds: RHP Sal Romano will be recalled from Triple-A Louisville to start on Sunday in place of RHP Rookie Davis, who is on the 10-day disabled list with a bruised right forearm.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies, who retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced in his last start on Sunday against the Cubs, will try to build on that fast finish in his third start of the season on Saturday.
Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan celebrates his 24th birthday with his third start of the season on Saturday. He allowed four hits and five walks while pitching only into the third inning of his last start on Monday in Pittsburgh.