Brewers 6, Rangers 5: Last takes

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Brewers took down the Texas Rangers in a marathon game Friday night 6-5. It was Milwaukee’s fourth straight win and keeps them in position for the second wild card spot in the National League.

Another solid start for Gio

Gio Gonzalez continues to prove why he’s one of Milwaukee’s most reliable pitchers. He battled through a five-inning, 90-pitch start giving up just one run. Hunter Pence jumped on a mistake Gonzalez left over the plate for a solo shot to tie the game at 1-1 in the fourth.

Gonzalez finished allowing only two hits, while striking out two and walking three. He has a 3.20 ERA in 10 starts and 50.2 innings for the Brewers.

More problems for Hader?

Josh Hader came into the game in the eighth inning to try and record a five-out save. After hitting the first batter (Isiah Kiner-Falefa), Hader struck out the next two to finish the frame.

Then, in the ninth, Elvis Andrus got the best of Hader knocking a solo home run to center tying the game at 5-5. It was the 12th homer Hader has allowed this season and third in his last five outings.

I think Josh threw the ball well tonight,” manager Craig Counsell said. “He struck out four. He got a ton of swings and misses tonight. The pitch that Andrus hit is a pitch that Josh is going to make over and over again this year. I give Andrus credit.”

“He’s still the best pitcher I’ve seen in the big leagues,” Eric Thames said. “It is what it is. You can’t strike everybody out.”

Walk it off Thames

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Thames sent the Brewers’ fans home happy. He mashed a solo home run to deliver the 6-5 win for Milwaukee.

“Baseball is a strange game,” Thames said, “but as long as we came out with the ‘W,’ that’s all that matters.”

What’s next?

The Brewers (61-56) will look to take game two of the three game set against the Rangers (58-57) on Saturday. Adrian Houser (4|54.24 ERA65 SO) will get the start opposite of Pedro Payano (1|03.45 ERA, 13 SO). First pitch is scheduled for 6:10pm.

Brewers 10, Pirates 4: Last takes

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-4 Friday night.

Eric Thames gets the offense started

Thames got Milwaukee rolling early in the second with a two-run homer to put them in front 2-0.

“I think it shows what the offense is capable of when we get contributions from everyone,” manager Craig Counsell said. “A lot of guys had good nights tonight and did really good things.”

Milwaukee finished with 10 runs on 14 hits. This is the kind of performance we expected the Brewers to have a lot this season. The offense has so much potential and they showed it Friday night.

Brandon Woodruff ties strikeout career-high

Woodruff was terrific Friday night striking out 10 Pirates. He pitched six innings of three-run ball on four hits. Woody was almost untouchable early striking out five of the first six batters he faced on 24 pitches. He found some trouble in the third inning but settled down the rest of the way.

It was great to see the young right-hander perform at a high-level coming off his worst start of the season only a week ago.

“I was ready to get back out there and face these guys again,” Woodruff said. “[I] went back and watched film from last game and I just wasn’t executing well enough…tonight was just all about getting out there and if I made a good pitch, make an even better pitch and I think for the most part I was able to do that and get through six innings.”

He did allow a home-run in the sixth inning but recovered nicely retiring the next three batters to finish off his night.

It was his fourth quality start of the year and is second in the National League with eight wins.

“He’s been in a good groove here,” Counsell said. “He’s confident in what he’s doing and it’s mainly because of the fastball. I think the feedback that the league has given him has given him a lot of confidence…I was proud of him in the sixth inning. I thought he found an extra gear to finish that inning.”

Ryan Braun bat-flip

With the Brewers clinging to a one-run lead in the sixth, Ryan Braun came through in a big way. Entering the at-bat 0-3 with runners on the corners Braun blasted a three-run shot to put the Crew up 7-4.

Braun also added an epic bat flip on his way to first base.

“It was a big play, it changed the course of the game for sure,” Counsell said. “It was a good at bat. The guy fell behind 3-0, made a couple of pitches, and Ryan got a good pitch to hit down in the zone, did a nice job.”

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What’s next?

