After Thames home run, Reds reliever Garrett says, ‘That loss is on me’

Thames has 13 home runs in last two seasons against Reds

Eric Thames isn’t just a thorn in the side of the Cincinnati Reds, he’s the whole rose bush.

Thames hit 10 home runs against the Reds in 2017. He hit his third home run against the Reds this season in a 6-4 victory for the Brewers on Thursday at Great American Ball Park. In the last two seasons, he's 23-for-61 (.377) against the Reds with 13 home runs and 24 RBIs.

For the Reds, the latest home run hurt as much, if not more, than any of the previous 12. A three-run home run by Thames gave the first-place Brewers (47-33) a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning and slowed the momentum the Reds (34-47) created with 12 victories in the previous 15 games. It was also the third home run Thames has hit in four career plate appearances against Reds pitcher Amir Garrett.

“That loss is on me,” Garrett said, ” but we’ll get them tomorrow.”

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Thames hit two home runs against Garrett, who was a starting pitcher then, on April 24, 2017. Thames hit a solo home run in the first and then a two-run home run in the second inning. Garrett then walked Thames in the fourth.

This time, Garrett said he just made a bad pitch: a fastball over the middle.

“I definitely know with my stuff I can get him out,” Garrett said. “That’s what happens when you leave it over the middle against a hitter like that. All he has to do is touch it. I supply the speed. He has the power. It’s going to happen.”

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Thames has 62 home runs in five seasons, and 21 percent of them are against the Reds. He also has hit home runs against Bronson Arroyo, Wandy Peralta, Tony Cingrani, Tim Adleman, Robert Stephenson (2), Blake Wood, Kevin Shackelford, Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle.

Six of Thames’ 13 home runs have tied the game or given the Brewers the lead.

“Thames has really done damage against us last year and this year,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “We just haven’t had an answer for him. He’s really hurt us. You get to a point here where you’ve just got to tip your cap to him because he’s really done the job against us.”

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The left-handed Garrett (0-1, 2.76) said he doesn’t talk to the pitching staff as a whole about Thames because the Reds only have two lefties. Reliever Kyle Crockett is the other.

“I can’t really ask the guys, ‘What do you guys throw to him?,’ because they’re righties,’” Garrett said. “We have video and stuff like that, but the stuff that may have got him out before may not get him out tonight.”

Despite suffering his first loss, Garrett remains one of the most dependable pitchers in the bullpen. The last 10 times he had pitched, the Reds had won each game. Prior to this game, he had stranded 25 of the 28 runners he inherited.

This was his first appearance since Tuesday when he was hit by a ball below the knee. He left the game with a contusion but said he’s good to go now. He was eager to get another chance soon.

“That’s what I love about being in the bullpen,” Garrett said. “I’m going to come out there tomorrow and look for a little revenge and take it out on whoever’s out there at bat.”

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