MILWAUKEE (AP) — After struggling in the minors during the first half of the season, Tyler Thornburg's turnaround since being called up to the majors by the Milwaukee Brewers has been remarkable.
Sean Halton hit his first career grand slam and Thornburg allowed just two singles over six innings, leading the Brewers to a 7-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
Thornburg (3-1) struck out four and walked two as he reached six innings for the sixth straight start since being recalled from Triple A Nashville on June 29. He has allowed five earned runs in 36 innings as a starter and has also made 11 relief appearances for the Brewers, posting a 1.96 ERA. At Nashville, he was 0-9 with a 5.79 ERA in 15 starts.
"He has been good in relief, he's been really good as a starter," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "It's hard to explain. I know it's an excuse, but I heard he had the worst luck you could have at Triple-A, but I wasn't there.
"He's confident. He gets a little wild at times and then comes back and makes great pitches. He has three really good pitches: a really good fastball, a good curveball and a great change-up. He can mix in the two off-speed pitches, depending on which is going well that day, and when you can do that and you have a lot of life on your fastball, you'll pitch like he did today."
Jimmy Nelson pitched two innings and Michael Blazek got the last three outs to preserve the four-hit shutout.
Thornburg put most of the blame for his ineffectiveness at Nashville on himself.
"I was a little upset being in Triple-A," said Thornburg, who made three starts in eight appearances last season with the Brewers. "Honestly I was kicking myself a little bit too much. Doing things I wouldn't necessarily do. Up here I stuck with my three good pitches and I am really trying to improve those."
Halton's homer capped a five-run first inning off Chris Rusin (2-5). Jean Segura walked with one out and advanced to second on Jonathan Lucroy's single. Aramis Ramirez singled in Segura. After Carlos Gomez flied out, Khris Davis walked to load the bases. Halton then drove a 3-2 pitch 370 feet over the right-field wall for his fourth home run.
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