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Thames' 9th-inning HR lifts Brewers over Cards

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Eric Thames didn't think the ball was going to clear the fence. It just barely did, as the slugger's two-run shot in the ninth inning delivered the Brewers a 6-4 win over the Cardinals on Thursday night, and another series victory at Busch Stadium.

"I just tomahawked it, and the ball kind of went out," Thames said. "I was shocked. … I heard the team screaming from the dugout. That was awesome. Even when we came in here, everybody's real happy. That game meant a lot to us."

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ST. LOUIS -- Eric Thames didn't think the ball was going to clear the fence. It just barely did, as the slugger's two-run shot in the ninth inning delivered the Brewers a 6-4 win over the Cardinals on Thursday night, and another series victory at Busch Stadium.

"I just tomahawked it, and the ball kind of went out," Thames said. "I was shocked. … I heard the team screaming from the dugout. That was awesome. Even when we came in here, everybody's real happy. That game meant a lot to us."

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Thames' two-run homer came off Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh (1-3), and just made it over the right-field wall, as the Crew took three out of four games against the Cards. After going three years without a series win in St. Louis, the Brewers have two in the past month and a half.

"We did a heck of a job," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "A lot of guys did a heck of a job. Hats off to those guys in the bullpen tonight. Josh [Hader], Carlos [Torres] and Oliver [Drake] handled big innings in tight situations the whole way, six through nine, they did a heck of a job."

Video: MIL@STL: Drake nails down his first Major League save

With closer Corey Knebel unavailable, Drake closed out the Brewers' win with a perfect bottom of the ninth, notching his first career save.

Dexter Fowler homered and drove in a pair of runs for the Cardinals, while Matt Carpenter also collected two hits.

Carpenter heating up atop Cardinals' lineup

Both starting pitchers struggled. Brewers right-hander Zach Davies allowed four runs on nine hits over five innings, while Cardinals righty Michael Wacha surrendered four runs on seven hits in four-plus innings.

Video: MIL@STL: Wacha strikes out Thames swinging

"Didn't quite go as I had planned. Just didn't have the best command of the stuff tonight, and far too many mistakes," Wacha said. "Maybe trying to be a little too fine, never getting in a groove, too many walks. ... Got to do a better job of keeping the ball in the strike zone, pounding the zone and having better command."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Broxton's big blast: The Cardinals scored two runs in the first, but the Brewers answered in the second. Center fielder Keon Broxton tied the game with a two-run home run off Wacha that traveled an estimated 489 feet, per Statcast™, the second-longest home run in the Majors this season.

"I remember a ball like that in the Minor Leagues," Broxton said. "Tonight, I really didn't even think I got it that good. It just felt like a nice, smooth swing, and it hit the sweet spot. 489, that's pretty far. I didn't think I had that in me. So I shocked myself a little bit." More >

Video: MIL@STL: Statcast™ measures Broxton's 489-ft. homer

Clutch defense keeps it close: The Brewers loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth. Travis Shaw hit a go-ahead RBI single, making it 4-3, but right fielder Stephen Piscotty threw out Thames at home. The next batter, Hernan Perez, attempted to bunt, but reliever John Brebbia got Domingo Santana out at home. Brebbia then struck out Jett Bandy keeping it close after just one run scored in the frame.

"A lot of innings covered by our 'pen. Amazing job by Brebbia, coming in when he did," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He's kind of continuing to earn himself some more significant opportunities in big spots, and he's coming through. It's twice in a row now we've put him in back against the wall, and he's figured out how to get it done and keep the damage down and help Michael out. That's a lot we've asked of him so far, definitely this series with Milwaukee."

Video: MIL@STL: Brebbia whiffs Bandy to strand two runners

QUOTABLE
"A lot of people thought that we'd be in first place for like a week, and then we'd fall off and just kind of be like the team last year. But it's a whole new team. Guys feel the confidence. We feel the mojo. A lot of new faces, young faces." -- Thames, on the Brewers' sustainability

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Brewers are 14-2 this season when Thames homers.

ROUGH START
Brewers outfielder Lewis Brinson, the club's top prospect per MLBPipeline.com, struck out looking as a pinch-hitter against Brebbia in the sixth. Brinson has just one hit in his first 13 at-bats since being called up this past weekend.

WHAT'S NEXT
Brewers: Right-hander Junior Guerra (1-1, 2.45 ERA) opens a three-game home series against the Padres on Friday night at 7:10 p.m. CT. Guerra has posted a quality start in two of his last three outings.

Cardinals: Carlos Martinez (5-5, 2.95) will take the mound Friday night in Baltimore at 6:05 p.m. CT to open St. Louis' six-game road trip. Martinez is coming off his first career shutout last time out against the Phillies.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Nate Latsch is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis and covered the Brewers on Thursday.

Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis and covered the Cardinals on Thursday.

Eric Thames