- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

MILWAUKEE (AP) - There’s little doubt Eric Thames can rip apart the Cincinnati Reds at this point. He got plenty of help from his teammates Tuesday night.

The slugger hit his major league-leading 11th home run - his eighth against Cincinnati this season - and the Milwaukee Brewers cruised to a 9-1 victory over the Reds.

In his first season with the Brewers, Thames capped a five-run sixth with a two-run drive off reliever Robert Stephenson, setting a franchise record for most home runs in April.

“Any time a guy goes on a run like this, you’re in awe a little bit,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s different, for sure. It’s still hard to do. I think everybody still appreciates that. It’s not easy to do. He’s going up there, taking great swings.”

Thames is the first player in the modern era to homer in each of his first six games against an opponent, according the Elias Sports Bureau. No other player has eight home runs total this season.

“I’m not trying to hit a home run,” Thames said. “I’m trying to get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it. The result was the result. I was happy the ball got out.”

Hernan Perez had a pair of RBI triples, then homered off Stephenson leading off the sixth, and Jonathan Villar had a pair of two-run singles.

Zach Davies (2-2) allowed six hits in five scoreless innings, lowering his ERA from 8.24 to 6.57. He stranded a pair of runners in three innings.

Oliver Drake pitched a hitless sixth and Tommy Milone allowed two hits over three innings, including Adam Duvall’s eighth-inning homer, for his second big league save, his first since August 2015.

Perez drove in Manny Pina with triples in the second and fourth innings, and Villar’s first two-run single boosted the lead to 4-0 later in the fourth.

Scott Feldman (1-2) gave up four runs, five hits and five walks in five innings. The right-hander was burned by a pair of costly walks, a two-out free pass to Pina before Perez’s triple in the second and a walk to Davies in the fourth that Villar followed with a two-run single.

“That’s a bad walk right there to Pina,” Feldman said. “Then obviously, walking the pitcher. Those are two pretty bad walks. The other three (walks) I wasn’t upset about, but those two were pretty brutal.”

Cincinnati had runners at second and third in the fourth before Davies threw a called third strike past Tucker Barnhart and retired Feldman on a flyout.

TEST AWAY

Thames dismissed suspicions that his power surge is being fueled by performance-enhancing drugs.

“If people keep thinking I’m on stuff, I’ll be here every day,” he said. “I have a lot of blood and urine.”

PITCHING NEEDED

Cincinnati made a roster move to add a fresh arm prior to the game, recalling right-hander Barrett Astin from Triple-A Louisville and optioning right-hander Ariel Hernandez to Double-A Pensacola.

Astin gave the Reds 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

HEATING UP

After a slow start to the season, Perez is finding his groove at the plate.

Perez has raised his batting average from .179 to .261 over the course of two games by going 5 for 7 with a double, two triples, two home runs and seven RBIs.

Counsell said he wants to keep finding ways to get the utility man in the lineup despite not having a regular starting position.

“It just shows he’s a valuable player for us,” Counsell said. “He can provide that kind of offense and played shortstop and center field tonight. It’s pretty rare. He’s a rare guy.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: LHP Tony Cingrani (right oblique strain) is working out in Cincinnati and says he is pain free, according to manager Bryan Price. … RHP Raisel Iglesias was not able to pitch Monday due to back stiffness. He was available Tuesday but did not pitch.

Brewers: LF Ryan Braun went 0 for 4, a day after leaving a game with a bruised left foot after fouling three balls off it in one at-bat.

UP NEXT

Reds: RHP Rookie Davis (0-0, 6.43 ERA) will come off the DL for Wednesday’s series finale. He was hit on the right forearm by a pitch while batting on April 11.

Brewers: RHP Wily Peralta (3-1, 4.71 ERA) allowed six runs and nine hits in four innings in a loss to St. Louis on April 21. He has a 3.10 ERA in 15 starts against the Reds.

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This story has been corrected to show Thames has eight homers against Cincinnati, not six.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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