Villar injured in 8-6 win over D-Backs

PHOENIX — The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-6 Friday night, but it came at the cost of second baseman Jonathan Villar, who left in the eighth inning after a diving attempt to catch a ball heading into right field.

“He has pretty good back spasms, it’s really locked up,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “The back really tightened up.”

Counsell said Villar’s back spasms were a result of the collision with the ground and x-rays will be taken and analyzed on Saturday.

As for the game itself, Zach Davies threw five innings with four hits and four runs (three earned) and would have stayed in for another inning had it not been for Paul Goldschmidt’s RBI single in the fifth.

That RBI tied the game at 4, but Jesus Aguilar would put the Brewers ahead for good with a two-RBI double in the top of the sixth inning. Manny Pina and Orlando Arcia finished with three-hit performances.

Corey Knebel was masterful out of the bullpen, recording his eighth save of the year. He struck out three batters in 1.1 innings, adding to his total of 57 Ks on the season and 13 this month. Knebel’s season ERA dips to an impressive 1.15 on the year, allowing just 4 earned runs over 31.1 innings.

Brewers bats quiet in 4-3 loss to Blue Jays

MILWAUKEE — The red-hot offense that led the Milwaukee Brewers to first place in the National League Central was relatively quiet in a 4-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday night.

The Crew recorded five hits, while striking out 11 times. Oddly enough, second baseman Jonathan Villar, who’s been on a cold spell as of late, accounted for the majority of Milwaukee’s run production. He drove in a pair of runs in the fifth inning with a well-placed single to finish 1-for-4 on the night.

“The big thing for [VIllar] is to just get on base,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “More than the stolen bases or anything like that, just get on base. That’s going to put us in…the other team’s got to defend the steal and make pitches. And that’s what we’re looking for.”

Ryan Braun was 0-for-3 at the plate, still hitless after two games since returning from the disabled list. He also left five runners on base.

Jimmy Nelson (2-3, 4.20 ERA) was responsible for allowing all four Blue Jays runs to score, giving up eight hits along the way. He struck out three over five innings. Rob Scahill, Carlos Torres, and Neftali Feliz combined for a shutout the rest of the way for Milwaukee.

Anderson shuts down Toronto in a 2-0 win for the Brewers

Milwaukee (4-5) got seven scoreless innings from Chase Anderson, and Jonathan Villar hit his third home run of the year, as the Brewers beat Toronto (1-7) 2-0 Wednesday night.

Anderson was fantastic in his second-longest outing in his Milwaukee career, mixing and matching his fastball and change up to fluster a Blue Jays lineup that has given pitchers fits in recent years. He gave up just three hits and struck out seven batters on his way to his first win of the year.

“This is the best I’ve seen him,” manager Craig Counsell said. “He just had really good stuff.”

Anderson handed the game over to relievers Corey Knebel and Neftali Feliz, with the latter picking up his third save of the season.

The Brewers didn’t give Anderson much help offensively, but they did just enough. Outfielder Keon Broxton doubled home a run in the second inning, while Villar’s 429-foot homer in the sixth inning provided some breathing room to help Milwaukee get their first back-to-back wins of the year.

Counsell’s club will now head to Cincinnati for a four-game series starting Thursday night.

A strong outing from Wily Peralta helps the Brewers pick up their first win of the year

The Milwaukee Brewers found the win column for the first time this season on Wednesday night, taking out the Colorado Rockies 6-1 at Miller Park.

Wily Peralta, making his first start of the year, was more than solid, pitching five scoreless innings while giving up just three hits and striking out five.

“There’s no question. He was excellent,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Really picked up where he left off last year. It was a very good outing.”

By the time Peralta exited the game, Milwaukee had built a 3-0 lead thanks to a pair of homers from a couple newcomers – first baseman Eric Thames and third baseman Travis Shaw. For Thames, it was his first home run in the major leagues since 2012.

“It felt good to finally get one over the wall,” said Thames, who spent the last three seasons playing in Korea.

Hernan Perez made it 4-0 on a double in the sixth inning, while Jonathan Villar adding two more with a home run in the eighth.

The Rockies made a bit of push in bottom of the ninth, getting to Taylor Jungmann for a run and had two runners in scoring position when Counsell decided to bring in closer Neftali Feliz, who promptly struck out the one batter he faced to get the save.

Milwaukee improved to 1-2 on the year.

The two teams will close out the four-game set this afternoon with first pitch set for 12:40 p.m.

Painful opener as Brewers fall to Rockies 7-5, Guerra heads to DL

MILWAUKEE | This is not the way the Brewers scripted it. Missed opportunities, defensive miscues and an injured starting pitcher all add up to Milwaukee losing its season opener 7-5 to the Rockies on Monday afternoon at Miller Park.

Junior Guerra was off to a solid start before suffering a strained right calf. The injury occured while Guerra was bunting in his first plate appearance in the 3rd inning. He was forced to leave the game with the Rockies up 2-0. After the game manager Craig Counsell confirmed that Guerra will be heading to the disabled list. “It’s definitely a DL,” said Counsell. “We’ll know more tomorrow. It’s a big blow. We just lost our opening day starter for at least two games and probably more.”  Guerra was making his first career opening day start. He gave up just one hit over three innings, a two-run homer to Mark Reynolds. Guerra struck out four and did not walk a batter.

