MILWAUKEE – Nineteen last strikes for the 19 pitches thrown in relief by Milwaukee reliever Taylor Williams in the Brewers 12-3 win over the Miami Marlins on Thursday night.
1. Offensively, the Milwaukee Brewers had been able to get by with just two runs in each of the past two games. Granted, both of them turned out to be victories for Milwaukee. But that’s not a recipe for consistent success.
2. Sure, a team has never in the history of baseball lost a game while not allowing a run. But it’s not realistic for this pitching staff, or any for that matter, to keep opposing offenses off the board on a nightly basis.
3. Thursday night saw the offense break out. The Brewers scored seven runs in the sixth inning against the Marlins. Milwaukee had not scored that many runs in a single game at Miller Park this year.
4. The Crew entered the bottom of the fifth inning trailing Miami 3-2, thanks to a pair of home runs by former Brewers farmhand and current Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson. He was greeted with cheers as he stepped to the plate for his first at-bat in the third inning. Roughly 75 seconds later those cheers turned to boos as he circled the bases following his 429-foot no-doubt blast to center field.
5. Brinson again homered off Anderson in the fifth inning to give the Marlins a brief lead. It marked his first career multi-homer game, and the first two of this season. It’s rather fitting that it happened in Miller Park, considering Brinson was the top prospect in Milwaukee’s system prior to trading him to Miami in exchange for outfielder Christian Yelich.
6. “He put two good swings on balls, that’s for sure,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said following the game. “He had a nice game.”
7. “Kudos to him,” Brewers starter Chase Anderson said regarding Brinson’s home runs. “I made a mistake and he took care of it the way good hitters do. I’m sure he played this game today with a little extra adrenaline playing his former team. But you tip your cap, he hit the ball hard twice.”
8. That was about the only thing that went well for the Marlins. The Brewers scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to immediately take the lead back. They were able to keep Miami off the board in the sixth before the flood gates opened for the Brewers offensively.
9. The inning started with catcher Jett Bandy lacing a ground-rule double down the left field line and advancing to third on a ground out off the bat of Eric Sogard. Bandy then scored on a Lorenzo Cain double, his second of the night. Yelich and Domingo Santana followed with back-to-back walks to leave the bases loaded. After a Travis Shaw strike out, Jesus Aguilar delivered with a two-run single to center.
10. “I think [Aguilar’s] base hit was kind of the one that broke it open,” Counsell said following the game. “Obviously, Lorenzo [Cain] had great at-bats all night. We had good at-bats up and down the lineup tonight but I thought that [Aguilar’s] two-out hit there was kind of the one that really broke it open.”
11. Ryan Braun, who was out of the starting lineup for the second night in a row, was called up as a pinch-hitter in the pitcher’s spot. He delivered with his second career pinch-hit home run. Braun slugged a no-doubt bomb into the home bullpen in left-center field.
12. “It was a good spot for [Braun to pinch-hit] and I think his 1,000th RBI. Really cool way to get it,” Counsell said about Braun’s at-bat.
13. “It’s special, for one you’ve got to play a long time to reach that goal,” outfielder Lorenzo Cain said of Braun’s milestone. “He’s been a consistent, great hitter his entire career. I’m definitely happy for him. We definitely need him to get where we want to be.”
14. Braun’s home run did mark a special milestone, as he reached 1,000 career RBIs with the blast. Fewer than 300 players in the history of baseball have amassed that many in a career. Braun is the ninth active player to reach the mark, and the second Brewers player to do so, joining Robin Yount, who finished his career with 1,406 runs batted in.
15. “It’s a cool number, it’s a special number for sure,” Braun said. “I’ve said many times that the biggest challenge in this game is longevity and consistency and you can’t get to a number like that unless you’ve played for a while and had a lot of success.
16. “It also speaks to being fortunate to being on a lot of really good offensive teams. It’s a result of having really good teammates, having a ton of opportunities. First five or six years I had Prince Fielder hitting behind me so people never wanted to walk me to get to him. You’re just given a lot of opportunity. But it’s definitely a pretty cool number.”
17. Suddenly the Brewers held an 11-3 lead after Braun’s home run. The offense was as alive as it had been all year. To cap things off, Orlando Arcia stepped to the plate after Braun and went deep as well to give Milwaukee some unnecessary extra insurance.
18. No offense is going to score 12 runs on a regular basis. While remembering that, the Brewers did show what they’re capable of offensively on Thursday night with the offensive outburst. This isn’t going to be a regular thing for the Brewers, but this should be far from the only time it happens.
19. Milwaukee and Miami continue this four-game series on Friday night at Miller Park. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. CT. Jhoulys Chacin is the probable starter for the Brewers and Trevor Richards is slated to start for the Marlins.