Santana, Arcia help Milwaukee to a 4-3 win against Pittsburgh

Timely hitting from Domingo Santana and a brilliant play from shortstop Orlando Arcia helped Milwaukee get past Pittsburgh 4-3 Wednesday night at Miller Park.

The Brewers never led in the game until the bottom of the seventh. That’s when Santana stepped up to the plate with two outs and drilled what proved to be the game-winning two-run homer. It was his first home run since June 7 and his 12th on the year.

“He’s got opposite field power. We’ve seen it a bunch this year,” manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s a huge spot.”

Arica and first baseman Eric Thames made sure it would hold up. With the tying run on second base, John Jaso sent a grounder up the middle that looked destined for the outfield. But Arcia somehow tracked it down, spun and threw a one-hopper to Thames, who scooped it up for the final out of the game.

“Off the bat, I was like, ‘Oh, shoot,” Thames said. “I was like, ‘Oh, please don’t be a hit.’ Then all of a sudden I see Arcia going for it. I was like, ‘There’s no way he’s going to catch that.’”

But Arcia did, and in doing so made one of the plays of the year so far for the first-place Brewers.

“I was yelling don’t throw it,” Counsell said with a laugh afterwards. “That’s probably what stands out the most.

“It’s a special play in a huge moment.”

Corey Knebel was the benefactor of the play as he picked up his 11th save of the season to help Milwaukee snap a two-game losing streak.

Junior Guerra got the start, going six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and striking out six.

Milwaukee, which owns a 1.5 game lead on the Cubs in the NL Central, will try to salvage a split of its four-game series with the Pirates Thursday afternoon.

The Emergence of Domingo Santana

Over four of the past five games, Brewer’s manager Craig Counsell has switched up the lineup. He has inserted Domingo Santana into the second spot in the batting order. Santana has responded to the shift in the lineup, having at least one hit in every game. He’s also been  giving the Brewers good at-bats during the four game stretch. Santana has compiled a .375 batting average, going six for his last sixteen since being moved to second in the Brewers order. Not only has his bat responded to the changed, but so has his eyes, as he’s drawn walks for the team as well.

With Eric Thames struggling since April, this may just be Counsell trying change things up and reinvigorate the Brewer’s lineup. Domingo Santana may not be your prototypical number two hitter, but the definition for the second hitter is changing. Historically a number two hitter is a guy who can hit for a solid average, get on base, and work the count. In today’s baseball,  more and more two hitters are becoming guys who can hit for power and drive in runs.  The use of sabermetrics has played a large role on how  components of the game are changing.

(Associated Press)

Domingo Santana can give the Brewers a little bit of both worlds. He is a patient hitter, who works the count and is averaging about 4.5 pitches per at-bat.
This is extremely high for the Major League Baseball standard for pitches per plate appearance. Santana also owns a walk percentage of nearly 14%, where 15% is deemed good in the major leagues. He’s not only letting the middle of the order see pitches, but is also setting the table by getting on base in front of them. Santana owns a .367 on-base percentage, which is almost one hundred points higher than his batting average, which is also impressive.

Hitters in today’s game are supposed to bring pop to the lineup and Santana is doing just that. Santana is second on the team in home runs, runs batted in, hits, walks, and runs scored. Santana is finally healthy and playing well for the first time in his Brewers career. The Brewers and manager Craig Counsell should continue to give him an opportunity in the second spot  and see how it pays dividends.


Nelson, Brewers get a 6-3 win over the Giants

Milwaukee got contributions from all over its roster on Wednesday night to beat the San Francisco Giants 6-3 and reclaim sole possession of first place in the NL Central.

Starter Jimmy Nelson went six innings for the Brewers, giving up three runs on seven hits and striking out six to pick up his fourth win of the year. It wasn’t the dominating effort he’d given the last two times out, but it was good enough.

“Tough to be as sharp as his last outing, for sure, but he battled through it,” manager Craig Counsell said afterwards. “He just competed really well and got through it.”

Nelson turned things over to a bullpen that had been shaky of late, but they were lights out against San Francisco. Jared Hughes, Jacob Barnes and Corey Knebel didn’t allow a hit in their three innings of work while striking out four of the 10 batters they faced.

The offense was a group effort, with six different players driving home a run, including a homer from Domingo Santana in the first inning. After falling behind 3-1, Milwaukee took the lead in the fifth courtesy of a Jesus Aguilar two-out double, which proved to be the winning hit.

The Brewers win and a Chicago loss to Miami allowed the Crew to go one-game up on the Cubs in the NL Central race. They’ll close out their series with the Giants this Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.

Brewers shut out Dodgers to avoid series sweep

MILWAUKEE — Zach Davies threw six-plus innings of shutout baseball, backed up by Eric Thames and Domingo Santana home runs to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday afternoon.

Davies allowed just three hits on the afternoon, striking out six batters and helping lower the ERA of Milwaukee’s starters to 1.32 over the last 10 games. After back-to-back bullpen collapses against the Dodgers, Milwaukee avoided the series sweep.

