Braun, Thames homer to power Brewers over Reds 4-2

CINCINNATI — That Ryan Braun torments the Cincinnati Reds is an old story. Eric Thames is just getting started. Braun hit a go-ahead, two-run homer, Thames added a solo shot for his fifth home run of the series and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Reds 4-2 Sunday, April 16th for their fifth win in six games.

Thames reached on a fielding error by Arismendy Alcantara in the third inning — the second baseman's second error of the game — and scored on Braun's 37th homer against the Reds. Braun has 22 at Great American Ball Park, one behind Lance Berkman's mark for visiting players.

"Ryan's had success here," manager Craig Counsell said. "He knows he's had success. That promotes a great feeling when he's heading to Cincinnati."

Travis Shaw followed four pitches later with a solo homer off Sal Romano (0-1), who started in place of injured Rookie Davis and lasted three innings in his major league debut.

Thames homered in the seventh against Tim Adleman, his sixth this season. Thames and former-Red Aaron Boone in 2003 are the only players in the 15-year history of Great American Ball Park to hit five home runs in a four-game series.

"Stuff like that just happens," Thames said. "You can't control it. When I hit it, I was like, 'Did I just hit another one? Oh, man. OK.'"

Counsell joked about Thames' success.

"Eric is going to try to stay in Cincinnati," the manager said. "I hope he carries it to the next Midwest city we play in."

Thames has gotten at least one hit in all 10 of his starts and has a nine-game hitting streak. The Brewers are scheduled to open a three-game series against the World Series-champion Cubs in Chicago on Monday.

Wily Peralta (3-0), who had seven wins last season, allowed two runs, three hits and three walks in six innings, giving up Eugenio Suarez's two-run homer in the fourth. Neftali Feliz struck out two in a perfect ninth for his fourth save.

Peralta walked speedster Billy Hamilton leading off the game, but catcher Manny Pina threw Hamilton out stealing.

"That was a big play," Counsell said.

Romano, a 23-year-old right-hander, threw 35 pitches in the first inning and 82 in the game, allowing four walks, three hits and three runs with two strikeouts.

"It was overwhelming," he said. "It was a dream come true. There is no describing how I felt walking out to the mound. I'm not known to walk people. I have to keep pounding the strike zone. At least I've got this out of the way. Being my first game I was pumped."

Manager Bryan Price thought Romano did a good job of controlling his emotions.

"It was a struggle for him," Price said. "It didn't represent the Sal Romano that we know. We all had the concern that he would be blowing and going. Most guys are amped up and come out of character. By the third, he was fairly spent."

Left-hander Brandon Finnegan became the fourth Reds starting pitcher to go on the disabled list and is expected to miss at least a month because of a strained left shoulder. Finnegan lasted just one inning of the Reds' 7-5 win over the Brewers on Saturday and joined Davis on the 10-day disabled list Sunday. Right-handers Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani are on the 60-day disabled list.

Alcantara dropped Braun's foul popup in the first.