By HAL McCOY
The Milwaukee Brewers play like the ’27 Yankees against the Cincinnati Reds and Brewers first baseman Eric Thames hits the Reds like Babe Ruth.
The Brewers were thoroughly unimpressed with the hype and early success of Reds rookie pitcher Amir Garrett and his 1.83 earned run average.
Before Monday night was over, the Brewers sent Garrett to an early trip to the clubhouse with his earned run average exploded to 5.09.
IN JUST 3 2/3 INNINGS THE Brewers pasted Garrett for 10 runs (nine earned) and eight hits. He walked four and all four scored.
It all added up to an 11-6 Brewers victory, their fourth victory in five games this year against the Reds.
And most of the heavy lifting was done by Thames, a home run in each of the first two innings when the Brewers built a 6-1 lead.
Thames, the player the Brewers signed out of Korea, has 10 home runs this season, seven against the Reds. And he has 11 RBI against Cincinnati.
BILLY HAMILTON LED THE game with a first pitch single, stole second on the next pitch and continued to third on the catcher’s throwing error.
So the Reds had a runner on third with no outs. They didn’t score, a harbinger of things to come.
Garrett retired Jonathan Villar on the first pitch of the bottom of the first and then the Miller Park roof collapsed on his head as he struggled with his control and fell behind hitters.
Thames hit a two-strike home run. After a walk and a single put two runners on. But with two outs Hernan Perez cracked a three-run home run to make it 4-0.
THE REDS SCORED A RUN in the second, but the Brewers recovered two of them with their third home run off Garrett. He walked Jonathan Villar with two outs and Thames struck again, a two-run home run to make it 6-1.
A three-run home run by suddenly revitalized Scott Schebler in the third put the Reds back in the game at 6-4.
Garrett, though, walked the first batter in the bottom of the third and Perez doubled him home for a 7-4 Brewers lead. Shortstop Zack Cozart made a two-out throwing error and opposing pitcher Matt Garza singled home the Brewers eighth run.
MANAGER BRYAN PRICE SENT the shell-shocked Garrett back out for the fourth because of an overtaxed and short bullpen and he gave up a walk, a run-scoring single to Ryan Braun and a run-scoring single to Manny Pina to push the score to 10-4 and Garrett’s long, long night was over.
As he put it succinctly in his post-game interview with FoxSportsOhio and the media, “It just wasn’t my night.”
THEN CAME THE HIGHLIGHT of the night for the Reds on a night when their lights mostly were turned out.
On this date last year, Ariel Hernandez was pitching for the low Class A Dayton Dragons.
On an emergency basis because the Reds needed a fresh arm, Hernandez was called up Sunday from Class AA Pensacola.
And he made his major league debut Monday, replacing Garrett with two outs in the fourth, the eighth player this season to make his major league debut for the Reds.
Hernandez hit the speed gun at 100 miles an hour three times, threw several at 98-99 and retired all eight Brewers he faced, five on strikeouts. The only hard hit ball came off the bat of Thames, of course, a hard line drive to left center that Hamilton chased down.
HERNANDEZ, a 25-YEAR-OLD Dominican righthander, was a minor league Rule V draft by the Louisville Bats from the Hillsboro Hops in the Arizona Diamondbacks system in December, 2015.
Hernandez was originally signed by the San Francisco Giants as a free agent in 2008. He spent two years in the Dominican Summer League and three seasons in the Arizona Rookie League but didn’t show much and he was released in the spring of 2015.
He didn’t give up and go back to the Dominican. He played independent baseball in the Frontier League then was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in mid-2015. The Reds selected him in the minor league portion of the December 2015 Rule 5 draft and he pitching for Dayton in 2016.
A year later he was on the mound in Miller Park performing like another Hernandez of the past — Orlando El Duque Hernandez.
EVEN WITH GARRETT’S one-game meltdown, the Reds kept threatening. They trailed 10-6 in the eighth and had the base loaded with two outs. Joey Votto, the potential tying run, grounded out to shortstop.
In addition to his three-run home run, Schebler had a run-scoring double for four RBI.
Zack Cozart scored three runs and had two hits, including his fourth triple of the season.
Stuart Turner, catching Garrett after Tucker Barnhart caught his first three games, had a pair of doubles and drove in two.
Nevertheless, it only added up to the Reds fifth loss in their last six games.