Jacob Nottingham grand slam propels the Brewers past Kansas City

The Milwaukee Brewers kept pace in the push for the second playoff spot in the NL Central Friday night with a 9-5 win over Kansas City.

Manager Craig Counsell’s club fell behind 3-0 after the first inning and trailed 4-0 after three innings as the Royals got to starter Adrian Houser. He made it just four innings and saw his ERA rise to 5.33.

However, the offense came to life in the bottom of the fourth inning. Christian Yelich got things going with a solo home run, No. 150 in his career. The Royals walked in a run and then catcher Jacob Nottingham drilled the first grand slam of his career to give the Crew a 6-4 lead. Orlando Arcia followed that up with a 3-run shot in the fifth inning to blow the game open.

The Brewers had 14 hits with five different players having at least two, including Ryan Braun. He did that despite leaving the game early with back pain.

Milwaukee’s bullpen pitched well with six different guys seeing the mound. The lone blip on the radar was Josh Hader giving up a solo home run in the ninth inning.

With the win, the Brewers remained a game back of St. Louis and Cincinnati in the race for the second playoff spot in the division. Milwaukee has 10 games left in the season, while the Reds have eight games and the Cardinals have 12.

The Brewers and Royals will meet again Saturday night at Miller Park.

Brewers and Cardinals split doubleheader as playoff race tightens

Milwaukee had to settle for another split of a doubleheader with St. Louis on Wednesday, losing the first game and taking the second.

The Brewers got out to a 2-0 advantage in Game 1 with a two-run homer from Keston Hiura in the first inning off of Adam Wainwright. But it’s all they would muster off the 39-year-old, as he went seven innings, allowing just four hits and striking out nine to pick up the win.

Milwaukee’s ace, Brandon Woodruff, couldn’t match Wainwright, but didn’t pitch poorly. He went the full seven innings as well, allowing four runs — three earned — while striking out five. He gave up a pair of solo homers and took the loss.

In Game 2, the Brewers once again jumped on the Cardinals early, scoring four runs in the first inning off of starter Johan Oviedo. Ryan Braun got things going with a three-run homer and then Jedd Gyorko added a sacrifice fly to score another.

It was all the Milwaukee pitching staff would need. Brent Suter, Freddy Peralta, Devin Williams and Eric Yardley combined for the two-hit shutout of the Cardinals.

The split allowed the Brewers to take three of the five games in the series. It left them, the Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds within a game of each other in the NL Central for the second playoff spot.

Milwaukee will get Thursday off before opening a series against Kansas City at Miller Park on Friday.

Brewers rout St. Louis, move to within a game of playoff spot

The offensively inept Milwaukee Brewers came alive in a dominating 18-3 win over St. Louis Tuesday night.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning but back-to-back home runs from Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun gave the Brewers a 2-1 advantage and they didn’t look back. They scored two more runs in the third and then a combined 13 in the fourth and fifth innings.

Nine of those runs came off of Cardinals’ starter Jake Flaherty, who had given up a total of seven in his last five outing combined.

Yelich finished with a season-high three hits and also scored three times. Every starter but one had at least one RBI, including four from Daniel Vogelbach and Keston Hiura.

The offense was backed up by a good night from Brett Anderson and the pitching staff. Anderson went six innings, giving up two runs on five hits to pick up the win.

Milwaukee’s 18 runs were the most it had ever scored against the Cardinals and it left the club a 1/2 game back of Cincinnati for third in the NL Central and one game back of St. Louis for second.

The Brewers and Cardinals will finish off their series with another doubleheader on Wednesday.

Brewers, Cardinals settle for a split in doubleheader

The Milwaukee Brewers had to settle for a split of Monday’s doubleheader with St. Louis at Miller Park.

Manager Craig Counsell’s club won Game 1 thanks to some key hits in extra innings. After St. Louis took a 1-0 lead in the top of the eighth inning, Ryan Braun snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak with a RBI double. Keston Hiura then stepped to the plate and drove in the game-winning run with a sac fly.