The Brewers (36-28) will look to take game two from the Pirates 30-32) Saturday afternoon. Zach Davies (6|02.20 ERA45 SO) will get the start opposite of Jordan Lyles (5|33.38 ERA, 61 SO). First pitch is scheduled for 3:10pm.

Brewers take series from Pirates with 4-2 win

The Milwaukee Brewers won the series from the Pittsburgh Pirates three games to one thanks to a 4-2 win Sunday. The Brewers improve to 34-26 on the season and currently hold a one-game lead in the NL Central.

Zach Davies was terrific in this one. He went eight innings giving up two earned runs on eight hits while striking out three. Davies picked up his sixth win of the year and has yet to lose.

Offensively, Eric Thames came through in a big way for the Crew. He went 2-3 with three RBI, one home run, a double and scored twice.

Next up, the Brewers (34-26) return home to Miller Park on Tuesday as they welcome in the Miami Marlins (20-36). Chase Anderson (3-0, 3.31 ERA, 34 SO) will get the start for Milwaukee. Miami will send Pablo Lopez (3-5, 4.99 ERA, 55 SO) to the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40pm.

Bellinger spoils Brewers comeback, Dodgers win 6-5

The Milwaukee Brewers failed to even the series with the Los Angeles Dodgers falling 6-5 at Miller Park on Sunday.

Cody Bellinger was the hero for the Dodgers. Not only did he rob Christian Yelich of another home run in the eighth inning, he hit one of his own in the ninth off Josh Hader to make it 6-5.

Joc Pederson played a huge part in the win as well. He blasted two homers, tied a career-high four hits and scored three times. The Dodgers took three of four from the Brewers this weekend.

Eric Thames tied the game in the eighth with a three-run homer off closer Kenley Jansen.

Starter Brandon Woodruff struggled giving up five runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings. Clayton Kershaw countered with a strong outing. He went six innings, gave up just two runs on two hits.

Next up, the Brewers (13-10) will travel to St. Louis to begin a three-game series with the Cardinals (12-9). Adrian Houser will make his first career start for Milwaukee. He has a 1.10 ERA and an 18-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in three Minor League starts this year. The Cardinals will counter with Jack Flaherty (1|15.00 ERA22 SO) First pitch is scheduled for 6:45pm.

Last strikes: Brewers 5, Rockies 3

MILWAUKEE – Fifteen last strikes for Eric Thames’ 15th home run of the season – a walk off blast – in Milwaukee’s 5-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night at Miller Park.

1. Let’s have a moment of honesty. On Friday night the cards were certainly stacked against the Brewers before first pitch was thrown at Miller Park.

2. Milwaukee was playing for the fifteenth consecutive day and returned from the west coast earlier on Friday morning following a rare get-away-day night game in Los Angeles. The team touched down in Milwaukee around 5:30 a.m. CT before having to be at the field less than 12 hours later for a game.

3. These things are obviously out of the control of the Brewers, but they didn’t help Milwaukee’s quest to victory.

4. It didn’t matter.

5. The Brewers were 5-3 walk-off winners thanks to a three-run home run off the bat of Thames in the bottom of the ninth inning.

6. “That was awesome, that was an awesome feeling,” Thames said after the win. “Hitting that sweet spot off the bat, and then seeing the team’s reaction and everything, and the crowd. It was an awesome moment.”

7. Thames’ home run came off of Colorado closer Wade Davis, who has struggled against the Brewers the last few chances that he’s had. Last season, as a member of the Cubs, Davis gave up a walk-off home run to Travis Shaw and the Brewers didn’t forget about that.

8. “One of our guys was talking about when Shaw hit the walk off against Chicago off of Davis. It was like ‘yeah you remember that? Let’s go, let’s get him again!’” Thames said. “We did. He has great stuff but we got the W tonight.”

9. Outside of the ninth inning there wasn’t much for the Brewers to brag about offensively. Christian Yelich and Mike Moustakas had the only hits for the Crew before the final frame. Yelich smoked a 420-foot home run in the sixth inning to centerfield and Moustakas had a pair of singles, including one that drove in Milwaukee’s first run.

