Cincinnati beats the Brewers with a walk-off home run from Billy Hamilton

A walk-off home run from Billy Hamilton ruined the start of Milwaukee’s important six-game road trip as the Brewers fell 5-4 to Cincinnati on Monday.

Milwaukee fought back from an early 4-0 deficit thanks to a pair of home runs in the seventh inning — a solo shot by Ryan Braun and a three-run blast by Orlando Arcia. The Brewers had opportunities to add to its tally but were unable to capitalize and paid for it.

Hamilton, well known for his speed and base running, only had to jog around diamond after crushing the ball to deep left center off of Josh Hader for his first career walk-off homer. It was another shaky outing for Hader, who gave up a pair of runs in a 3-2 loss to Washington his last time out.

The Brewers were facing the big deficit thanks in part to Chase Anderson misplacing his command. The starter walked three, including two when the bases were loaded, allowing a pair of runs to cross. He ended up making it 5 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits.

Homer Bailey retired 14 batters straight at one point for the Reds, before he faltered in the seventh inning.

The loss did some damage to the Brewers playoff hopes, as Colorado got a walk-off win of its own against San Francisco. It allowed the Rockies to move 1.5 games up on Milwaukee. As for the NL Central, the Crew remained 3.5 games back of Chicago.

Milwaukee and Cincinnati will face off once again Tuesday night at Great American Ball 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.

Brewers gain ground in the playoff race, beat Washington 1-0

Neil Walker drilled a solo home run in the first inning, and it turned out to be all the offense Milwaukee would need Friday night in a 1-0 win over the Washington Nationals.

Starter Jimmy Nelson was masterful in keeping the NL East-leading Nationals off the scoreboard, going seven innings, giving up just three hits and striking out 11. The bullpen backed him up, with Josh Hader and Corey Knebel striking out all six batters they faced. It gave Nelson win No. 11 on the year, tying a career-high for him, while Knebel picked up save No. 32.

On the other side, Washington’s Tanner Roark was nearly as good. Outside of the mistake to Walker, he shut Milwaukee down, going seven innings and allowing five hits while striking out 10. Centerfielder Jonathan Villar was the only Brewers batter to have more than one hit on the night.

Outfielder Ryan Braun was tossed from the game in the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes. It was the sixth time in his career he’s been ejected from a game.

With the win, and a loss by Colorado, Milwaukee moved to within 1 1/2 games of the Rockies for the final wild card spot in the National League. The Crew remains 3 1/2 games back of Chicago in the NL Central.

It’ll be Washington and the Brewers once again Saturday night at Miller Park. First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m.

Brewers: Milwaukee falls 4-2 at San Francisco

For the second time in three games the Milwaukee Brewers wasted a very good outing from their starting pitcher and fell to the San Francisco Giants, this one a 4-2 setback on Wednesday afternoon.

After giving up a run in the first inning, Matt Garza settled in, going five innings, allowing five hits and striking out six. Reliever Josh Hader pitched a scoreless sixth inning but Jacob Barnes and Carlos Torres were exposed for three runs in the seventh and eighth innings.

Milwaukee may have been able to overcome that, but its offense did not make the trip to San Francisco. The Brewers managed just six runs in the three-game series, including two on Wednesday, which came courtesy of a Travis Shaw double in the first inning and a solo homer from Stephen Vogt in the bottom of the ninth.

The loss dropped the Crew three games back of Chicago in the NL Central and 3.5 games back of Arizona in the race for the final Wildcard spot.

It doesn’t get any easier for manager Craig Counsell’s club as they’ll finish off the nine-game road trip by visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-game series starting on Friday. LA has the best record in all of baseball and have lost just 14 home games all season.

Brett Phillip’s bounce back season continues

Brett Phillips was the prized possession of the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline deal with the Houston Astros. The trade sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Astros in exchange for Phillips, Domingo Santana, Josh Hader, and Adrian Houser.

The Brewers had high expectations for Phillips, but it was Santana and Hader who continued to succeed after the trade. Santana made it to the big leagues with the Brewers at the end of the 2015 season and has been on the roster ever since. Hader climbed the ranks as one of the Brewers top pitching prospects before graduating to the bullpen this summer.

Phillips was once thought of as a top-5 prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, but has since fallen out of the top-10, and ranks 12th. He struggled in Double-A with the Brewers affiliate after being traded. He also had the worst season of his minor league career the next year in Double-A. In 2016, he batted a career worse .229 and struck out 154 times. Phillips was nagged by injuries all season long.

Phillips entered this season in Triple-A and was finally completely healthy. He is having a breakout season this year, and it even got him two stints with the Milwaukee Brewers at the major league level. Phillips is currently hitting .318 with 17 home runs and 71 RBIs. He’s also hit 22 doubles and 10 triples to go along with his production. The Brewers organization is most impressed with his decreased strikeout rate. He has cut his strikeout rate over three percent this season and has shown a better eye at the plate.

Phillips is one of two players in all of minor league baseball who has double-digit doubles, triples, home runs, and outfield assists. Fans should expect to see him called back up in September for September call-ups.

