Death. Taxes. Eric Thames dingers.
The Brewers majestically-bearded first basemen tied Jeromy Burnitz’ club record for consecutive games with a home run as his third inning clout gave the Brewers the lead for good in a thrilling 6-3 victory against the World Champions Monday night.
The game’s first few frames foretold a back-and-forth slugfest, as both teams traded runs to open the game. Ryan Braun kicked off the scoring in the first with his fifth tater of the year, a two-run shot that sparked a second chorus of boos from the Wrigley faithful who have never benefited from the services of a PED user.
The Cubs fired right back, when a two-out hit from Ben Zobrist scored Kyle Schwarber. Chicago’s leadoff man had reached on a bunt single that painted the line and slowly rolled into third base as Travis Shaw watched helplessly.
The Brewers re-opened a two run lead in the top of the second on a leadoff dong from Jett Bandy, but Chicago erased the lead in the bottom of the frame on an Alberto Almora Jr. doubled down the left field line. The hit scored Jason Heyward and Miguel Montero, who might have been erased but for a single of dubious merit by the latter, which appeared to glance off the glove of Chase Anderson and then dribbled under the glove of a sliding Orlando Arcia.
Anderson struggled through the first two innings, allowing three runs on five hits and generally falling behind hitters or leaving meatballs over the plate. He settled down after that, allowing no more runs over five total innings and securing his second win of the season.
Thames put the Brewers back on top in the third with his National League-leading seventh home run of the season, and sixth in the last five games. Thames was 3-for-4 on the day with another extra base hit, a double in the first, and is now slugging an even 1.000 this season. His 285 wRC+ leads the league by a wide margin, and he’s making David Stearns look like an absolute genius for signing him out of the KBO last winter.
The game settled down after that, with both teams remaining scoreless until the top of the eighth, when Ryan Braun contributed a pair of Badger Mutuals. His double knocked in Thames, and then he stole third and subsequently scored on a throwing error by Willson Contreras.
Neftali Feliz, whose name literally means “Happy Struggle,” had a very himself inning in the ninth during his first real brush with adversity this season. The first two men in the inning reached and he fell behind Albert Almora Jr. 2-0, cruelly raising the hopes of long suffering Cubs fans. He ripped out their hearts with a broken bat dribbler to third that turned into a 5-3 double play that all but ended the threat. A Schwarber strikeout later, the Brewers were winners of their sixth game in seven tries and tied for first in the NL Central.
On Deck: Jimmy Nelson will try to continue the Brewers recent run of dominance when he toes the mound tomorrow for your first place Milwaukee Brewers. He’ll square off with Brett Anderson at 7:05 PM CST from Wrigley Field.