Combine two good pitchers and two struggling offenses and tonight's game is the result. The teams combined for 9 hits (Brewers 4, Braves 5), 23 strikeouts (Brewers 14, Braves 9), and 3 runs.The Brewers had 6 legitimate baserunners, (they walked twice...more later) and one illegitimate baserunner (Kirk Nieuwenhuis reached on a wild pitch while striking out in the second...more later), and made bad outs on the bases with two of those legitimate baserunners.
The Braves had 10 legitimate baserunners, and actually had 2 hits in an inning (something the Brewers didn't do) which plated their loan run. Ryan Braun hit a solo homerun in the fourth on the only bad pitch that Tehran made in his seven innings of work - a hanging slider that Braun hit out to dead center. A two out single in the top of the eighth by Scooter Gennett on a fastball down the middle plated Jonathon Villar with the ultimate winning run.
Villar had walked with two out and nobody on, but only after Ramon Flores (who led off the eighth with a walk off of Norris) was picked off of first. Villar stole second and beat a wide throw home from rightfielder Nick Markakis. Villar has his own misadventure on the bases, once again getting thrown out at third on a groundball to the shortstop. This is becoming a nightly (or daily) occurence, which at least means that Villar continues to get on base.
The Brewers once again struck out at an alarming rate, and the 4-5-6 hitters in the line-up (Jonathon Lucroy, 2 K's, Chris Carter - golder sombrero 4 K's, and Niewenhuis, 3 K's) had almost 2/3 of them.
What issues the Brewers had on the bases and at the plate were somewhat balanced by some very good defensive work. With Jimmy Nelson (6 innings, 4 hits, 1 earned, 3 walks, 8 K's, 1 hit batter) facing a no out, bases loaded jam in the second, Erick Aybar lined an outside 3-1 fastball that Aaron Hill speared, stepping on third to double off Markakis. In the fourth, Kelly Johnson ripped a line drive up the middle that a shifted Hill made a diving grab of.
In the fifth, Gennett made a very good pick of a low throw by Nelson on a sacrifice bunt from Tehran. While the Braves still scored their loan run on an RBI triple from Mallex Smith, it would have been a whole lot worse without the clean pick by Scoot.
Nelson walked the lead off hitter in the sixth, and Tyler Flowers drilled a liner over Nieuwenhuis' head to straight away center. Kirk got a great jump and grabbed the ball with a small leap just shy of the track. With two down, Hill caught Aybar's foul pop leaning into the Braves' dugout.
Finally, with two down in the bottom of the eighth, Smith beat Lucroy's throw on a steal attempt. But Scoot kept the tag on as Smith's foot came off the base, and the out was called on appeal. Very fine game defensively for the Crew.
The Brewers three 'ahead' relievers (Michael Blazek, Tyler Thornburg, and Jeremy Jeffress) combined for 3 innings of 1 hit ball, no runs, with a walk and a strikeout. Myler Thornress?
So tomorrow Milwaukee goes for the series win (in preperation for a sweep) against the hapless Braves. The Brewers (19-26) send second ace Junior Guerra (3-0) against the Braves' (12-32...really?) Mike Foltyniwicz (1-2). The Braves are a respectable 12-14 on the road. That means they are an abysmal 2-18 at home.