Joe & Ebo Experience: Wisconsin winners

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Brewers 5, Reds 4: Last takes

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Brewers avoided the series sweep with a 5-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday afternoon.

Chacin struggles, Reds offense stays hot

Similar to the start of Tuesday’s game, the Reds put up runs before the Brewers bats hit the field. Nick Senzel led off the inning with a single off Jhoulys Chacin. Then, Chacin walked Yasiel Puig with two outs. Next, Josh VanMeter singled scoring Phillip Ervin (replaced Senzel) and Puig to put the Reds up 2-0.

Chacin found more trouble in the second and third innings allowing a run in each frame. The start of the second was promising as Chacin struck out both Juan Graterol and Lucas Sims. But, with two outs, Ervin singled and Joey Votto followed with an RBI single giving the Reds a 3-2 lead.

Then, VanMeter led off the third frame with a solo home run putting the Reds up 4-2.

His start was cut short due to rib cage discomfort. Chacin threw three innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits, striking out six. He is winless in his last 12 starts and holds an ERA of 5.79.

Brewers rotation in shambles

The Brewers announced their starter Chacin had to leave the game due to rib cage discomfort. Brandon Woodruff had to leave Sunday’s game early with an oblique strain and is expected to be out six weeks. With the rotation already losing their most consistent pitcher, the Chacin news is worrisome.

Milwaukee is still in the midst of a playoff race as the trade deadline approaches only two games back of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. What do they do now if Chacin ends up needing to miss significant time? Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Chacin is “very likely” headed to the IL with a right oblique strain.

Freddy Peralta and/or Adrian Houser may find themselves getting a start or more in the coming weeks depending on how long Chacin is out for and if GM David Stearns makes any moves.

Offense comes through

The Brewers needed the offense to play well today and they did just enough to get the win. Ryan Braun got them going in the bottom of the first blasting a two-run homer to tie the game at 2-2.

It was the fifth inning though where the offense really came together. Rookie phenom Keston Hiura got the inning started with his 10th home run of the season coming on a solo shot. He is the second-fastest player that debuted with the Brewers to hit 10 homers. It took him 40 games to reach the milestone. In 2007, Ryan Braun hit his 10th dinger in his 38th game. Hiura also extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

The Crew wasn’t done yet. Orlando Arcia walked, Lorenzo Cain singled to center and Christian Yelich walked to load the bases with two outs. Yasmani Grandal singled to left scoring Arcia and Cain to put the Brewers in front 5-4.

Freddy the closer?

The bullpen went to work after Chacin’s early exit and didn’t allow a run the rest of the way. Josh Hader came into pitch in the seventh inning and threw two scoreless frames before turning it over to Freddy Peralta. Peralta was perfect in the ninth inning with two strikeouts picking up his first career save. The Brewers may have found their new closer.

Peralta could end up back in the starting rotation due to the injuries of Woodruff and Chacin but he will pitch out of the bullpen at least for the Cubs series.

What’s next?

The Brewers (54-50) have the Thursday off before beginning a three-game set with the NL Central leading Chicago Cubs (55-47) on Friday. Gio Gonzalez (2|13.60 ERA27 SO) will get the start opposite of Jose Quintana (8|74.42 ERA, 95 SO). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm.

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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.”

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.