May was kind to Brewers' Lucroy, Villar

May was kind to Brewers' Lucroy, Villar

MILWAUKEE -- Don't blame Jonathan Lucroy and Jonathan Villar if they opt to not flip their calendars to June.

Both capped superb performances in the month of May by pacing the Brewers' offense yet again in the Crew's 10-3 loss Tuesday night to the Cardinals at Miller Park, going a combined 3-for-6 with a home run, walk, two RBIs and two runs scored.

Lucroy, one of the top trade candidates in baseball, hit a line-drive home run to left in the second inning after Cardinals starter Mike Leake left a 1-2 sinker up in the zone and the Brewers catcher deposited it into his team's bullpen.

"Luc's been consistent," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Obviously, he's driving the ball as well as we've seen him. He took some good swings tonight."

After not hitting a home run in April, the home run Tuesday was Lucroy's ninth long ball of the month -- second-most among all National League hitters in May. Even with a 2-for-22 road trip nestled in, he finished the month batting .300 with 22 RBIs, a .348 on-base percentage and .650 slugging percentage.

Villar's progression in plate discipline continues to be impressive. He has reached base safely in 45 of 50 games to start the season.

"Jonny is still doing his thing," Counsell said. "As much as anything, his plate discipline just continues. He's laying off tough pitches, taking tough pitches and borderline pitches; doing a really nice job of getting in spots to get a nice pitch to hit."

Villar's walk percentage is up from 7.8 percent of plate appearances in 2015 of plate to 14.6 percent this year, and he is chasing just over 20 percent of pitches out of the strike zone in comparison to 27.4 percent last season, according to FanGraphs.com.

"This year, I've had more concentration at home plate because last year and a couple years ago, I was swinging at every pitch," Villar said. "Strike, ball down, I was swinging at it. So now, I think my concentration is just up because I'm starting right now. That's another opportunity."

When the Brewers traded for Villar in November 2015, many expected him to be a temporary replacement at shortstop for Orlando Arcia, the No. 4 prospect in baseball. Replacement players and interim position holders, however, don't lead National League shortstops in OBP and hit over .300, as Villar is.

"I feel good," Villar said. "I feel happy. That's my game, so we need to play like that every month and every day, so I feel good."

Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.