Milwaukee overcomes early deficit to beat Pittsburgh 7-6

Powered by five home runs, the Milwaukee Brewers came back from an early deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-6 on Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park.

Manager Craig Counsell’s team trailed 4-0 entering the bottom of the third inning when their bats finally woke up. Centerfielder Keon Broxton drilled a solo home run, which was followed by a two-run shot from second baseman Neil Walker.

Things stayed 4-3 until the sixth inning, when third baseman Travis Shaw tied the game with his 26th homer of the year. The Pirates answered that with a run in the seventh, only to see Broxton hit another solo shot to tie things up in the bottom of the frame. After an Adam Frazier single gave Pittsburgh a 6-5 lead going to the bottom of the eighth inning, the Brewers showed off their resiliency as catcher Manny Pina hit a two-run homer that proved to be the game-winner.

The victory was the fourth straight for the Brewers, who improved to 2-43 this season when trailing after seven innings, and in doing so moved into sole possession of second place in the NL Central, 1 ½ games back of Chicago and a game in front of St. Louis.

After a rough first three innings, Jimmy Nelson settled in, going 6 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on eight hits while striking out seven. Anthony Swarzak picked up the win, while closer Corey Knebel earned his 24th save with a scoreless ninth inning.

Milwaukee now hits the road for nine games, starting Friday night in Colorado.

Broxton backs Davies in win over Pirates

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers avoided dropping in the National League Central standings by taking down the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday night 3-1 at Miller Park.

Zach Davies collected his 14th win of the year as he tossed 6.2 innings, allowing one run on six hits. Manny Piña backed him up with a pair of RBI, while Keon Broxton added a late-game insurance run with a pinch-hit solo blast in the seventh inning.

“Any run that we can scratch on at the end of the game really helps our team, helps the pitchers,” Broxton said. “It makes it tough on the other team, knowing they have to get an extra run. It’s not just one [run] to tie the game up, so yeah, that was a clutch home run.”

Newcomer Neil Walker continued to impress, making one of the more important defensive plays of the game. With the game tied at 1-1 in the sixth inning, Walker made a sliding stop of an infield grounder, tossing the ball over to first base in time to stop a run from scoring.

Closer Corey Knebel also notched his 23rd save of the year.

Minnesota finishes off a sweep of the Brewers

Milwaukee’s tumble down the NL Central standings continued on Thursday night thanks to a 7-2 loss to Minnesota at Miller Park.

The Twins scored three runs each in the second and third innings off of Zach Davies, who went 5 2/3rds innings, allowing 11 hits overall on the way to his sixth loss of the season. The six earned runs he gave up were two more than he had given up in the previous 28 2/3rds innings of work he’d seen.

Meanwhile, the Brewers bats continued their extended vacation as it’s now been 14 games since Milwaukee scored more than four runs. On Thursday, all the offense had was a solo home run by Keon Broxton in the second and then bases loaded walk that scored a run.

The loss was Milwaukee fifth straight, and dropped them into third in the division, a game back of St. Louis and two games back of Chicago.

Cincinnati will come to town on Friday to start a weekend series. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.

What this Brewers offense is missing

The Brewers have undoubtedly played better than anyone expected this season, and are still in the hunt for the National League Central title. This has lead to Brewers general manager David Stearns making some moves to sure up the Milwaukee bullpen, which emerged as the team’s weakest unit.

The team has struggled since the All-Star break going 9-14 in that time. The starting pitching has been relatively good all season, and the bullpen has made strides as of late. What is really plaguing the Brewers is the fact that the offense isn’t hitting home runs and not scoring runs in general.

David Stearns mentioned how he would continue to look at every option available to improve this ball club. I’m sure he’ll continue to scour the waiver wire and look to make deals during the waiver trade deadline.  He could also continue to bring up younger players from the minor league in hopes of a spark. Which might not really happen until September.

Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips are two highly touted prospects, but both have shown that the Brewers need to be patient with their progression as they’ve both struggled in their limited time at the big league level.

There has been a lot said lately about how the Brewers have struggled to score runs especially when they aren’t hitting home runs. That is true, but the team is struggling to even get on base at the same time. What I think this Brewers team is missing is a true lead-off hitter. Jonathan Villar was the Brewers lead-off man for most of last season, but he has been anything but productive so far this season.

Villar is hitting .216 this season with 8 home runs and 32 RBIs. He does have 20 stolen bases, but has shown a lack of concentration on the bases too many times in his career. He has also struck out 111 times this season, which is over 34% of his at-bats. His on-base percentage of .276 is terrible for a traditional lead-off hitter. He has also committed 11 errors this season, which doesn’t help his case.

