Brewers first baseman went nine games without a dinger entering Sunday
By George Von Benko
Special to MLB.com |
PITTSBURGH -- Eric Thames ended a nine-game streak without a home run on Sunday, hitting his 12th homer of the season in the ninth inning of the Brewers' 6-2 win over the Pirates in the series finale at PNC Park.
Thames finished Sunday 3-for-4 with the homer, a double, hit by pitch and two RBIs. During his nine-game power drought, Thames was 6-for-34 with one extra-base hit and one RBI. His batting average fell from .373 to .308. His three-hit effort on Sunday put him back up to .324.
Thames was 1-for-8 in the Brewers' first two games on Friday and Saturday at PNC Park. After a delay Friday and consistent rain throughout Saturday's game, Thames welcomed the sunny skies on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
"It was freezing the last three games," Thames offered. "We had delays, and timing was off, routine was off, so this felt good for the whole team. The sun was out. It was a nice day for the bats to kind of get hot. It was huge."
Thames was the talk of baseball with his scorching start, setting a Brewers franchise record with 11 home runs and 28 runs scored in April while posting a 1.276 OPS. He is now one homer shy of the Major League lead.
"It doesn't matter how my swing is. Like if they throw three fastballs and I miss all three of them, it doesn't matter," Thames said. "I feel like I've been getting good pitches to hit. I just haven't been barrelling them. I fouled them off. Approach and timing, I'm just ironing stuff out."
Thames spent the past three seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization, where he put up massive power numbers. Pirates reliever Josh Lindblom didn't face Thames on Sunday, but he did in Korea -- Lindblom spent 2015-16 with the Lotte Giants, while Thames played from '14-16 with the NC Dinos.
"Great hitter," Lindblom said. "Probably the best hitter I've seen over a two-year period in my whole career. It was unbelievable. Seeing his success now, it's no surprise to me that he's come over here and is doing what he's doing."
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.