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

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

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

Wong has a career-high 15 home runs this season.

“I’m definitely not a guy who hits three homers very often,” Wong said. “I’ve had a few chances to do it, but I’ve tried to do too much. I was just trying not to do too much and keep my momentum tight.”

Milwaukee finished with just four hits, but each of Wong’s first two home runs occurred after leadoff walks.

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

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

The second-ranked Brewers (80-70) opened a four-game set against the lowly Cincinnati with their second straight win. They stayed 2½ games behind Philadelphia for the third NL wildcard.

Woodruff (12-4) hit 11 in six innings. He allowed three hits and missed two.

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

“I think it starts with rhythm and timing — very simple things,” Woodruff said. “I’m making more and more progress. I’m trying to get them swinging early.”

Counsell sees the right-hander getting on form after missing most of June with right ankle and finger injuries.

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

Kyle Farmer hit his 13th homer in the sixth to declare Cincinnati’s only run. Greene (4-13) hit eight 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.

After throwing 47 pitches at at least 100 mph in a 1-0 loss in St. Louis on Saturday, Greene hit 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 struggle when I go up against these guys. They’re pretty good at hitting mistakes. There were times when I pulled off. I tried to lift a fastball on Wong. It went over the plate a bit.”

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34646183/kolten-wong-blasts-3-home-runs-milwaukee-brewers-victory-cincinnati-reds Kolten Wong blasts 3 home runs in Milwaukee Brewers’ victory over Cincinnati Reds

Emma Bowman

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