MILWAUKEE (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Eric Thames wanted to avoid extra innings.
One swing later, it was over.
Thames hit a game-ending homer to lift the Milwaukee Brewers to a 6-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night after Josh Hader blew a save opportunity for the fourth time this season.
“We’re just happy to not have to go extras,” Thames said. “We have two more games (in the series) so we need our arms in the bullpen. We can’t waste everyone in one night.”
Milwaukee earned its fourth straight win and moved within 2½ games of NL Central-leading Chicago, which lost 5-2 at Cincinnati.
Milwaukee opened a 5-2 lead with three runs in the seventh, but Logan Forsythe hit a two-run homer off newly acquired reliever Jake Faria in the eighth and Elvis Andrus’ solo shot off Hader tied it at 5 with one out in the ninth.
Enter Thames, who hit his 16th homer against Emmanuel Clase (0-1) with two out in the bottom half. Thames was mobbed by his teammates at the plate after ending a game that lasted more than 4 hours.
“Thames is a pretty good hitter,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “He’s good at shortening his swing and getting the barrel to the ball.”
Hader (2-5) threw a season-high 44 pitches in 1 2/3 innings. The All-Star left-hander has allowed a home run in three of his last five appearances, but Thames said he isn’t worried.
“Josh has a nasty fastball with life on it,” Thames said. “If guys aren’t sitting on that pitch, they’re not going to hit it. Some guys get lucky and they connect. He’s still the best pitcher I’ve seen in the big leagues. You can’t strike everybody out.”
Hunter Pence also homered for Texas, which has dropped three in a row. Kolby Allard, who was acquired last week in a trade with Atlanta, allowed two runs and three hits in 4 1/3 innings in his Rangers debut after he was called up from Triple-A Nashville.
Milwaukee jumped in front on Ryan Braun’s two-out RBI double in the first, but Pence responded with a 449-foot drive off Gio Gonzalez in the fourth.
The Brewers had a 2-1 lead before the Rangers tied it again in the sixth. With the bases loaded after three consecutive two-out walks, Pence scampered home on Alex Claudio’s wild pitch, but Rougned Odor was cut down at the plate trying to come home on the same play.
Odor had four of Texas’ 10 walks. Pence walked twice.
The Rangers now have a 58-57 record and will take on the Brewers once again tonight at 6:10 p.m.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)