Cubs outlast Brewers to win in 11th inning

MILWAUKEE — Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward will get credit for the 2-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, but the 11-inning loss was set up by some early control issues.

Junior Guerra was pulled after three innings due to a slow start that saw the Opening Day starter walk four Chicago batters. His replacement, Josh Hader, fared much better, throwing three innings with six strikeouts and just a single walk issues. Hader showed his versatility after getting work out of the bullpen in Friday night’s win.

A factor leading to Milwaukee’s loss in Saturday’s rematch can be summed up by their record with runners in scoring position over the first two games of the series: 0-for-16.

“I don’t think we created enough opportunities to score tonight,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. “Expecting two-out hits every night to score runs, we have to do a little better than that.”

Milwaukee’s only offense came in the form of a first-inning RBI double from Ryan Braun. Chicago kept playing to its opportunities, finally breaking through in the seventh inning with a Kris Bryant RBI single that tied the game 1-1.

Then came the mistake that mattered.

Jared Hughes, who came in to pitch the final two innings for Milwaukee, left a slider up in the zone for Heyward, who blasted the ball out of the park with what would prove to be the winning run.

“I wish I could have that one back right there,” said Hughes. “I missed over the plate and Heyward went down and did a good job of hitting it hard. Overall, if we keep pitching like that, I think we’re going to be OK, though.”

7-run inning pushes the Nationals past the Brewers

Another tough night for the Milwaukee bullpen helped Washington get past the Brewers 8-5 on Wednesday night.

Starter Jimmy Nelson was relieved following a four-pitch walk to open the eighth inning, exiting with a 2-1 lead after seven strong innings of work where he allowed just one run on four hits and struck out 10. But a pair of hits, including a two-run double by Ryan Zimmerman off Jacob Barnes, cost the Crew the lead. After Josh Hader came on to strikeout Bryce Harper, manager Craig Counsell went to Jared Hughes, who proceeded to give up four runs before getting the final out.

“Jacob did a nice job. He got two ground balls. Jacob’s been our eighth-inning guy, and to me, he did his job tonight,” Counsell said. “Unfortunately, [the ground balls] found holes. Josh did his job. I thought we had it setup kind of the way we wanted to with [with Hughes] and some matchups. It just didn’t work.”

Milwaukee nearly got the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth thanks to a two-run homer from Lewis Brinson, the organization’s top prospect who had been called up earlier in the day. Hernan Perez also had a run scoring double in the frame.

The loss dropped Milwaukee out of first place, and they are now ½ game back of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

The Brewers and Nationals will play their rubber match on Thursday, with first pitch coming at 11:05 a.m.

LISTEN: Top prospect Lewis Brinson on how he’s handling being called up

7 RBIs from Jesus Aguilar propel the Brewers past the Yankees

Jesus Aguilar drilled his first career grand slam as Milwaukee took out New York 9-4 on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

The Brewers trailed 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning when a downpour suspended play for almost an hour. When they came back, the Crew tied the game in the sixth inning thanks to a wild pitch and an Aguilar sacrifice fly. Then, in the top of the seventh, they took control. The Crew loaded the bases thanks to three walks by Tyler Clippard before Aguilar stepped to the plate with two outs, and finally took a 3-2 pitch deep to center field.

“I was just trying to be patient,” Aguilar said. “He was throwing a lot of balls. Once I got him to throw a strike straight through the middle, [thankfully] I got on the ball really good, and we won this game.”

Aguilar finished the night with a franchise-record tying seven RBIs.

“He’s a rookie doing this,” manager Craig Counsell said of Aguilar. “But it feels like it’s experienced at-bat.”

Milwaukee finished the night with 14 hits, but the pitching deserves some credit, too. After getting hit in the shin with a pitch, which was followed by the rain delay, starter Junior Guerra exited the game having pitched just 3 1/3 innings and allowing three runs, though only one was earned as Milwaukee committed five errors.

But the bullpen picked him up, especially lefty Josh Hader. The rookie went three innings, and while he gave up his first run in the majors, he also struck out seven of the 12 batters he faced.

“I’ve been saving Josh for the right spot. Today we really got into the right spot with him,” Counsell said. “We got Josh to this game in a spot with rest where we could extend him in an American League game where we didn’t have to worry about his spot coming up in the lineup. It turned out to be the perfect spot for him.”

The win was Milwaukee’s fifth-straight and it moved the Brewers nine games above .500. Their lead in the NL Central remained at 4.5 games on Chicago.

Milwaukee and New York will play against Saturday afternoon.

Brewers: Recently Promoted Prospects

The Milwaukee Brewers have recently called up three of their top-10 Minor League prospects in the past week. The players that the Brewers called up were outfielders Brett Phillips and Lewis Brinson, as well as pitcher Josh Hader. Each guy has been thrusted into the Brewers lineup shortly after arriving from Colorado Springs. These three prospects may have been recalled earlier than the Brewers organization may have wanted, but with all the injuries at the Major League level they had no choice. Fans should undoubtedly be excited to see these young players, but shouldn’t expect these guys to come in and take the league by storm.

