March 19, 2012; Surprise, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Norichika Aoki (7) walks to the field before the game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
HR: Kentrail Davis (1)
The media in attendance may have come to Surprise(!) to see Yu Darvish pitch but they were treated to a standout performance by another former Japanese star, Norichika Aoki. Aoki had the Brewers' only hit off Darvish, an RBI single in the second, tied the game with a two-run triple in the sixth, then scored the go-ahead run on Cesar Izturis' suicide squeeze. All told he went 3-for-3 in the game with a triple, two runs scored, three RBI and a stolen base.
The Brewers' sixth inning rally might have been even more relevant because it came against new Rangers closer Joe Nathan. He gave up singles to Alex Gonzalez and George Kottaras (along with Aoki's triple) in the frame and has now allowed six runs in three innings this spring.
Randy Wolf, meanwhile, became the first Brewer pitcher of the spring to work into the sixth inning, allowing three runs on ten hits over five innings (and two batters in the sixth). He also pitched to Jonathan Lucroy for the third time this spring, and has only thrown to 2011 personal catcher George Kottaras one time. Lucroy, meanwhile, went 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch to end his nine game hitting streak.
Jose Veras, John Axford, Tim Dillard and Mike McClendon each pitched scoreless innings in relief to close out the game. Veras inherited two runners in the sixth but stranded them both. McClendon has the Brewers' only two saves this spring.
The win was the Brewers' seventh of the spring, compared to nine losses and a tie. They'll get a chance to go for two straight when they host the Dodgers tomorrow in a game that will be televised on FS Wisconsin and MLB Network.