Eric Thames has a penchant for game-changing home runs this season.

Thames hit a two-run homer that accounted for the game’s only runs as the Milwaukee Brewers slipped past the Minnesota Twins 2-0 on Tuesday. Thames has three home runs in the past six games.

”I’d say that’s a hot streak Jarrad Davis Jersey ,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

Eight of Thames’ 12 homers have put the Brewers on the board and seven have given his team a lead.

Milwaukee broke through in the fifth against Minnesota starter Jake Odorizzi (3-6) when pinch-hitter Nate Orf walked and stole second before Thames lined a homer that just cleared the right-field fence.

”It was a cutter that didn’t get in far enough,” Odorizzi said. ”I just didn’t execute it, plain and simple. I just didn’t get enough break on it. Right pitch, just bad execution and it turns out to be the deciding factor.”

Thames reached base three times in four at-bats. After the game, he credited Milwaukee’s pitching, which held Minnesota to two hits.

”Our bullpen has been the hammer for us,” Thames said. ”They have been the ones to pick us up, but we need to start scoring more, getting guys on base and driving them in and give them breathing room.”

It wasn’t just the bullpen on this day.

Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra (5-5) pitched five shutout innings. He gave up two hits while walking three and striking out eight and pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first after giving up a double and two walks.

”Being able to put up a zero up there and not let them score was very big,” Guerra said through team translator Carlos Brizuela. ”Walks are very lethal, especially for a starter.”

Josh Hader pitched a season-high three innings in relief for the Brewers and didn’t allow a hit. Closer Corey Knebel notched his ninth save in 11 attempts by striking out the side in the ninth.

Both starting pitchers held their opponents in check but struggled with high pitch counts. Guerra threw 89 pitches. Odorizzi gave up two runs and four hits in five innings. He walked four and struck out nine but threw 109 pitches.

The Twins fell to 1-7 on their current nine-game road trip.

INFIELD INACTIVITY

The Twins became the first team whose first baseman, Joe Mauer, played an entire game and had no putouts or assists since Edwin Encarnacion did it with Toronto against Baltimore on Aug. 25, 2012. This has happened just six other times in the past 20 years and never to the Twins.

”There wasn’t a ground ball today Marcus Martin Jersey , which is a baseball oddity,” Molitor said. ”I can’t really explain it other than Odorizzi, we know, is a fly ball guy.”

CHOKED UP

In the ninth, home plate umpire Marty Foster called Jake Cave out on strikes but didn’t raise his arm right away with the signal, prompting an argument from Molitor.

”It looked like, as simply as I can state it, that he wasn’t going to make the call,” Molitor said. ”Jake made the mistake of walking away, and it looked like (Foster) put his arm up after the fact. He said that he had called it right away but that he was choking on his Nicorette mints.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: Recalled LHP Gabriel Moya from Triple-A Rochester and optioned RHP Zack Littell to Rochester. Littell was the losing pitcher in Monday’s 10-inning game. …2B Brian Dozier didn’t start so he could rest but entered the game in the seventh. ”It’s always tough to sit (Dozier),” Molitor said. ”I think if he had his druthers, he would play 162 games and start them all.”

Brewers: OF Christian Yelich didn’t start for the fifth consecutive game due to lower back tightness but entered in the ninth as a defensive replacement. ..OF Lorenzo Cain (left groin strain) is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday, but Brewers manager Craig Counsell said he likely won’t be in the lineup right away. ”There’s enough caution there that we’ve got to get over the last hurdle,” Counsell said. ”We’re not to 100 percent yet.” … RHP Zach Davies (right shoulder tightness) is dealing with back soreness and stiffness. ”He won’t throw until that’s gone John Simon Jersey ,” Counsell said. ”That’s going to set him back.”

UP NEXT

Twins: Jose Berrios (8-6, 3.52 ERA) gets the start in the three-game series finale. Berrios will face the Brewers for the first time in his career.

Brewers: Chase Anderson (6-6, 4.18) has held opponents to a .208 batting average this season.