The Brewers got to extra innings due to a standout effort from the pitching staff. Starter Josh Lindblom pitched a solid five innings before relievers Devin Williams and Josh Hader came on to keep things scoreless in what turned into a 2-1 Milwaukee victory. However, the outings from Hader and Williams cost Milwaukee in Game 2.

Milwaukee’s struggling offense managed just two runs that came on a 2-run homer from Jedd Gyorko. It would have been enough to get the win after Corbin Burnes struck out 10 in just 4 2/3 innings before exiting with that 2-0 lead. But with Williams and Hader unavailable, the bullpen failed to close the door, with Eric Yardley blowing the save opportunity by giving up a game-tying run in the seventh inning to send things to extras.

St. Louis took their first lead in the ninth with a single and the Brewers were unable to answer in their half as the Cardinals handed them a 3-2 loss.

Milwaukee managed just four hits in the game and two of those came courtesy of Dan Vogelbach. He ended up going 2-for-3 with a run scored, and he now has nearly double the hits (9) in his nine games with the Brewers than he did in 14 games with Toronto and Seattle.

It was another brutal day for Christian Yelich at the plate. Between the two games, the 2018 NL MVP struck out six times and reached base just once. He’s now batting .195 on the year and has just one home run in the month of September.

The split left Milwaukee two games back of St. Louis and a 1/2 game back of Cincinnati for the second playoff spot in the NL Central with 14 games to play.

The Brewers and Cardinals will meet again Tuesday night at Miller Park.

Brewers no-hit by Chicago Alec Mills in 12-0 loss

MILWAUKEE (AP) — From college walk-on to major league starter, Chicago Cubs right-hander Alec Mills had to earn most every break he got.

On the brink of big league history, he was happy to welcome this bit of luck: expecting to see two-time batting champion Christian Yelich in the on-deck circle, Mills looked over and saw his backup instead.

“That kind of surprised me,” he said.

This one surprised just about everyone.

Mills cruised through baseball’s second no-hitter this season in just the 15th start of his career, completing the gem in a 12-0 romp over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

Mills got Jace Peterson — who replaced Yelich, the 2018 NL MVP, on defense late in the blowout — to hit a routine grounder to shortstop Javier Baez with two outs in the ninth. Baez completed the play, and the Cubs swarmed around Mills, tearing off his cap and pulling at the smiling right-hander’s uniform after his first career complete game.

“It just hasn’t really hit me yet,” the 28-year-old said. “It’s kind of crazy, I didn’t even know how to celebrate. Just something that all came together today. Obviously a memory I’ll have forever.”

Mills (5-3) threw 114 pitches and hardly had any close calls in Chicago’s 16th no-hitter.

Mills struck out five and walked three. His five strikeouts are the fewest in a Cubs no-hitter since Ken Holtzman in 1969. He only induced five swings and misses, tied with Oakland’s Dallas Braden during his perfect game in 2010 for fewest in a no-hitter since at least 1988, per Stats Inc.

“I can promise you it was not a slow heartbeat,” Mills said. “I had to kind of take a seat and calm myself down. It was tough. I had to take a lot of deep breaths and get into a good mindset.”

Chicago White Sox ace Lucas Giolito threw baseball’s other no-hitter this season against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 15.

Milwaukee had not been held hitless since Detroit’s Justin Verlander pitched the first of his three no-hitters on June 12, 2007. It’s the fourth time the Brewers have been no-hit.

Held without a hit through three innings, the Cubs broke through against Milwaukee in the fourth against starter Adrian Houser (1-5) due in large part to shoddy fielding by the Brewers. Kyle Schwarber drew a one-out walk, Baez reached on an error and Jason Heyward followed with a bloop double to left to drive in a run.

With the infield in, Jason Kipnis hit a ball directly to Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura, who had it slip out of his hand as he tried to rush a throw to the plate, allowing a run to score.