Eric Sogard has also seen quite a bit of time in the lead-off spot since mid-May. He was fitting the role nicely up until he went on the disabled list just before the All-Star break. Since returning to the lineup a little more than two weeks ago, he has really struggled. Since July, Sogard is a combined 3-39 for a batting average of .077 during that time period. The Brewers have to monitor his playing time because he is coming off of knee reconstruction surgery.

The Brewers don’t really have many other options. Eric Thames and Domingo Santana have seen some time at the top of the order, but Craig Counsell and the Brewers would prefer them lower in the order. Keon Broxton has also gotten starts in the lead-off spot, but has struck out at too high of a clip to be a good candidate for the position. The Brewers could try Orlando Arcia at the top spot in the order, but Craig Counsell seems content with batting him in the seventh or eighth spot.

Without a consistent lead-off hitter, the Brewers offense will continue to struggle as long as they aren’t hitting the long ball. For my money, I’d pull the trigger on calling up top prospects Lewis Brinson and/or Mauricio Dubon and let them find their swings at the major league level.

 

 

 

 

Brewers make first move post-trade deadline, recall Keon Broxton from Triple-A

The Brewers made their first roster move since yesterday’s trade deadline. Milwaukee recalled Keon Broxton from Triple-A Colorado Springs, he was previously sent down on July 22nd after having a mediocre first-half of the season. Broxton was also sent down to make room for Eric Sogard, who returned from the disabled list after suffering an ankle injury.

Broxton was hitting .218 with 14 home runs and 38 RBIs for the Brewers. The biggest concern with Broxton was his inability to put the ball in play. He had a lot of swings and misses, and was striking out at a clip of 38% of his at-bats. The Brewers have since used multiple players in center field. Prized prospects Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips have had opportunities to play in center in the absence of Broxton. Both have shown improvement in their second stint in the major leagues.

In seven games in Triple-A,  Broxton was hitting .385 with one home run and seven RBIs, he also stole four bases. He will be taking the spot of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who the Brewers designated for assignment a day after selecting his contract from Triple-A. The Brewers are hoping Broxton found his swing in the ten days he spent in the minor leagues.

Brewers moves: Sogard in, Broxton out

Second baseman Eric Sogard is back and centerfielder Keon Broxton is out.

Those were the transactions announced Saturday by Milwaukee, which is in the midst of a season-worst six-game losing streak.

Sogard had been on the disabled list with an ankle injury since early July. Before that, the 31-year-old had been one of the pleasant surprises for Milwaukee. He spent all last year in the minor leagues, but when he got called up in April, he was great, batting .331 in 43 games, with three home runs and 14 RBIs.

Broxton, meanwhile, has been in a major funk at the plate, and that’s the reason he was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. In the month of July, the 27-year-old went 3-for-45 with one home run. For the season, his average had dipped to .218.

Brett Phillips is likely to take over on a regular basis in centerfield.

Milwaukee will take on Philadelphia on Saturday night.

Brewers finish off a sweep of Baltimore with a 4-0 win

The pitching of Matt Garza and the hitting of Keon Broxton propelled Milwaukee past Baltimore 4-0 Wednesday night at Miller Park.

Garza’s outing was potentially his best of the year, but it almost didn’t turn out that way. In the second inning, he loaded the bases with nobody out. But instead of the Orioles blowing things open, Garza managed to strike the next two batters out and then got a fly out to end the inning.

“Being able to put up a zero was huge,” Garza said afterwards. “[I] really took off from there. I got my mechanics back in order in the third, and I felt like I was in control from there on out.”

The Brewers starter would go 6 1/3 innings, giving up just five hits and striking out four to move to 4-4 on the year.
Meanwhile, Broxton knocked a two-run homer in the bottom of the third – his 14th on the year – to help give Milwaukee all the offense it needed.

“He’s a player that can affect the game in a lot of ways,” manager Craig Counsell said. “This was a good example of it tonight.”
With the win, Milwaukee moved to a season-high tying seven games above .500 and earned its first series sweep since the middle of May.

The Brewers will now hit the road for the final four games before the all-star break, starting Thursday with an afternoon game against Chicago at Wrigley Field. It’s a makeup game from one that got postponed back in May. Milwaukee leads the Cubs by 3.5 games in the NL Central.

