CINCINNATI (AP) — Eric Thames hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning Thursday night, and the Milwaukee Brewers slowed the Cincinnati Reds’ best surge of the season with a 6-4 victory.
The game included a benches-clearing incident in the third inning as Cincinnati’s Joey Votto exchanged words with Brewers catcher Erik Kratz.
Milwaukee beat the Reds for the sixth straight time and improved to 6-1 overall against Cincinnati this season, including 4-0 at Great American Ball Park.
Thames has been the Reds’ biggest nemesis. He hit a record 10 homers against Cincinnati last year — the most by a Brewer against one team. Thames gave the Brewers a 5-4 lead when he homered in the seventh inning off reliever Amir Garrett (0-1). That marked Thames’ third homer against the Reds this season.
Eric Sogard added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Junior Guerra (4-5) gave up Jose Peraza’s second career leadoff homer and Jesse Winker’s two-run shot while getting his first victory since May 14. Corey Knebel pitched the ninth for his eighth save in 10 chances.
The last-place Reds were the hottest team in the NL Central heading into the game, winning nine of their last 10 games.
Votto was in the middle of a dispute for the second straight game.
The third inning opened with Votto thinking he’d drawn a walk on a 3-1 pitch, but plate umpire Roberto Ortiz called it a strike. When Votto returned to the batter’s box, he exchanged words with Kratz. Votto removed his batting helmet, and the benches and bullpens emptied.
Players milled briefly, many joking with one another. When play resumed, Votto flied out.
Votto was ejected in Atlanta on Wednesday by plate umpire Carlos Torres for arguing a called third strike, his eighth career ejection.
The Brewers called up LH reliever Mike Zagurski from Triple-A Colorado Springs and optioned RH Adrian Houser. Zagurski last pitched in the majors in 2013 with the Pirates. He played in the Japan Central League in 2015-16.
Brewers: CF Christian Yelich left the game with a tight lower back after he grounded out in the first inning. … Travis Shaw was back at third base after missing two games with a sore right wrist. He took batting practice pregame and felt good enough to play, although the wrist is likely to bother him at times.
Reds: Top prospect Nick Senzel today had surgery on his broken right index finger. Senzel hurt his finger Friday with Triple-A Louisville. There’s no estimate for the infielder’s return.
Brewers: Chase Anderson (5-6) beat the Reds 7-6 at Great American Ball Park on May 1, allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings. He’s 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in six career starts at Great American.
Reds: Sal Romano (4-7) has lost all of his four career starts against the Brewers, giving up 13 runs in 18 2/3 innings