Victor Caratini followed with a run-scoring bloop single and Ian Happ connected for a two-run single as the Cubs scored five runs in the inning, all unearned.

“Nothing went right today. We didn’t play a good game,” Counsell said. “We played a poor game and we lost. We have to turn the page and know that there’s still a lot of important baseball left in front of us.”

Brandon Woodruff dominant as Brewers get walk-off win over Chicago

A dominant pitching effort from Brandon Woodruff was backed up by a couple key offensive moments to help Milwaukee to a walk-off 1-0 win over Chicago on Friday night.

After a Christian Yelich walk to open the ninth inning, and a single by Jedd Gyorko that gave the Brewers runners at the corners with no outs, Ryan Braun stepped to the plate and delivered a game-winning sacrifice fly off of Jeremy Jeffress to hand Milwaukee back-to-back shutout victories.

The sac fly from Braun is all the Brewers needed because of what Woodruff gave them over seven innings. The big righty allowed just an infield single while striking out 12 on exactly 100 pitches. He took a no-decision, but it was the second-straight overwhelming effort from a Brewers pitcher. Corbin Burnes gave up just one hit and struck out 11 in Milwaukee’s 19-0 win over Detroit on Wednesday.

Devin Williams gave up a hit for the first time since Aug. 14 — a triple with two outs — but he calmly struck out Anthony Rizzo to end the Cubs chance to get on the board in the eighth inning. Josh Hader got the win by throwing a scoreless top of the ninth while striking out a pair.

Neither offense did much of anything. The Cubs had just two hits the entire night, while the Brewers had four. The two teams combined to strike out 27 times. Jon Lester pitched well for Chicago, giving up three hits over six innings.

The win moved Milwaukee within a game of St. Louis for the second playoff spot in the NL Central and four games back of the first-place Cubs with 18 games to play.

The Brewers and Cubs will meet again Saturday night at Miller Park.

Brewers score most runs in a decade, hammer Detroit in shutout win

Milwaukee hammered Detroit 19-0 Wednesday afternoon as the Brewers played their most complete game of the season.

Manager Craig Counsell’s club jumped all over Tigers starter Matthew Boyd, tagging him with seven runs over three innings of work. That included giving up a pair of home runs — a solo shot by Jedd Gyorko and a two-run homer from Jacob Nottingham.

Once Boyd left, the Brewers ripped apart Detroit’s bullpen, scoring at least three runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings. Gyorko hit his second home run of the day in the top of the ninth, and that was followed by a two-run shot by Tyrone Taylor — his fourth hit of the game.

Luis Urias finished with five RBI, while Ryan Braun brought in three runs. Every Brewers batter except for Keston Hiura had at least one hit and seven tallied at least one RBI.

As good as the offense was, the pitching effort from Corbin Burnes matched it. He gave up just a single hit over seven innings and he struck out 11 batters. Burnes has not allowed a run in 19 consecutive innings and he lowered his ERA to 1.99 on the season.

The 13 extra-base hits by the Brewers was a team record, while the 19 runs were the most since putting up 20 in 2010 against Pittsburgh.

Milwaukee improved to 19-22 on the season, two games back of St. Louis for the second of two playoff spots in the NL Central.

The Brewers are off Thursday and will open a series against first-place Chicago on Friday.

Brewers fall 4-1 in Cleveland

Milwaukee could get nothing going offensively and fell for a second straight day to Cleveland as the Indians took two of three from the Brewers.

Manager Craig Counsell’s club was just 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base in the 4-1 loss Sunday afternoon. The lone offense of the day came courtesy of an infield single by Jacob Nottingham that scored Luis Urias.

First baseman Jace Peterson was 2-for-3, while Dan Vogelbach grabbed his fourth hit in the series after having five hits the entire year with Seattle and Toronto. As a team, Milwaukee struck out 13 times.

Milwaukee starter Brett Anderson took the loss, going five innings and allow four runs on six hits while walking a pair. He dropped to 2-3 on the season as his ERA moved up to 4.64.

