20 homers in 6 games? Brewers might need a sturdier bell
MILWAUKEE -- At this rate, the Brewers will need a sturdier bell.
Willy Adames broke the team’s new good luck charm for the second time in as many days Thursday, when he belted two of the Brewers’ six home runs in a 10-5 win over the Reds at American Family Field to punctuate a power-packed homestand.
The Brewers took five of six games against the Pirates and Reds while smashing 20 home runs, a record for any six-game stretch of a season in franchise history. Thursday’s barrage, including five homers off hard-throwing Hunter Greene before the Reds' rookie could get a ninth out, meant more chances to ring the bell at the end of the dugout. It also meant an opportunity for Adames -- and most everyone else -- to learn that the dangly thing that makes a bell ring is called a clapper. Who knew?
“We need a stronger clapper,” Adames said.
For the second straight day, the Reds struck first. And for the second straight day, the Brewers’ struck back with a leadoff home run at the end of a marathon at-bat. Luis Urías hit his first 2022 home run on Greene’s eighth pitch of the afternoon, a 99.6 mph fastball. Christian Yelich hit another fastball out to go back to back. The Brewers reset the game at 3-3 in the first inning before Adames, Tyrone Taylor and Keston Hiura also went deep off Greene and bounced him from the game with two outs in the third.
When Adames homered again in the eighth, the Brewers were on their way to a three-game sweep in which they outscored the last-place Reds by a 34-12 margin.
“I wouldn't call it déjà vu, but it was really fun,” Adames said. “The guys, they came locked in, they came to compete and sweep the series. We knew we needed to do that.”
The Reds are in a rough stretch, to put it mildly. They have lost 20 of their last 21 games and fell to 3-22 overall to become the fifth team in MLB history to drop at least 22 of their first 25 games.
“Twenty?” said Yelich when told how many home runs the Brewers had slugged on the homestand. “Not bad for a team that can't hit, I guess.”
The 20-homer homestand came after the Brewers were limited to five home runs in their first 10 games and 15 home runs in their first 20 games. Adames shrugged off the sluggish start, citing the short spring and cold weather in stops like Chicago and Pittsburgh. The Brewers got hot in climate-controlled American Family Field and will have a chance to stay hot beginning Friday on a road trip to Atlanta, Cincinnati and Miami.
“April is just always a tough month, especially after this [short] Spring Training,” Adames said. “I feel like we needed time to get the timing right for everybody.”
The timing looked right over the past week. The Brewers slashed .307/.395/.668 and scored 54 runs on the homestand with a slew of individual breakthroughs. Rowdy Tellez was 10-for-23 (.435) with four doubles, four home runs and 13 RBIs. Yelich was 9-for-23 (.391) with nine runs scored, two doubles, three home runs, five walks and eight RBIs. Adames was 7-for-23 (.304) with two doubles, four home runs, five walks and nine RBIs. Urías was 4-for-9 (.444) with four runs scored, one home run, two RBIs and three walks after returning from the injured list for the series against the Reds.
“Baseball is a sport where you can do everything right and get a bad result or you can do everything wrong and get a good result. Trying to explain baseball, sometimes you're just wasting your time,” Yelich said. “Hopefully we can take this on the road and continue to play well.”
Next stop, Atlanta, where the Brewers’ season ended last year in the National League Division Series.
“They're a great team and, yeah, we lost there in the playoffs, but it's a different team, a different group,” Yelich said. “It's May. We obviously want to play really well and win those games, but they've still got the World Series ring whether they sweep us or we sweep them this series.”
The bell is expected in the visitors’ dugout at Truist Park. Adames will try to be more careful with it. Yelich, even after three hits in back-to-back games, is still waiting to ring it for the first time.
“I didn't ring it. I forgot,” Yelich said. “I don't know the rules.”
Said Adames: “That's the most fun I ever had on a homestand. Homers are fun. When you hit 20 on a homestand, that's impressive.”