The Rockies (1-0) scored two more off relief pitcher Tommy Milone before the Brewers (0-1) struck for five runs in the 5th inning. Pinch hitter Jesus Aguilar and Eric Thames each had two-run doubles to tie the game at four off Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray. Travis Shaw added an RBI double to put the Brewers up 5-4.

But Jonathan Villar made two costly defensive miscues in the 7th inning that cost the Brewers two runs. Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon hit what appeared to be a sure double play ball that Villar bobbled. Villar also bobbled a throw from catcher Jett Bandy while trying to cut down a runner stealing second allowing the go-ahead run to score.

The Brewers failed to score with runners at 2nd and 3rd and nobody out in the 8th. The Rockies added an insurance run in the 9th to beat the Brewers 7-5.

Milwaukee and Colorado will do it again Tuesday night at Miller Park. Zach Davies is expected to get the start for the Brewers against the Rockies Tyler Anderson.

 

Report: Villar turned down Brewers $20 million extension

PHOENIX — While the Milwaukee Brewers prepare to begin Cactus League play at Maryvale Baseball Park, infielder Jonathan Villar has turned down a $20 million contract extension offered by the club, according to a FanRagSports.com report.

As pointed out by Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee’s offer is likely a move focused on keeping Villar’s contract cost down in the future. Villar is eligible for arbitration after this season, and if he becomes the player they hope he can be, that won’t come cheap.

Entering his presumed first full season playing second base, Villar will make somewhere in the $513,000 range this season. After posting a .285 batting average in 2016 with 19 home runs, 63 RBI, 62 stolen bases, and an OBP of .369 (16th in National League), a similar performance this season would mean a big payday for Villar.

Villar claimed to have no knowledge of the reported deal, while GM David Stearns  said “I’m not going to comment on any contract negotiations.”

Braun headlines Brewers 2016 season awards

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was named the Most Valuable Player as part of a season-ending awards list released Monday by the Milwaukee chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Braun led the Brewers with a .305 batting average in 2016, adding a .903 OPS and driving in 91 runs.

The five-member panel selected Junior Guerra as the club’s Most Valuable Pitcher after leading the Crew with a 2.81 ERA and a 9-3 record.

Others earning recognition from the BBWAA were Jonathan Villar (Top Newcomer), Hernan Perez (Unsung Hero), and Chris Carter (Good Guy Award).

Villar and Carter were also considered by the panel for the MVP award.

3-run homer by Carlos Gomez helps Texas get past Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Brewers were done in by one of their former stars on Wednesday night in Texas.

Outfielder Carlos Gomez drilled a 3-run home run as part of a 4-run eighth inning to help the Rangers past the Crew 8-5. Gomez, who played six seasons in Milwaukee before being traded to Houston last year, had three hits in four at-bats for Texas, his 31st game with the Rangers since being cut by the Astros last month.

Another former Milwaukee player, pitcher Jeremy Jeffress, got the win by pitching a pair of scoreless innings.

Milwaukee was paced by Jonathan Villar, who led the game off with a home run, his 19th of the year.

If he hits one more, he’ll join an exclusive club of players that have hit at least 20 homers and stolen at least 60 bases in a single season. The last time in happened was in 1990 with Oakland’s Ricky Henderson, and just two other players — Joe Morgan and Eric Davis — have ever pulled the feat.

In his final start of the year, Milwaukee pitcher Chase Anderson went five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits. He finished the season with a 9-11 record and a 4.39 ERA.

The Brewers are off on Thursday, but will open the final series of their season on Friday in Colorado.

Offense propels Brewers to 8-3 win over Rangers

ARLINGTON, Tex. — The Milwaukee Brewers used a bevy of offense to get past the Texas Rangers 8-3 Monday night, backing up a Matt Garza start against his former team.

Garza threw six innings of three-run ball, surrendering six hits and striking out three. The last time Garza faced Texas was in 2010 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, a 6-3 victory on Oct. 9. in the American League Divisional Series.

Milwaukee’ bats recorded 10 hits in Monday night’s win, led by Jonathan Villar’s 3-for-4 day at the plate. He drove in five runs with a pair of home runs, while Domingo Santana added two RBIs on a 1-for-5 outing.

For the Rangers, the loss dropped them a half-game back of the Boston Red Sox as both teams battle for home-field advantage in the postseason.

Three homers not enough to get Brewers past Reds

CINCINNATI — The Milwaukee Brewers recorded three home runs at Great American Ballpark on Tuesday night but still fell to the Cincinnati Reds 6-4.

Dan Straily had a career night on the mound, throwing eight innings of two-run ball.  He struck out eight Milwaukee batters in the process to give Cincinnati a season-high fifth straight win.

The Brewers were paced offensively by Keon Broxton, Jonathan Villar, and Chris Carter, who all went deep in the loss. Villar also got his first career start at second base, but manager Craig Counsell wouldn’t say if that was a preview of what we could see from the Brewers in 2017.

“I just thought this was an opportunity to see [Villar] at second base,” Counsell said. “He’s going to play mostly third base for the rest of the season, but there’s going to be some spots where we see him at second base. I just want to see what it looks like.”

Matt Garza gave the Brewers five innings, only allowing one earned run (Joey Votta’s solo shot in the first inning) while striking out three.