The loss dropped the Brewers to 18-21 on the year. They’ll now head to Detroit for a pair of games against the Tigers. The two split their series earlier this week.

Keston Hiura with 3 RBI in 7-1 win at Cleveland

Six runs over the seventh and eighth inning was plenty for Milwaukee in its 7-1 win at Cleveland Friday night.

The Brewers got an RBI double from Keston Hiura, a pair of throwing errors scored two more and then Ryan Braun drove in another run on a single to center. Then, in the eighth inning, Hiura drilled a 2-run homer, his 10th on the season. It was Hiura’s first multi-hit game since Aug. 19 and he now leads the team in home runs.

Those two innings held up thanks to a largely dominant effort from the pitching staff. Corbin Burnes didn’t allow an earned run over six innings of work and struck out seven. He lowed his ERA to 2.35 on the season, the best of any of Milwaukee’s starters, and he improved to 2-0 this year.

Brent Suter thew a pair of scoreless innings and then Alex Claudio came in to finish things off in the ninth inning.

Batting leadoff, Ben Gamel went 3-for-5, while new addition Dan Vogelbach went 2-for-3 as the designated hitter.

Milwaukee improved to 18-19 on the season and with a win Saturday the Brewers can get back to .500 for the first time since they were 11-11.

Brewers designate Smoak for assignment, add Vogelbach

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers claimed first baseman/designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach off waivers and designated Justin Smoak for assignment as they attempt to boost their struggling lineup and make another September surge.

Smoak, 33, had been hitting .186 with five homers, 15 RBIs and 40 strikeouts in 113 at-bats. Smoak went 1 of 21 over his last eight games, though he did walk twice and score two runs Wednesday in an 8-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

“Determining whether and the likelihood of a player snapping out of a slump is always a really tough judgment call,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said. “In this case, with the volume of playing time that Justin had to try to get this going and where we are in the season, we felt like it was the right time.”

The Brewers are taking a leap of faith in regard to Vogelbach, who made the All-Star Game last year but has struggled ever since.

Vogelbach, 27, has batted .088 (5 of 57) in a combined 20 games this season with Seattle and Toronto, who both designated him for assignment. He has walked 12 times.

Last year, Vogelbach batted .208 with 30 homers, 76 RBIs, 92 walks and a .780 OPS for Seattle. But he hit just .143 (19 of 133) with five homers and 12 RBIs in August and September of last season.

“The underlying skills are still there,” Stearns said. “He still has a really solid understanding of the strike zone. He understands what strikes and balls are, and he controls the zone very well, and he still has the same impressive raw power that allowed him to hit 30 home runs last year and have a really good first half. Those are still there.”

Vogelbach has played first base in the past but has exclusively been a DH so far this season. Stearns said Vogelbach could play some first base for Milwaukee but added that “I wouldn’t expect him to see the bulk of the time there.”

Milwaukee is seeking a third straight postseason berth, something it has never accomplished in franchise history. The Brewers got to the playoffs each of the last two years thanks to strong finishes, and they’ll need another big September to get back to the postseason.

The Brewers (17-19) are third in the NL Central, 4½ games behind the Chicago Cubs and one game behind St. Louis. Milwaukee is averaging just four runs per game to rank 27th out of 30 major league teams, ahead of only Cincinnati, Kansas City and Texas.

“We have to recognize that we haven’t scored enough runs this year to this point to win the number of games that we’d like to win,” Stearns said. “This is a reflection of trying to find a fit that could potentially help our offense.”

Milwaukee’s decision to designate Smoak for assignment comes after the Brewers already designated first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison for assignment and released utilityman Brock Holt. Morrison became a free agent while Holt landed in Washington. The Brewers had added all three players before this season.

In other moves, the Brewers reinstated pitcher Brandon Woodruff from the paternity list and optioned reliever Phil Bickford to their alternate training site.

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