10. Starting pitcher Junior Guerra was the lone member of the Brewers that wasn’t in attendance for Thursday night’s 21-5 defeat in Los Angeles, as the team sent him home early in order to ensure he was well rested for his start.

11. He looked to be one of the few members of the team that was energized for the game.

12. “I got home like 10 p.m. and got into bed about 12:30. I got a good sleep,” Guerra said after the game. “It felt weird, but it is what it is. I had to take a rest because the team got here in Milwaukee at like five in the morning.”

13. Guerra pitched a season-high eight innings allowing three runs on five hits and striking out six. He did allow a pair of home runs that did all of the damage for Colorado. It certainly looked as if the decision to send him home a day early from the west coast was vindicated.

14. This was the eighth walk-off win of the year for the Brewers, it’s also the most walk-off wins the franchise has had since 2013 when they also totaled eight.

15. The Brewers are back in action on Saturday as they continue this three-game series with the Rockies. Freddy Peralta (4-2, 3.61) is slated to start for the Brewers while Tyler Anderson (6-3, 3.69) will be on the mound for the Rockies. First pitch is at 6:10 p.m. CT.

Brewers: Three roster spots for five players

The Milwaukee Brewers nearly have their opening day roster set. They currently have three spots available, with five players vying for those last few spots.

The players still trying to make the team are pitchers Oliver Drake, J.J. Hover and Taylor Williams, along with first basemen Jesus Aguilar and Ji-Man Choi. The Brewers and general manager David Stearns have until March 28th to finalize the roster.

Drake and Aguilar are out of options and would have to be placed on waivers before being reassigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs or cut. Both would likely be claimed off waivers by other teams.

Williams still has an option available and therefore there wouldn’t be any consequences for sending him to the minors to start the season.

Hoover and Choi are a different story, being non-roster invitees, who signed minor league deals with Milwaukee. Both players would need to be added to the Brewers 40-man roster, which only has one spot available after Milwaukee officially cut Yovani Gallardo on Monday.

Choi and Hoover could be assigned to Colorado Springs with no consequences. The Brewers would also have another spot available if pitcher Jimmy Nelson starts the season on the 60-day disabled list.

What I think happens

Drake, Hoover, and Aguilar make the opening day roster. Drake and Aguilar are currently already on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster. Hoover would then take Gallardo’s spot, which would allow the Brewers to be flexible with monitoring Nelson’s rehab.

Choi would fall victim to the depth at the first base position. In 41 at-bats this spring, Choi batted .390 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. He proved that he could make most major league teams as a backup first baseman, but finds himself behind Ryan Braun, Eric Thames, and Aguilar.

Drake struggled this spring, making 12 appearances, logging 11 1/3 innings, while accumulating an ERA of 5.56. Hoover turned heads this spring training appearing in 9 games, going 9 1/3 inning and not allowing a run. He also owned an excellent WHIP of 0.64. Aguilar also played well, batting .276 with two home runs and seven runs batted in in 58 at-bats.

What I would do

First off, I would cut Drake, as he has never really impressed me during his time in Milwaukee. I would then give his 40-man roster spot to Hoover, who was outstanding during spring training. Williams showed this past month that he’s all the way back from his Tommy John surgery in 2015, as he was clocked numerous times in the mid to upper 90s on the radar gun.

The Brewers would then still have one spot left on their 40-man roster, which they should give to Choi. I then would assign him to Triple-A Colorado Springs and continue to add to the depth at first base. These moves would also allow the Brewers the option not to place Nelson on the 60-day disabled list and continue to monitor his rehab schedule.

 

Thames, Santana help the Brewers to a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh

Milwaukee took care of Pittsburgh 7-2 on Tuesday night, but the Brewers failed to gain any ground in their push for a playoff spot.

Brent Suter gave up two runs in three innings of work before turning things over to six relievers to go the rest of the way. Jeremy Jeffress got the win thanks to 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball, while Corey Knebel picked up his 35th save of the season.

The Brewers were paced offensively by first baseman Eric Thames and right fielder Domingo Santana, as the duo combined for four of the team’s five RBIs, including the 29th homer of the season for Thames.