LISTEN: Craig Counsell postgame press conference

Brewers soar to 7-0 win over Braves

ATLANTA — The Milwaukee Brewers avoided a series sweep Sunday afternoon, handing the Atlanta Braves a 7-0 loss behind the stellar pitching of Zach Davies.

Although Davies didn’t record a strikeout, he allowed just four hits over the course of his seven innings, keeping his road record blemish-free. It’s the first game this season in which Davies has made it out of the sixth inning and he was backed up by a flurry of offense.

Travis Shaw didn’t waste any time, blasting a first inning home run that got the attention of Atlanta’s Julio Tehran. Keon Broxton followed suit in the second inning before things really started clicking for Milwaukee. After Davies recorded his first extra-base hit of his career, three runs scored for the Brewers to take Tehran out of the game early.

“The big inning for me was the third when we had two outs and nobody on and we put together five or six at-bats that were outstanding,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s one of our best innings of the year, I think, the way we put it together.”

The Braves left 17 runners on base, which was a problem for the Brewers in the previous two games of the series.

Milwaukee’s offense gets better

The Brewers offense figures to keep rolling this week, as it’s expected Ryan Braun will return from the disabled list to take over the Lewis Brinson, who was demoted to Triple A following the win. Jett Bandy was also sent down and will be replaced by newcomer Stephen Vogt, who was claimed off waivers on Sunday from the Oakland A’s.

Bandy was hitting just .053 in the month of June, with only two hits in 38 at-bats. Vogt comes into Milwaukee with two All-Star selections under his belt, though his batting average has dipped to .217 in the 2017 season.

Brewers power past the Cardinals 6-4

Milwaukee powered its way to a 6-4 win at St. Louis on Thursday night.

After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, centerfielder Keon Broxton tied things up in the second with a two-run homer that traveled 489-feet – the longest home run in Busch Stadium history. It was also the second-longest homer of the year in the Major Leagues.

“Oh, my gosh. Wow,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said when told afterwards where Broxton’s effort stacked up. “That’s rare air.”

Milwaukee wasn’t done with the long ball, though. With the game tied at four in the ninth inning, first baseman Eric Thames jumped on an 0-2 pitch and drilled it to right field, where it hit the top of the wall and bounced over for a two-run homer.

“(An assistant) and I were discussing whether we should pinch run for (Jesus) Aguilar, (who was on first base),” Counsell said. “When (Thames) hit it, I was like, ‘Oh, no.’ (Thankfully) it got over. I was glad that decision didn’t come back to haunt us.”

Oliver Drake came on in the bottom of the ninth to earn the save, the first of his big league career.
Milwaukee finished its seven-game road trip with a 4-3 record and is now 19-13 away from Miller Park this year.

“It’s another road trip we pulled a winning record from and continued to play good baseball,” Counsell said. “And really just continued to be resilient.”

The win pushed Milwaukee four games over .500 at 36-32, and the team now holds a 2.5 game lead on the Chicago Cubs for first place in the NL Central.

The Brewers will return home on Friday night to open a weekend series against the San Diego Padres.

Milwaukee makes it three straight wins with a 7-4 victory over Boston

The Milwaukee Brewers earned their third straight win last night, a 7-4 victory against the Boston Red Sox at Miller Park.

The Crew has scored more runs in the first inning of games than anyone else in the majors this year, and that continued Wednesday night, as RBI’s from Domingo Santana and Hernan Perez platted a pair of runs to take a 2-0 lead against starter Kyle Kendrick. Milwaukee would chase the Boston righty after just 4 1/3 innings of work, tagging him for six runs on 10 hits.

Perez finished 2 of 4 with a pair of RBI’s, while Keon Broxton and Eric Thames each had a pair of hits.

Milwaukee got the win despite starter Chase Anderson making it 4 1/3 innings. He gave up two runs on nine hits, while striking out four. He was replaced by Rob Scahill, who held the Red Sox scoreless over his 2 1/3 innings to pick up the win.

The only down note for Milwaukee on the night was watching Ryan Braun hobble off the field in the fifth inning with tightness in his left calf. Manager Craig Counsell didn’t know how severe the injury was, but did mention that he had been planning to give the outfielder Thursday off anyway. The game was Braun’s second since missing much of the team’s 6-game road trip last week with an arm injury.

The two teams will finish off their 3-game set Thursday afternoon with first pitch coming at 12:10 p.m.

Note:

Junior Guerra is getting closer to returning to the Milwaukee rotation. The team’s Opening Day starter is scheduled to make a rehab start on Monday for Double-A Biloxi. He’s been out since the season opener with a calf strain.