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Brewers' 4 HRs back Nelson in win over O's

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MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Nelson pitched seven solid innings and the Brewers hit four home runs in a 6-2 win over the Orioles that moved Milwaukee 3 1/2 games ahead of the Cubs and the rest of the National League Central on the Fourth of July.

But you won't catch Nelson studying the standings just yet.

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MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Nelson pitched seven solid innings and the Brewers hit four home runs in a 6-2 win over the Orioles that moved Milwaukee 3 1/2 games ahead of the Cubs and the rest of the National League Central on the Fourth of July.

But you won't catch Nelson studying the standings just yet.

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Asked when he will start to take note, Nelson said, "After the last game is played and we're still up. You can't really look at it now. There's a lot of things that can happen. I was here in '14 when all that happened."

He was referring to a late-season collapse that cost the 2014 Brewers a spot in the postseason and began a plunge into rebuilding. Now they are ahead of schedule thanks to a wave of new players, including Eric Thames, Travis Shaw and Stephen Vogt, all of whom homered Tuesday to back Nelson's strong effort.

• Mental break paying off at plate for Thames

Video: BAL@MIL: Thames leads the way in big offensive day

Thames hit his 22nd and 23rd home runs, Vogt hit a two-run homer to open the scoring in the second inning and Shaw added a solo shot to back Nelson, who struck out eight and limited the Orioles to one unearned run on six hits and no walks on 87 pitches over seven innings. Brewers manager Craig Counsell had a fresh bullpen at his disposal, so he lifted Nelson for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh and covered the final two innings with Jacob Barnes and Carlos Torres, who finished off Milwaukee's fifth win in its last six games and sealed a series victory.

Orioles All-Star Jonathan Schoop hit his 17th home run off Torres in the ninth, but Baltimore played most of the day from behind. O's starter Ubaldo Jimenez was unable to build off his brilliant eight-inning start five days earlier against the Blue Jays, allowing five runs on six hits, including three homers, in five innings against the Brewers. He walked three and struck out seven.

Video: BAL@MIL: Jimenez K's Villar to begin outing

"These guys are leading the National League in home runs, and when you make those mistakes, they are going to make you pay for it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "[Jimenez] made three of them. … We made some bad pitches and they made us pay."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
They believe in Stephen Vogt: Vogt, an All-Star each of the past two seasons for the A's, has settled in nicely in his new home ballpark. Vogt has at least one RBI in all three of his Miller Park starts, beginning on Friday with a two-homer, three-RBI introduction against the Marlins and continuing Tuesday with his two-run shot off Jimenez in the second inning. The homer put the Brewers on the board and sparked a three-run frame.

"You want to prove yourself, no matter who you are," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "No matter how long you've been in the league, you want to prove yourself. He's gotten off to a heck of a start. He's been really valuable, swinging the bat really well. He's been a big part of a couple of wins."

Video: BAL@MIL: Vogt belts one to center, plates a pair

Vogt also earned praise from Nelson for his work behind the plate.

"Vogt did a really good job behind the dish," said Nelson. "His experience comes in huge, especially since he has seen those guys quite a few times [in the American League]. He did a great job game-calling."

Slide on by: Orlando Arcia turned a slide past third base into a Brewers run on Monday, but the Orioles' Adam Jones wasn't as fortunate in the second inning on Tuesday. He was at second base after a double right down the third-base line when Mark Trumbo's pop fly fell between Brewers Jonathan Villar and Domingo Santana in shallow right field. Jones tried to advance, but he slid through the bag and was an easy out for Shaw at third after collecting Villar's throw. The Orioles didn't have another hit off Nelson until the fifth.

Video: BAL@MIL: Villar recovers, throws out Jones at third

"Things aren't going our way right now, and they haven't been going for us," Orioles third baseman Manny Machado said. "The only thing we can do is keep grinding it out and keep putting together quality at-bats and pass the baton."

QUOTABLE
"All of the All-Star Game stuff and all of the pressure, let go. Now I'm just playing. Now everybody is kind of feeling the mojo off each other, so we're going to keep rolling." -- Thames, who has four hits including a trio of home runs -- and no strikeouts -- in three games since taking two days off last week.

Video: BAL@MIL: Thames powers a pair of solo shots

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Orioles won a challenge in the seventh, when Monday's winning pitcher, Brent Suter, entered the game as a pinch-runner for a hobbled Eric Sogard and was initially safe at second base on a fielder's choice. Second-base umpire Eric Copper ruled that shortstop Paul Janish hadn't kept his foot on the bag while preparing to make a relay throw to first, but that call was overturned, and Suter was out.

Video: BAL@MIL: O's challenge, Suter out after review

WHAT'S NEXT
Orioles: With Chris Tillman to be placed on the paternity list Wednesday, left-hander Jayson Aquino will start the series finale for the Orioles at 7:10 p.m. ET. The 24-year-old Aquino went 2-7 with a 4.46 ERA over 12 starts with Triple-A Norfolk this season. He has already made one start for the Orioles this season, allowing two runs over six innings against the Red Sox on April 22.

Brewers: Right-hander Matt Garza will take the mound for the Crew and go for a series sweep at 6:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday. He received a no-decision in his last start, a 3-2 comeback victory against the Marlins on Friday. While he hasn't faced the Orioles since May 27, 2014, the veteran starter is 9-1 with a 3.11 ERA in 13 career starts against them.

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

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.

Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Orioles on Tuesday.