HR: Carlos Gomez (1), Mark Reynolds (1, grand slam), Ronald Guzman (2)
There are still some questions to be resolved in the final weeks of spring training, roster spots left to be won and roles to be determined. But I think we can say one thing with relative certainty: Marco Estrada is ready for Opening Day.
He pitched six shutout innings in a 9-3 win over the Rangers today, allowing just four hits without a walk and recording five strikeouts. He's worked 12 consecutive scoreless innings this spring and the Brewers have won each of his last three starts. In fact, the Brewers are 3-0 in Estrada's last three starts and 1-7 in all other games over that span.
Estrada got some help from a Brewers offense that scored nine runs in a game for the third time this spring. Most of the damage came from Carlos Gomez's three-run homer in the fifth and a Mark Reynolds grand slam in the sixth, the first long ball of the spring for each batter. Reynolds' homer was reviewed, but the call on the field was upheld.
By the way, Jeff Bianchi entered today's game as a pinch runner for Aramis Ramirez and stole a base. He now has five on the spring to lead all Brewers, and he's tied for fifth in the Cactus League. He appeared in 100 MLB games but stole just four bases in 2013.
The Brewers carried a shutout into the ninth inning today before Donovan Hand surrendered three runs on a home run. Zach Duke and Brandon Kintzler each pitched scoreless innings in relief today.
With the win the Brewers are now 9-12 on the spring, and they hit the road tomorrow to take on one of Arizona's best teams when they face the Mariners in Peoria at 3:05 Central time. Wily Peralta will pitch against Blake Beavan.