George Parros is a busy man early in the Stanley Cup playoffs thanks to a rash of questionable hits around the NHL.

The vice president of player safety’s department suspended Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri three games for boarding Boston forward Tommy Wingels in what the league called a hit made in the name of retribution and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty one game for an illegal check to the head on Vegas forward William Carrier.

With two suspensions, two misconduct ejections for boarding that resulted in injuries, plus Capitals winger Tom Wilson’s hit to the head that knocked Columbus center Alexander Wennberg out of the game, it has been a rough start to the playoffs – and there have only been eight games played. In 1,271 regular-season games, there were a total of 37 game misconducts and 22 suspensions.

The NHL has made a concerted effort to rid its game of fighting and questionable hits, wanting to keep skilled players on the ice and boost scoring. In the postseason, goals are usually harder to come by and the adrenaline of the moment brings hard hits that cross the line; a year ago, Penguins star Sidney Crosby missed a game with a concussion after a cross-check to the head from the Capitals’ Matt Niskanen.

Kadri was tossed from Toronto’s Game 1 loss at Boston for boarding Wingels, and Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson was thrown out of their overtime victory at Washington for a hit from behind that injured Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny.

A game misconduct will likely suffice for Anderson, but Kadri wasn’t as fortunate and will miss Games 2, 3 and 4.

”I certainly wasn’t trying to hit him when he was down like that Josh Sitton Jersey ,” Kadri said after Thursday night’s game. ”Obviously, if he’s still standing up, I think there’s nothing wrong with that, but he ended up falling and reaching for the puck, and I’m not sure what happened after that.”

What happened was another Bruins goal on the ensuing power play that made it 5-1 in the first game between the bitter rivals. Down the East Coast, Wilson’s hit on Wennberg allowed the Blue Jackets to tie the score in a game they won in overtime. Wilson blamed himself for costing Washington Game 1 by taking a bad penalty at a critical moment.

”I’ve got to be better and maybe pass up on that hit,” Wilson said. ”We’ve got the lead there so maybe a big hit’s not needed. It’s the playoffs. Trying to finish your checks, and unfortunately I took a penalty.”

Wilson was suspended two preseason games for interference and then for the first four regular-season games for boarding but had cleaned up his game since. Part of that stemmed from meeting with Parros in Calgary in the fall and educating himself on what’s acceptable and what the NHL looks for.

”We had a meeting, me, him and Parros, and went over videos and just what they were looking at when he was being considered for suspensions and fines and other examples throughout the league,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said.

Parros spent almost a decade as an NHL enforcer and finished his career with 159 fights and 1,127 penalty minutes. When he took over the league’s player safety department last September, he said he intended to crack down on ”non-hockey plays” that have nothing to do with affecting the course of the game.

Some of the hits may alter series because of the resulting injuries.

Carrier Denzelle Good Jersey , Kempny, Wennberg and Wingels are all day-to-day with ”upper-body” injuries – the customarily vague description in the NHL – with their statuses legitimately uncertain moving forward. Columbus general manager Jermo Kekalainen called Wennberg ”doubtful” for Game 2 Sunday at Washington and considered it a ”dangerous hit” by Wilson that the league deemed wasn’t worthy of further punishment.

Doughty, a Norris Trophy contender and Los Angeles’ top defender, was suspended for Friday night’s Game 2 against Vegas for what the league called an avoidable hit to Carrier’s head. Kadri’s hit came after Wingels crushed Toronto forward Mitch Marner, but the timing and force of the hit made it worse.

”The bottom line is, you always have to be disciplined at all times and emotions are a part of the game, but it’s got to be controlled,” Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said.

Kekalainen disagreed with officials giving Anderson a five-minute major and a game misconduct for his hit on Kempny, which was definitely a minor penalty but seemed less egregious than Wilson’s later. That didn’t stop Capitals coach Barry Trotz from voicing his displeasure with Anderson’s play.

”I thought there’s clearly numbers there,” Trotz said. ”Trying to get that out of the game.”



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