MILWAUKEE -- Eric Thames was not aware that walk-off home run celebrations had become so violent in his three years away from Major League Baseball. He found out Friday.Teammates doused Thames with water and Gatorade and ripped off his jersey after he bounced a game-winning home run off the top
MILWAUKEE -- Eric Thames was not aware that walk-off home run celebrations had become so violent in his three years away from Major League Baseball. He found out Friday.
Teammates doused Thames with water and Gatorade and ripped off his jersey after he bounced a game-winning home run off the top of the wall for the second straight night. Thursday's came on the road against the Cardinals, but Friday's was in front of friendly fans at Miller Park, where the Brewers celebrated a 6-5 win over the Padres in 10 innings by pushing their burly first baseman around a bit.
"I didn't know about the jersey rip-off and the undershirt rip-off," Thames said, laughing. "It's like, my nipple is hanging out, I've got all these drinks in my eyes. My eyes are still burning from it, but obviously it's great the guys are having fun."
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Thames has fueled the fun the past two nights. He connected against Cardinals closer Seunghwan Oh for a go-ahead, two-run homer in Thursday's 8-6 win at Busch Stadium, a line drive that bounced off the top of the wall in right field and over.
About 24 hours later, Thames went the other way. This home run, against Padres left-hander Ryan Buchter, was of the towering variety -- Thames' 41 degree launch angle, according to Statcast™, was the highest for a Brewers homer this season. Padres outfielders Franchy Cordero and Allen Cordoba converged on the warning track in left-center field, but neither was in the right location to catch the ball as it bounced off the top of the wall and into the Brewers bullpen.
"It's like, 'Go, go, go!'" said Thames. "I was kind of blowing a little bit, and I guess it worked. Two home runs in two nights by a matter of inches. Ain't baseball a funny game?"
In both dugouts, it took a moment to realize the game was over.
"I think it's catchable," Padres manager Andy Green said. "I think you'd love to see it caught and brought back."
Said Brewers center fielder Keon Broxton: "I was shocked that they didn't catch it. Thank God they didn't."
"As soon as our bullpen went nuts, we all went nuts," said Brewers reliever Jared Hughes, who had already vacated that bullpen to pitch a scoreless top of the 10th. "We saw the bullpen go crazy, and that meant it was out, in my opinion. Those guys are always right."
With that, the celebration was on.
Thames' home run was his 19th this season, keeping pace with the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman and Reds' Joey Votto for the National League lead. Five of those home runs have come this month, but Thames entered Friday's 3-for-5 performance with a .174 batting average and .321 on-base percentage in June, his lowest marks this season.
Hamstring tightness has hampered him since an 11-homer April, but Thames indicated he'd altered his thinking on that of late.
"I made a change in my mind to just grind it out," Thames said. "Don't make excuses, don't complain. My leg will get healthy when it's healthy. It's feeling better, but a lot of it's mental for me. I'm trying to grind it out with the team."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.