Sports

Kolten Wong blasts 3 home runs in Milwaukee Brewers’ victory over Cincinnati Reds

CINCINNATI — Kolten Wong hit a career-high three home runs and drove in five runs to see Brandon Woodruff and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-1 on Thursday night.

Wong drove for two runs in the second inning against Hunter Greene. He hit another two-run shot in the sixth off Dauri Moreta and a solo drive in the eighth against Joel Kuhnel.

Wong has a career-high 15 home runs on the season.

“I’m definitely not one to hit three home runs very often,” Wong said. “I’ve had the chance to do it a few times, but I tried to do too much. I just tried not to do too much and keep my swing tight.”

Milwaukee ended with only four basehits, but each of Wong’s first two homeruns came when he walked the lead.

“We had four hits,” said manager Craig Counsell. “Kolton had three, and all three were home runs. That was pretty incredible. He was definitely a one-man show on offense.”

Wong is the third second baseman for Milwaukee to hit three homeruns in one game. Dale Sveum did it on July 17, 1987, against the Angels, and Aaron Hill accomplished the feat on May 7, 2016 in Cincinnati.

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Brewers in second place (80-70) opened a four-game set against lowly Cincinnati with their second win in a row. They were 2½ games behind Philadelphia for the third NL wild card.

Woodruff (12-4) struckout 11 batters in six innings. He gave up three hits and walked two.

The 6-foot-4 right-hander has struckout 32 in his last three starts — all wins. He struckout 11 or more batters this season in three of his four starts against the Reds.

“I think it starts with rhythm and timing — simple things,” Woodruff said. “I’m getting more and more ahead. I try to get them swinging early.”

Counsell sees the right-hander getting into shape after missing most of June with injuries to his right ankle and fingers.

“He’s getting better and better,” Counsell said. “When he came back from the injury, he was good, but now he’s even better at a good time for us.”

Kyle Farmer hit his 13th homer in the sixth to account for Cincinnati’s lone run. Greene (4-13) struckout eight batters in five innings.

The NL Central matchup drew a crowd of 9,889, the sixth under 10,000 this season at Great American Ball Park.

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After throwing 47 pitches of at least 100 mph in a 1-0 loss to St. Louis on Saturday, Greene reached triple digits 15 times against Milwaukee, according to Statcast.

“I felt solid,” Greene said. “I felt really good. Those walks hurt me. It’s a good batting team. It’s always a fight when I face these guys. They’re pretty good at hitting mistakes. There were times when I did well. I tried to raise a fastball to Wong. It leaked a little bit over the board.”

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