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Thames homers as Brewers down Twins 2-0

MILWAUKEE (AP) — 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,” 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 to left 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.

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