Eric Thames' home run drought ends as Brewers blast Mets
NEW YORK -- Eric Thames sent a first-inning changeup from Jacob deGrom into the bullpen in right-center , 436 feet from home plate, for a two-run homer.
Thames hit his 13th home run on May 9. Slowed by a hamstring injury and strep throat, it took him three weeks to hit No. 14.
"I almost, like, dropped to my knees. That's what it feels like, to actually hit a barrel," Thames said after the Milwaukee Brewers' 7-1 win over the New York Mets on Wednesday night. "The last three weeks, I'd get fastballs, I'd swing -- foul ball or off the end."
Thames was signed by the Brewers after three seasons in South Korea, and his hot start is a big reason Milwaukee leads the NL Central.
He left an April 26 game with a tight hamstring but tried to play through it. Then he missed three games in San Diego from May 15-18 because of strep throat.
"My whole family was there to watch me play and then, like -- bam! Plane landed, coughing," he recalled. "That really set me back. I feel like my body was really exhausted."
He was in an 0-for-19 skid entering Tuesday, when he singled, tripled and walked twice. He reached four times for the second straight night Wednesday, also doubling and walking twice. He raised his average to .286 with 28 RBIs.
"Eric's back. He's clearly in a good place," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after his team won for just the third time in 10 games. "To have him back swinging good is a big sign for our offense."
Keon Broxton also went deep to give Junior Guerra a 3-0, second-inning lead. Guerra (1-0) allowed four hits in six scoreless innings , struck out four and walked three. It was his first win against the team that released him following a 50-game minor league drug suspension in 2009.
"I didn't even think about that," Guerra said through a translator.
A 32-year-old right-hander who went 9-3 last year in his first season with the Brewers, Guerra hurt his right calf while running to first on a bunt during his opening day start and did not return until Friday.
"I worked hard on trying to get back in good shape throughout my rehab," he said.
Eric Sogard walked on full counts in his first three plate appearances, then singled and flied out. Sogard saw 20 of deGrom's 105 pitches.
"I like to see pitches up there," he said. "I like to battle and get the right one."
DeGrom (4-2) threw 118 pitches last Friday at Pittsburgh and became the first Mets starter this year to reach the ninth inning. Against the Brewers, he allowed seven runs, eight hits and five walks in four innings, raising his ERA from 3.23 to 3.97. The right-hander has given up multiple homers in four starts, double his 2016 total.
"I was just bad tonight. Honestly, terrible," he said. "I couldn't throw the ball where I wanted to, falling over hard to the third base side."
New York, which didn't score until Michael Conforto's two-out RBI double in the ninth , had been trying to stretch a winning streak to four for the first time since early April. The Mets went 10-14 in April and 13-14 in May, the first time since 2013 they had losing records in both months.
"Tonight is on me," deGrom said.
Mets SS Asdrubal Cabrera made a diving stop of Hernan Perez's third-inning grounder and a glove flip to 2B Neil Walker, who caught the ball with his bare hand to force Travis Shaw. Perez just beat Walker's one-hop throw to first, avoiding a double play. In the sixth, Conforto made a diving catch on Perez's liner to left.
Mets C Rene Rivera, plunked by a pitch on the right wrist Monday, was hit in the mask by foul balls in the first, second and fourth. ... Conforto was hit on the right leg by a pitch in the seventh.
Domingo Santana said he lost track of the outs, which is why he didn't run hard from first base on Jett Bandy's bases-loaded popup with two outs in the seventh inning Tuesday night. Cabrera dropped the ball and two runs came across as Milwaukee tied the score 4-all, but Santana made it only to third and was stranded. The Brewers lost 5-4 in 12 innings. Santana said he was prepared to accept a fine from the players' internal kangaroo court. "I don't fine anybody," Counsell said. "The players do. You certainly discuss it. It's something that can't happen, for sure."
OUT OF CONTROL
Mets pitchers walked eight for the second straight night.
Mets LF Yoenis Cespedes, on the DL since April 28 with a strained left hamstring, did not play for the fifth straight day for Class A St. Lucie because of a sore right quadriceps. ... Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez is scheduled for partial knee replacement surgery Thursday.
RHP Chase Anderson (3-1) starts Thursday's series finale for the Brewers, and RHP Zack Wheeler (3-2) goes for the Mets. Anderson had a no-hit bid last Saturday until Nick Ahmed's leadoff single in the eighth at Arizona, setting career highs with 11 strikeouts and 114 pitches in seven-plus innings during a 6-1 win.