MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 24: John Axford #59 of the Milwaukee Brewers looks on as he receives the Tip O'Neil Award prior to the game against the Houston Astros at Miller Park on April 24, 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
MVP: Travis Ishikawa (+.297)
LVP: Ryan Braun (-.210)
The title of the first draft of this post was "Pitching, Defense and Three Homers." Unfortunately, for the second straight night the bullpen negated the "pitching" element and forced a recap rewrite. Then Carlos Gomez hit a fourth homer and blew another hole in it, but I'm less upset about that.
The Brewers plated five runs in the sixth tonight to take a 7-2 lead and it looked like Ron Roenicke might get his wish for a game where they get a big lead and he can use other guys to pitch the final innings. Unfortunately, tonight's "other guys" couldn't carry the load: Kameron Loe and Manny Parra combined to allow four runs in just 1.2 innings of work, so Ron Roenicke still had to use Francisco Rodriguez (pitching for the eleventh time in 18 games) and John Axford to record the final four outs.
The offense was, of course, a happier story. Eight of the Brewers nine runs tonight scored via home runs: A three run shot for Rickie Weeks, two run homers for Corey Hart and Travis Ishikawa and an eighth inning solo shot for Carlos Gomez. Ishikawa hadn't homered in the majors since August of 2010. This was also Gomez's first long ball of the season. Nyjer Morgan didn't hit a homer, but was also a key part of the offense: He entered the game with just five hits on the season but collected three tonight.
Bud Norris tied a major league record in the bottom of the third by recording four strikeouts. Travis Ishikawa struck out swinging but reached base on a wild pitch, Randy Wolf struck out on a foul bunt and Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun struck out swinging.
John Axford pitched a scoreless ninth to record his fourth save of the season and 47th in as many opportunities. He's now tied Brad Lidge for the fourth longest streak in major league history.
Hopefully the Brewers can sleep fast tonight: They're back in action already at noon tomorrow as these two teams close out the three game series. Shaun Marcum will be on the mound for the Brewers against J.A. Happ in the untelevised contest.