Tyler Thornburg allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs in his Major League debut, but he was far from the worst pitcher for the Brewers tonight. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
MVP: Ramirez (+.373)
LVP: Axford (-.647)
Fangraphs Win Expectancy Graph (not for the faint of heart)
John Axford was the culprit this time, allowing back-to-back home runs by Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista to turn a 9-8 lead in the ninth into a 10-9 deficit. The Brewers went quietly in the ninth, with only a two-out Cody Ransom single.
The Brewers had held leads of 4-2 and 9-6 earlier in the game, the latter coming on an Aramis Ramirez grand slam to put the Brewers ahead 9-6 in the sixth. The Jays' pitchers did most of the rest of the Brewers' work themselves, allowing three walks and an HBP with the bases loaded.
Both teams' starters were making their first major-league start, and both melted down in very different ways - Tyler Thornburg via the longball and Jesse Chavez via wildness.
Chavez broke down first, allowing four two-out runs in the fourth (after Tyler Thornburg's first big-league hit, a double) on a Carlos Gomez double, a bases-loaded HBP by Corey Hart, and two bases-loaded walks by Rickie Weeks and Martin Maldonado.
Thornburg looked strong his first two times through the order, with the only damage being a two-run homer by Brett Lawrie (who else?) in the third. But the Jays pretty clearly figured him out the third time through, as he gave up back-to-back-to-back bombs to Rasmus, Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion. He finished with 5 ER on 7 hits in 5 1/3 IP, with no walks and 2 K's.
The Brewers' pen was shaky throughout its 3 2/3 innings tonight: Tim Dillard gave up a run after Thornburg left in the sixth, and Manny Parra gave up two in the seventh to bring it to 9-8. Francisco Rodriguez a scoreless eighth, but Axford quickly blew the lead in the ninth.
Earlier in the game, the Brewers' own comeback came against the Jays' pen, after they loaded the bases in the sixth with an Edwin Maysonet single, Nyjer Morgan double, and Carlos Gomez walk. After Ryan Braun brought in a run with a walk, Ramirez brought everyone home with his slam.
The Brewers will try to salvage the series tomorrow afternoon, when Yovani Gallardo will start against a TBD pitcher from the Blue Jays. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. Central.