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Thames smacks 6th April HR in return to lineup

Slugger has 17 homers in month since start of '17 season
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- There's something about Eric Thames in April. Especially when he gets to swing the bat against the Cincinnati Reds.

Returning from a minor groin injury to face his favorite opponent, Thames' two-run home run in the sixth inning was the difference in Milwaukee's 2-0 win at Miller Park.

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MILWAUKEE -- There's something about Eric Thames in April. Especially when he gets to swing the bat against the Cincinnati Reds.

Returning from a minor groin injury to face his favorite opponent, Thames' two-run home run in the sixth inning was the difference in Milwaukee's 2-0 win at Miller Park.

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It was Thames' sixth home run, on top of the 11 he hit last April, when the left-handed slugger returned to the U.S. on a three-year deal with the Brewers following three huge seasons in South Korea. Of his 17 April homers and counting over the past two years, nine have come at the Reds' expense. Of Thames' 37 home runs overall since returning, 11 have come against the Reds.

With Tuesday's shot off Reds right-hander Sal Romano, Thames tied the Nationals' Bryce Harper for the most April home runs in the Majors over the past two seasons.

And five of Thames' last seven hits have been home runs.

So he must be happy, right?

"No," Thames said. "I feel like I have a lot of bad habits. I'm doing certain things in the cage and stuff like that. I'm going back to my formula a little bit and changing my approach. That's going to help in the long run."

The long run is on Thames' mind, since his red-hot April last season preceded pedestrian numbers until a strong finish in September. Thames returned this season hoping to be more consistent.

He is off to a productive start, despite his own misgivings. Thames' batting average is .224, but his on-base percentage is .309, and he is slugging .633, tops on the team.

"He's in a good place," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "When he gets a pitch to drive, he's doing damage with it. He's hoping that his experience is going to help him moving forward this year. He's off to a good start, and that's the main thing."

Thames didn't play in Monday's series opener against the Reds after exiting Sunday's game against the Mets in New York with discomfort in his right groin.

He's looking for the Brewers' offense to get going.

"The whole team feels like we're on the brink of breaking out," Thames said. "A 10-run inning or something crazy like that. It's bound to happen."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Eric Thames