Wily Peralta was dubbed the Brewers Opening Day starter by manager Craig Counsell, but a fairly large contingent of Milwaukee's fanbase sees tonight's starter, Jimmy Nelson, as the team's best pitcher. After Peralta was lit up by the San Francisco Giants in a 12-3 debacle on Monday, the bar was set low for Nelson to maintain his status as the team's ace in the hearts of the fans. The 26-year-old righty brought his pole to vault over it anyway, turning in a strong seven and a third inning outing in a 2-1 loss to the Giants.
WP: Johnny Cueto (1-0)
LP: Jimmy Nelson (0-1)
SV: Santiago Casilla (1)
MIL HR: Nope
SFG HR: Brandon Crawford (1)
The Brewers struck first for the second consecutive night. Back-to-back singles from Jonathon Lucroy and Chris Carter put runners at the corners with no one out in the bottom of the second. Ramon Flores, still seeking his first hit as a Brewer, rolled into the shift for an easy 6-3 double play, scoring Lucroy to give Milwaukee an early lead.
The Giants, also for the second consecutive night, wasted no time erasing Milwaukee's lead, as Brandon Crawford pounded the first pitch of the third inning into the right field seats to tie the game at one.
Milwaukee threatened again in the bottom half of the frame when Jonathan Villar laced a double to left field to lead off the inning. After a sacrifice from Nelson moved the Brewers shortstop to third, Milwaukee put the contact play on with predictable results: Crawford gobbled up a ground ball from Domingo Santana and fired home to nail Villar at the plate easily, even on poor throw that forced catcher Buster Posey to make an acrobatic catch and tag. It would be the final time the Brewers advanced a runner past second base, as the failed to test Giants starter Johnny Cueto or the San Francisco bullpen again.
Nelson made short work of the Giants throughout the night and beside the mistake to Crawford, was only tested once. Joe Panik led off the fourth with a single, followed by a walk to Posey and an infield single to Hunter Pence that loaded the bases with nobody out. Nelson did well to limit the damage, getting Brandon Belt to sky one to the infield before Matt Duffy plated a run on a fielder choice to short. That one run would turn out to be all the Giants needed, however, as the Brewers bats went silent: Flores' seventh inning single was the final hit of the game for the home team. In all, Nelson needed just 88 pitches to get through 7.1 innings, allowing five hits and the two earned runs with three strikeouts and a walk.
MIchael Blazek finished off the eighth with a walk and a strike out, and Jeremy Jeffress worked around two hits in the ninth inning to keep the Brewers withing striking distance.
Milwaukee will look to avoid a season-opening home sweep tomorrow afternoon when Taylor Jungmann takes the ball for the Brewers opposite Jeff Samardzija. Jungmann is starting in place of Matt Garza, who was placed on the 15-day DL today and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. First pitch at Miller Park is scheduled for 12:40.
News and Notes
- Following the game, the Brewers announced that they had acquired LHP Sam Freeman from the Texas Rangers for cash considerations. To make room for Freeman the Brewers designated RHP Ariel Pena, who was demolished in his short appearance on Monday, for assignment. Freeman, 28, appeared in 54 games for the Rangers last season, compiling a 3.05 ERA in 38.1 innings of work.
- The Cardinals lost again today, too. So you know, whatever.