Thames' walk-off blast lifts Crew over Rox
MILWAUKEE -- Eric Thames wasn't looking for anything in particular when he stepped in against Wade Davis with two on and two out in the ninth inning Friday night.
He just wanted a good pitch to hit.
"The last two or three games, I've been jumping at the ball, not really trusting with my eyes and my hands," Thames said. "So, I tried to jump at a fastball and it was curveball and it bounced 10 feet in front of the plate.
"I was like, 'OK, see the ball and trust whatever happens, happens.'"
What happened was a fastball down the middle that Thames crushed to right for a three-run, walk-off homer that gave the Brewers a 5-3 victory over the Rockies, snapping a two-game skid.
"I got a pitch to hit and I didn't miss it," Thames said. "That was awesome, awesome. Seeing it, feeling it with that sweet spot off the bat and then seeing the team's reaction and everything and the crowd, that was an awesome moment."
Thames' 15th homer of the season came after he fell just short in the second and fifth innings, when he drove balls to the track in left and center, respectively.
"That first one was the best swing of the day because it was a changeup away and I was able to keep it fair, and kind of get that loft on it," Thames said. "It's tough to go [opposite] straight away left field in this park. Now, I know I should've pulled it a little bit more toward the bullpen.
"I feel like I was good today, I was swinging at strikes for the most part, but that last at-bat definitely made my night."
The Brewers, too. After a 21-5 drubbing in Los Angeles on Thursday night, they didn't return to Milwaukee until after 5 a.m. Friday.
Starting pitcher Junior Guerra was sent back ahead of time, though, and was able to get a full night's sleep. So while the Brewers' offense scuffled against Rockies right-hander German Marquez, Guerra kept Colorado's potent lineup at bay for most of the night.
Guerra only allowed three runs on the day, all of them coming via home runs by Trevor Story and Carlos Gonzalez. Story connected on a first-pitch hanging slider to open the fifth inning, while Gonzalez dug up a 3-2 splitter in the sixth for his 14th of the year, a two-run shot that gave the Rockies a 3-1 lead.
"The splitter I threw to Gonzalez was probably the best one I through all day," Guerra said. "I think he was waiting for it and he got it."
He struck out six while working a season-high eight innings.
"Junior was outstanding," manager Craig Counsell said. "The only two hard-hit balls of the night were the two home runs. He pitched his best game of the year, I thought."
Marquez gave way after seven innings, having held the Brewers to just two runs on three hits while striking out nine. Milwaukee opened the game with back-to-back walks, then took a 1-0 lead on Mike Moustakas' RBI single. But Marquez then retired 15 straight batters before Christian Yelich made it a 3-2 game when he opened the sixth with his 17th home run of the season.
Marquez got out without further damage and Adam Ottavino worked a perfect eighth before handing things over to Davis, who blew a save one night earlier at St. Louis.
Davis struck out Moustakas to open the inning, but followed with walks to Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw. That put the tying and winning runs on for second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts already on Friday and 0-for-11 since coming over in a Deadline deal with Baltimore.
Schoop battled, but ultimately popped up back to Davis before Thames stepped in and ended it.
"We made [Davis] work and on his 28th pitch, we got the home run," Counsell said. "The walks were good. Johnny had a good at-bat and fouled off some pitches and Eric got him."
Davis has now blown three straight save opportunities against the Brewers, beginning with Shaw's walk-off homer last September when Davis was pitching for the Cubs. That home run, as well as Manny Pina's two-run shot off Davis earlier this season in Colorado, were on the Brewers' minds as the got the inning started.
"One of our guys was talking about last year when Shaw hit the walk-off against Chicago off Davis," Thames said. 'You remember that? Let's go, let's get 'em again.'
"We did, and we got the 'W.'"
• Albers' confidence not wavering
Guerra's eight-inning effort marked the first time a Brewers starter went that deep in a game since Jimmy Nelson did so against Tampa Bay on Aug. 6 of last season. Brewers starters worked seven innings on nine occasions this season, most recently Tuesday when Wade Miley covered seven in a 2-1 victory against the Dodgers.
HE SAID IT
"I bet half the team will be asleep in 15 minutes." -- Thames, when asked if the team would have a hard time falling asleep after his walk-off homer
Rookie right-hander Freddy Peralta gets the nod Saturday evening at 6:10 CT as the Brewers continue their weekend series with the Rockies at Miller Park. Peralta earned a no-decision his last time out, holding the Dodgers to a run on three hits over four innings of work. He's held opponents to a .155 (25-for-161) batting average through his first nine big league starts, striking out 63 in 47 1/3 innings of work. Peralta matches up against Rockies southpaw Tyler Anderson.