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Aguilar's 19th home run ties him for NL lead

Brewers first baseman has eight home runs in last nine starts
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

CINCINNATI -- Jesus Aguilar has gone from the Brewers' roster bubble to the top of the National League's home run leaderboard.

The slugging first baseman hit his 19th home run Thursday to tie the Rockies' Nolan Arenado and the Nationals' Bryce Harper for the NL lead, and he pulled the Brewers into a temporary tie with the Reds in the third inning of Milwaukee's 6-4 win at Great American Ball Park. It was Aguilar's eighth home run in his last nine starts.

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CINCINNATI -- Jesus Aguilar has gone from the Brewers' roster bubble to the top of the National League's home run leaderboard.

The slugging first baseman hit his 19th home run Thursday to tie the Rockies' Nolan Arenado and the Nationals' Bryce Harper for the NL lead, and he pulled the Brewers into a temporary tie with the Reds in the third inning of Milwaukee's 6-4 win at Great American Ball Park. It was Aguilar's eighth home run in his last nine starts.

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"It's 'Aggie' time right now," Brewers pitcher Junior Guerra said.

Playing time was hard to come by early in the season for the 27-year-old Venezuelan, who made Milwaukee's Opening Day roster as the team's third-string first baseman. Injuries to Eric Thames and Ryan Braun meant opportunity for Aguilar, and he capitalized beginning with his first home run on April 19.

No one in the Majors has hit more baseballs over fences than Aguilar since then, though Thursday's homer off Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani was not exactly smashed. At 91.4 mph off his bat, it was the Brewers' softest-struck home run since Statcast™ started tracking in 2015. Aguilar's 19th homer traveled a projected 351 feet.

Video: MIL@CIN: Aguilar skies his NL-tying 19th home run

"He just barrels everything, and if he doesn't, it's still a hit somewhere on the field," said Thames, who also homered Thursday for the Brewers' first lead. "He's incredible. He's quick and he's on the field every day, every inning. He's carrying our team right now."

Aguilar isn't on the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot (the Brewers listed Thames at first base), but his teammates have been using social media to promote a write-in campaign. Aguilar could also make the NL squad via MLB.com's Final Vote contest, the player ballot or as a selection of Major League Baseball and NL manager Dave Roberts.

"I can't control any of that," Aguilar said. "I've just got to keep doing what I've been doing. It'd be a real blessing if I got an opportunity to go there, but other than that I just try to do my job and help the team win."

He has been remarkably productive with two strikes. Including Thursday, 10 of Aguilar's 19 home runs, and 32 of his 54 RBIs, have come in two-strike counts, the most in the Majors in both categories.

"It's almost like you're not surprised by Aggie," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's been such a tough at-bat."

What's the secret to doing damage with two strikes?

"I try not to guess," Aguilar said. "I try to look for a pitch I can put in play and not guess while I'm up there. Look for a ball I can do something with."

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

Milwaukee Brewers, Jesus Aguilar