The Milwaukee Brewers have hit early and often to start the year. They did it again Thursday night in the opener of their first series against the rival St. Louis Cardinals.
The Brewers jumped out to yet another first inning lead when Travis Shaw hit the longest and hardest-hit home run in Major League Baseball so far this season, a 465-foot blast off the facing of the top deck in right field.
The @Brewers have hit a lot of homers this year.— #Statcast (@statcast) April 21, 2017
And @travis_shaw21's 113.8-mph rip is the hardest one yet. https://t.co/gcDEs9Uuey pic.twitter.com/E7IpKRrCbx
That, my friends, is Russell Branyan territory. It was Shaw's 4th home run in the past 5 games, and his third straight game visiting his home district of Ding Dong City.
Unfortunately, Zach Davies continued his struggle with location tonight and immediately gave that lead back in the top of the 2nd. After Davies loaded the bases with nobody out, Kolten Wong cleared them with a three-run triple to tie the game at 3.
Davies settled down for a bit after that, escaping the inning without allowing any more runs and keeping the Cardinals scoreless until the Top of the 5th, when Matt Carpenter homered to give St. Louis a 4-3 lead.
Eric Thames would pick up Davies in the bottom half of the inning, though, crushing his 8th home run of the year -- a two-run opposite field shot into the home bullpen that gave the Brewers the lead back at 4-3. Here’s what it sounded like in Korean:
Korean call (MBC Sports+) of Eric Thames' 8th HR of the year. You know you wanna hear it. #Brewers pic.twitter.com/Qp4smMWKXo— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) April 21, 2017
Somewhere in Chicago, John Lackey scratched his head.
Not wanting to fall behind in the recent Brewers trend of home run streaks, Jett Bandy tacked on two more runs for the Brewers in the 6th inning with a two-run shot to left. He's now homered in three straight games in which he's played, and 4 of his last 7.
But just like in Chicago, the Brewers' bullpen didn't want to make things easy. Jedd Gyorko went to the jerk store off of Jhan Marinez to lead off the 8th inning, cutting the Milwaukee lead to 7-5 with the solo blast. Carlos Torres finished the inning by striking out Dexter Fowler in a marathon at-bat with two runners on to end the threat.
With Corey Knebel and Neftali Feliz both unavailable after throwing 30 pitches on Wednesday afternoon, Jacob Barnes came on to try to nail down his first save of the year (and second of his career). After getting two outs to start the inning -- with an assist on a great stab by Jonathan Villar -- Barnes walked Stephen Piscotty to bring the tying run -- Yadier Molina -- to the plate. Barnes didn't lose his composure, though, getting Molina to weakly ground out without much problem for the final out.
The Brewers climb back above .500 at 9-8 with the win, while the last-place Cardinals fall to 6-10. They'll get back at it tomorrow night, with first pitch at 7:10 p.m. CDT. Wily Peralta will face off with Adam Wainwright.