“They’re all in a very good place right now,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s a good feeling when we send a guy out there that’s on top of his game. I feel these guys are on top of their game and we’re getting to see quality outings, for sure.”

Closer Corey Knebel notched his fifth save of the year after blowing his two previous save opportunities. Prior to last night’s game, Milwaukee’s bullpen had given up 16 games — the most in MLB.

The Brewers bats were the only ones making any noise in Sunday’s contest, with Thames going yard in the first inning and Santana following suit in the eighth.

Pitcher Matt Garza was re-evaluated after suffering a chest contusion in Saturday’s 10-8 loss. He relayed the message from his doctor stating that it’s an injury that could get worse by Thursday (his next scheduled start) or it could dissipate.

Nelson, Santana lead Brewers in 9-5 win over Diamondbacks

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers finished off a home stand and a four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in style, using the arm of Jimmy Nelson and the bat of Domingo Santana for a 9-5 win.

The victory solidified Milwaukee’s lead in the National League Central while handing Arizona its first back-to-back loss in two weeks. Nelson went seven innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts and just one earned run.

Santana provided a good bit of run support, smacking the Crew’s first grand slam of the season in the fourth inning. It was also the first grand slam by a Brewer at Miller Park since Ryan Braun did so in August of 2015. Santana finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs.

If there was a downside to the 9-5 win, it was the relief appearance by Oliver Drake. He allowed four earned runs on three hits without retiring a single batter.

Second baseman Jonathan Villar was dropped to seventh in the batting order because of a recent hitting slump. He finished 2-for-4 at the plate while scoring a run.

Santana’s bat leads Brewers to series finale win over Braves

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers finished off the Atlanta Braves series Sunday afternoon with a 4-3 win behind the big bat of outfielder Domingo Santana.

Santana was responsible for all four Milwaukee runs, using home runs in the fifth and sixth innings to get the job done. Prior to Sunday’s contest, Santana had been in a slump at the plate, collecting just one hit in his previous seven games.

“He made a difference in this game,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He drove the bus offensively for sure. To break out in a game is one thing, but in a game where you’re doing a lot of the damage…that’s a satisfying feeling. It puts the struggles behind him, hopefully.”

But it wasn’t just Santana that impacted the game’s outcome. Matt Garza picked up his first win of the season, striking out seven Braves batters, while allowing three earned runs in 6.2 innings on the mound. His control was good enough to avoid walking a single batter.

Trouble came in the sixth inning for the Brewers, with outfielder Ryan Braun exiting the game with a right trapezius strain. It’s the same kind of injury endured by catcher Andrew Susac in spring training that caused him to start the season in the disabled list.

Milwaukee ends the first month of the season 13-13 while splitting the home stand. They’ll hit the road for a seven-game stretch, starting with four games in St. Louis.

Brewers blow 5-run lead, lose 9-7 at Chicago

A four-run sixth inning was enough to get the Chicago Cubs past Milwaukee with a 9-7 win on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.

Jimmy Nelson had a 7-4 lead heading into the bottom of sixth but couldn’t hold it. After retiring the first batter, he proceeded to give up three hits and a run before manager Craig Counsell pulled him. Insert Jared Hughes, who couldn’t stem the Cubs momentum, giving up a triple to Jon Jay that scored a pair, followed by a wild pitch that allowed Chicago to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Hughes got the loss, but Nelson’s line wasn’t pretty either. After two really good outings to start the year, he got tagged with seven runs on nine hits and gave up a pair of home runs.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s offense kept rolling along, led by first baseman Eric Thames. Though he didn’t hit a home run for the first time in five games, the lefty did go 3 or 4 from the plate and scored twice. Third baseman Travis Shaw had a pair of doubles and three RBI’s on the night, while outfielder Domingo Santana knocked in a couple runs as well.

The loss was just the second in the last eight games for Milwaukee.

The two teams will play the rubber match of their three-game series this afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Peralta earns his second win in the Brewers 4-3 victory over Toronto

The Milwaukee Brewers ruined Opening Day in Toronto last night, coming out 4-3 winners against the Blue Jays.

The Crew got another very good outing from Wily Peralta, who picked up his second win of the season by going six innings, giving up three runs on five hits and striking out seven. The veteran also walked four.

His outing was backed by a trio of relievers – Jacob Barnes, Corey Knebel and Neftali Feliz – who didn’t allow a hit in the final three innings. Feliz earned his second save of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Milwaukee was paced offensively by Domingo Santana, who had a pair of RBI’s, including a home run in the fifth inning that proved to be all the scoring the Brewers would need.

Outfielder Keon Boxton went 2 for 5 and hit the first home run of his season, while catcher Manny Pina continued his hot start with three hits in four plate appearances to push his batting average to .429 through eight games.

All of the damage Milwaukee did came against starter J.A. Happ, who fell to 0-2 on the year. He gave up the four runs on nine hits, while also striking out eight batters.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Milwaukee, while the Blue Jays fell to 1-5 on the year, the worst start in franchise history.

The second and final game of the quick interleague series is tonight at the Rogers Centre. First pitch is set for 6:07 p.m.