Lewis Brinson

Brinson was called up by the Brewers only a day ago due to the Brewers having to put Jonathan Villar on the disabled list. He batted lead off for Milwaukee in his Major League debut Sunday afternoon against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Brinson went 0-2 on the day, but did show great patience, working two walks and showing  his great speed by stealing a base.

Brinson is a 23 year old outfielder, who was a former first-round draft pick by the Texas Rangers in 2012.  He was one of three players the Rangers traded to the Brewers in the Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress deal. Brinson is the Brewers top prospect according to most experts. He is a player that many scouts believe could have a 5-tool ceiling.  Brinson is a very athletic player who has power, speed, as well as a good arm and solid defense in his arsenal. Many scouts believe Brinson could one day  become a 30 home run 30 stolen bases type player. Since being drafted, Brinson has really improved his pitch recognition and has become more consistent with his patient approach.

Before being promoted to the Major League club, he was hitting .312 with six home runs and 25 runs batted in. He also added 41 runs and seven stolen bases in 45 games played for Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Josh Hader

Hader was called up just one day before Lewis Brinson. He made his Major League debut Saturday night in the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He started the seventh inning struggling to find the strike zone as he walked his first two batters. Hader settled down after that as he ended his lone inning of work striking out Jacob Lamb, who’s leading Major League baseball in the  runs batted in category.

Hader is a 23 year old left-handed pitcher, who was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and then traded to the Houston Astros. He was apart of the trade that sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Astros, while the Brewers got  Domingo Santana, Brett Phillips, Adrian Houser, and Hader.  Hader is currently the Brewers number three rated prospect.  Hader has electric stuff as he consistently throws a mid-90’s fastball and also features a nasty slider. The key for Hader will be to prefect  and improve his changeup, which will give him three good pitches. Many scouts believe his ceiling could be that of an ace if he consistently controls and commands his three pitches.

Since being called up to Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2016, Hader has struggled due to his control and elevated pitch counts. Colorado Springs is also a hitters friendly park due to the altitude and thin air.  In Triple-A this season Hader posted a 3-4 record with an ERA of 5.37 in 12 games. He also struck out 51 batters in 52 innings of work. A change in scenery could be just what the doctor ordered for Hader who has struggled in Colorado Springs, but has the stuff to become an ace.

Brett Phillips

Phillips was the first to be called up by the Brewers in this wave of prospects. He has appeared in five games and started two sine his promotion. He is currently hitting .200, going 2-10 in his first ten career at-bats. Phillips has always been a guy who strikes out at a high rate, as he was striking out 35% of the time in Triple-A. In a small sample size with the Brewers, he is striking out at an alarming rate of 70%. 

Phillips is also a 23 year old  outfielder. He was originally drafted by the Houston Astros in the sixth round of the 2012 draft. Like Hader, Phillips was apart of the deal with Houston that sent Gomez and Fiers to the Astros. Phillips comes in as the Brewers tenth best prospect this season. He is known for his great arm strength and defense as well as his power bat.  Many scouts believe that Phillips has a ceiling of a dynamic top-of-the-order hitter. He was the prized prospect in that trade a couple of summers ago, but has struggled since due to injury. This is the first season that Phillips has been completely healthy and it’s showing.

In 49 games with Colorado Springs, he was batting .297 with 11 home runs and 41 runs batted in. He also added 35 runs and 4 triples. Even with his high strikeout rate, Phillips had a .369 on base percentage due to his good eye and discipline at the plate.

 

Arizona’s pitching silences Milwaukee in a 3-2 win

Milwaukee had few answers for Arizona’s pitching staff Saturday night in a 3-2 loss at Chase Field.

The Brewers managed just two hits all night, though one of them was a 2-run homer from Hernan Perez, his ninth on the year. But that’s all they’d get against starter Zack Godley and a trio of relievers, including closer Fernando Rodney, who came on for his 16th save of the year in the ninth inning.

Milwaukee’s Junior Guerra didn’t pitch poorly – he went six innings, giving up three runs on five hits – but he took the loss thanks to a two-run shot from Chris Drury in the sixth inning to give the Diamondbacks a 3-2 lead. Guerra is now 1-1 on the year.

Guerra’s departure allowed for the debut of the Brewers’ top pitching prospect – Josh Hader. The big lefty walked the first batter he faced, got a pair of fly outs, issued an intentional walk and then got his first-ever Major League strikeout.

“He had a good inning,” manager Craig Counsell said afterwards. “He got the first batter jitters out of the way. After that, I thought he locked in and he pitched very well.”

Hader was the second of the Brewers top prospects to get called up, joining outfielder Brett Phillips. But that number soon became three, they were joined on Saturday but the club’s No. 1 prospect in outfielder Lewis Brinson. He got the call after the team put second baseman Jonathan Villar on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back injury. Brinson could make his debut in the series finale against Arizona on Sunday afternoon.