Unfortunately for the Brewers, all the teams they are chasing in the National League also won, meaning they are a ½ game back of St. Louis and 2 ½ games back of Chicago in the NL Central, and four games off Colorado’s pace for the second wild-card spot.

Milwaukee will close out its series with the Pirates on Wednesday night at Miller Park.

Brewers falter late, lose 3-2 to Washington

Josh Hader gave up a pair of runs in the eighth inning as Milwaukee fell 3-2 to Washington Saturday night at Miller Park.

The Brewers led 2-1 when Michael Taylor took Hader deep for solo home run. After a batter reached on a bunt single, Trea Turner delivered the go-ahead double.

“He’s got thirty-some innings in and he’s dominated hitters,” manager Craig Counsell said in defense of Hader, who had given up just five runs on the year coming in. “He’s going to be a big part of this going forward. He’s going to be a very important guy for us. Tonight just wasn’t his night.”

The loss wasted what was a great outing from starter Brandon Woodruff. He went seven innings, giving up just one run on two hits and struckout eight.

On the other side, Max Scherzer held the Brewers lineup in check, allowing just one run on two hits over five innings of work. A crew of five relievers came on to help the Nationals get the win.

Offensively for Milwaukee, first baseman Eric Thames had an RBI double in the fourth inning, and catcher Stephen Vogt had a double in the sixth inning that scored second baseman Neil Walker.

Despite losing, Milwaukee didn’t lose any ground in the wild card race. That’s thanks to Colorado losing to Arizona, meaning the Brewers are still just 1 1/2 games back of the Rockies.

Milwaukee will go for the series win over Washington Sunday afternoon. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m.

St. Louis hammers the Brewers 10-2

Any momentum the Milwaukee Brewers had coming of a successful road trip came to a screeching halt Tuesday night, as the St. Louis Cardinals rolled into town and walked away with a convincing 10-2 victory.

Starter Matt Garza got lit up, making it just 3 1/3 innings, giving up six runs – three of them earned – on four hits. He also walked five, tying a season-high. The veteran took the loss to fall to 6-8 on the year.

In relief, Carlos Torres allowed three runs in just 1 1/3 innings.

Milwaukee’s offense was also missing in action, as the St. Louis pitching staff, led by starter Luke Weaver, held them in check. The only runs they were able to muster came courtesy of first baseman Eric Thames’s 28th homer of the year and a Keon Broxton single in the sixth.

The loss dropped the Brewers 3 ½ games back of Chicago in the NL Central with 30 games to play. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are now just 1 ½ games out of second.

Milwaukee and St. Louis will play the finale of their short two-game series Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m.

Milwaukee offense shows signs of life in 11-10 loss to Cincinnati

Milwaukee’s offense showed signs of life, but it wasn’t enough for the Brewers to avoid an 11-10 loss to Cincinnati on Friday night at Miller Park.

The Reds lit-up starter Jimmy Nelson, tagging him for a season-high 10 runs on 11 hits in just 3 2/3rds innings. It was the second-shortest outing of the year for Nelson, who is having the best season of his career.

On the other side, Homer Bailey, who had given up 10 runs in his last start, kept the Brewers bats at bay, going five innings and allowing just two runs on five hits. But the bullpen had a night to forget, especially Blake Wood. He gave up five runs without recording an out in the sixth inning, including a three-run homer by Eric Thames. He was replaced by Michael Lorenzen, who would give up two more runs in what turned into a 7-run sixth inning for Milwaukee.

The Crew trailed 10-9 heading into the seventh, when the Reds got one of the runs back courtesy of a Tucker Barnhardt home run off reliever Carlos Torres. The run proved to be the game-winner as Milwaukee got a homer from Jonathan Villar in the ninth but nothing else.

Milwaukee’s 10 runs were the most its scored since putting up 11 against Chicago on July 6, and the first time in 14 games it scored more than four runs.

The loss was the sixth straight for Milwaukee, who fell into a tie with Pittsburgh for third place in the NL Central. Both teams trail St. Louis by two games and Chicago by three.

The Brewers and Reds will matchup once again Saturday night in Milwaukee.