The Brewers padded their Major League-leading home run tally by launching three more on Thursday, when Travis Shaw, Eric Thames and Jett Bandy each went deep with runners on base to account for all of Milwaukee's runs in a 7-5 win over the Cardinals at Miller Park.
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In Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez's third straight shaky start, Shaw hit a 458-foot three-run homer in the first inning, and Thames hit a two-run shot in the fifth to reclaim the lead. Bandy added insurance against reliever Kevin Siegrist in the sixth with a two-run homer in the sixth that gave the Brewers a big league-best 32 dingers in their first 17 games.
Thames leads the Major Leagues with eight home runs, and Bandy and Shaw have each homered in three straight games. The Brewers set a franchise record by hitting multiple home runs in a sixth straight game.
Only once in eight previous starts against the Brewers had Martinez surrendered more than two earned runs, but he was slapped with five in five innings on Thursday. He has allowed 12 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings over his last three starts.
The Cardinals did get positive contributions from two hitters off to slow starts. Kolten Wong hit a bases-clearing triple in the second inning to tie the game at 3, and Matt Carpenter briefly gave St. Louis the lead in the fifth with a solo homer off Brewers starter Zach Davies, whose own struggles continued with four earned runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. Jedd Gyorko also homered in the eighth for the Cardinals.
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All square: Just as quickly as Shaw's laser-beam home run gave the Brewers a 3-0 lead in the first inning, Davies gave it up, and suddenly the Cardinals were back in the ballgame. Their first four batters reached safely in the second inning, including Randal Grichuk on a walk that loaded the bases for Wong, who entered the night with a .171/.275/.314 slash line but smacked a tying triple. The Cardinals missed a chance for more, as Martinez grounded out and Dexter Fowler and Aledmys Diaz struck out to strand the go-ahead runner at third base.
Welcome home: Thames left Miller Park after the Brewers' opening homestand with zero home runs and returned with seven, tops in MLB. He reintroduced himself to the hometown crowd in a fifth inning that featured two big swings -- first Carpenter's go-ahead solo shot in the top of the frame, then Thames' go-ahead, two-run shot off an 0-1 fastball from Martinez. Thames matched a franchise record set by Rob Deer in 1987 and matched by Carlos Lee in 2006 by hitting eight home runs in the team's first 17 games.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Cardinals on Thursday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.