Christian Yelich quickly made an impact in his return from the disabled list.
The Milwaukee center fielder made a snazzy sliding catch on a fly ball that deflected off the glove of left fielder Hernan Perez, and the Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 on Wednesday.
“I thought they really went at it the right way with one guy sliding,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “They weren’t going to run into each other.”
Yelich, Perez and shortstop Orlando Arcia converged on a low fly by Alex Blandino in the top of the second.
Perez cut in front of the sliding Yelich as the ball glanced off the left fielder’s glove 243 feet from the plate. Yelich tracked the ball, which hit off him, and showed why he was the 2014 NL Gold Glove winner by making the catch as he regained his feet.
“There are going to be those balls — and they’re always dangerous — that have three guys going to the same spot,” Counsell said. “I think it just kind of landed on his leg and popped right up to him.”
Yelich, acquired from the Miami Marlins during the offseason, played for the first time since April 4 after recovering from a strained right oblique. He was not in the clubhouse to speak with reporters after the game.
Eric Thames hit a two-run homer for the second straight day in a 2-0 win, and Zach Davies (1-2) allowed three hits over 6 1/3 innings to win for the first time in four starts this season.
Reds manager Bryan Price intentionally walked Thames to bring up Yelich with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth.
“That’s not a comfortable feeling, either,” Price said. “You got Yelich, one of the better young hitters in the game.”
Yelich, who was activated Tuesday but did not play, went 1 for 2 with a strikeout and a pair of walks.
Thames homered on a slider from Tyler Mahle (1-3) in the third inning, his team-leading seventh home run and 12th against the Reds in two seasons. Thames hit 10 home runs last season against the Reds, the most by any NL player against an opponent.
“He’s their offense against us the last two days with the home runs,” Price said. “We make a mistake and he makes us pay for it.”
Mahle, the only rookie to begin this season in the Reds’ starting rotation, gave up seven hits and four walks — one intentional — in five innings. He walked Thames intentionally with two outs in the fourth to load the bases, then struck out Yelich.
Reds: C Tucker Barnhart took his regular turn behind the plate. C Devin Mesoraco, who left in the middle of the fifth inning Tuesday night with a bruised right wrist, was available. … OF Scott Schebler went 0 for 4 in a rehab appearance Tuesday and is off today. He should play Thursday for Double-A Pensacola and then return to the Reds on Friday.
Brewers: Perez started in place of LF Ryan Braun, who missed the game with a sore left calf — an injury that led to Braun missing 39 games during two stints on the DL last season. Braun legged out a two-base hit in the eighth inning Tuesday night and felt some discomfort. Perez pinch ran for him.
DAVIES AND THE BULLPEN
Davies struck out two, walked two and hit a batter, lowering his ERA from 6.75 to 4.84. He left after second baseman Jonathan Villar muffed a one-out roller from Billy Hamilton, one of three errors by the Brewers.
“He didn’t make a ton of mistakes,” Price said. “He didn’t self-inflict which some pitchers will do which lead to a big inning.”
Dan Jennings relieved with runners at the corners and got Jesse Winker to ground into a double play. Jacob Barnes finished with two hitless innings for his second save as the Brewers won consecutive home games for the first time this season.
Cincinnati was blanked in consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 27-28, 2015.
Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan (0-1, 10.38 ERA) makes his second start this season against St. Louis, which beat him 6-1 on Saturday. He faces RHP Michael Wacha (2-1, 5.52) Friday in the opener of series at Busch Stadium.
Brewers: RHP Chase Anderson (1-1, 2.82 ERA) starts Thursday against Miami and LHP Dillon Peters (2-1, 6.75). He is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA in five outings against the Marlins.