Let's get this out of the way. Here's 30+ minutes of the Benny Hill theme on loop. Keep it on in the background while you're reading this. The reference will come up a few times and definitely pertains to some moments during tonight's Brewers game. Honestly, the game wasn't that awful – it’s not like it was a blowout and they didn’t do anything too embarrassing like give up an in-the-park-homer (hey, it was a triple and an error!) – but the Brewers didn’t play the prettiest contest. However, like the last recap I did, they were in the game until the end, keeping things very interesting in the final frame. But don’t worry – there were other interesting occurrences throughout the game, as well, including the aforementioned in-the-park homer that wasn’t.
It was kind of, sort of, not really a pitcher’s duel between Wily Peralta and Jose Fernandez (though Jerry Augustine said it would be in the pregame show) with the Marlins starter dominating the Brewers to the tune of 11 strikeouts and 7 shutout innings. But in between all the dominating, the Brewers were able to reach base every single inning of the game. Peralta did put up a quality start to keep the Brewers in the game, but it was definitely Fernandez who was the victor of that "duel".
Jonathan Villar started off the game with a double and was followed by a walk from Alex Presley. Ryan Bruan flied out to deep right field, making Giancarlo Stanton work for the out at the wall. Chris Carter grounded into a double play, which wouldn’t be the last one of the night for the Brewers.
Derek Dietrich grounded out to start the Marlins’ half of the 1st. Martin Prado started his big night with a double and advanced to third on a Christian Yelich groundout. However, Stanton began a trend of strikeouts for him tonight and ended Miami’s threat in the 1st.
Double plays, strikeouts, and walks. That was the name of the game this evening. Kirk Nieuwenhuis chose the best of those three outcomes to start the 2nd and drew a walk. Oh, Colin Walsh. Usually you’re the undisputed BB Master, but tonight you were a K-King. Everyone’s favorite Rule 5 Draft Pick struck out. More to come later. Martin Maldonado flied out and Yadiel Rivera struck out to end the Brewers’ half of the 2nd.
A single by Marcell Ozuna followed a groundout by Justin Bour. Now comes the first interesting occurance of the game. J.T. Realmuto hit a 2-run homer that bounced off the top of the wall and confused the crap out of everyone. Ozuna and Realmuto forgot how to run the bases and Realmuto ended up passing Ozuna on the basepath… which I always thought was a no-no. Craig Counsell agreed. Apparently the umps didn’t see the two Marlin players running haphazardly to the Benny Hill theme song and after a review, Ozuna got credited for the run score and Realmuto was considered out at second base for his baserunning mishap. The Marlins were now up 1-0 instead of 2-0 as initially thought. 2-0 was still on the scoreboard at Marlin Stadium going into the next inning, extending the confusion to the 1,386 fans in attendance. The 2nd inning mercifully ended with a single by Adiny Hechavarria and a groundout by Fernandez.
Peralta struck out to start the 3rd and Villar singled to start a little bit of fun on the Brewers side. Adding to his league-leading stolen base total, Villar not only snagged second, he was able to advance to third on a throwing error by Realmuto. But a strikeout by Presley and groundout by Braun (who, I was informed by Lepay and Rock, had a .481 batting average with runners in scoring position as of this at-bat, prompting me to get really excited) ended any momentum that the Brewers had going for them.
Dietrich singled. Prado sharply lined out to Rivera at second, who threw it back to first for a double play since Dietrich didn’t get back to tag up in time. Pretty sexy little defensive play there. Yelich walked. Stanton grounded out. Peralta was looking solid.
Strikeout by Carter. Walk by Nieuwenhuis. Pickoff of Nieuwenhuis who came off the bag too much and was pretty indecisive on where he wanted to go. Crank up the Benny Hill for Kirk. Walsh struck out… again. More to come later.
Bour singled. Ozuna struck out. Realmuto grounded into a double play. A lot of stranded baserunners during this game and we’re only at the end of the 4th.
Maldonado singled but was back to the dugout after a double play from a bad bunt by Peralta that had a Rivera strikeout sandwiched in between their at-bats. Not the prettiest run-on sentence I’ve written, but again, this wasn’t the prettiest game, either.
Hechavarria (whose name I enjoy copying and pasting almost as much as Nieuwenhuis) singled (man, a lot of these innings are beginning with singles) and Fernandez struck out on a foul bunt. Dietrich popped out to the catcher, but Prado started a bit of a threat by singling and advancing Hechavarriato to third. However, Yelich flied out to bring the game into the 6th inning.
Villar, Presely, Braun, Carter = K, K, 2B, Flyout, respectively. No more, no less. I did, however, learn during this inning that this game was Jose Fernandez’s first time facing the Brewers. Thanks for the fun facts, Lepay and Rock! Question for you all – where is Brian Anderson right now? NBA Playoff games? I honestly don’t know where he is.
As for the Marlins, they made Peralta work in the 6th. Stanton struck out again but was followed by a Bour walk, Ozuna single, and Realmuto reach on an error that loaded the bases. My new favorite copy-and-paste Hechavarria singled to bring in Bour, but Fernandez grounded into a double play to prevent any further damage. The Marlins were now winning 2-0. Peralta ended his night with 6 innings pitched, 10 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. As I mentioned before, it was a quality start, but he still sits at a 6.75 ERA for the season. Hopefully, he’s trending the right way.
Nieuwenhuis grounded out to start the 7th and Maldonado had a walk sandwiched between strikeouts (yet again) from Walsh and Rivera. Fernandez ended his night with 7 innings pitched, 4 hits, no runs/earned runs, 4 walks, and 11 (!) strikeouts. I’m sure he was pleased with his debut against the Brew (hey, that rhymes!).
So newbie Michael Kirkman pitched in relief of Peralta. The very first batter he faced in a Brewers uniform was Derek Dietrich, whose name will be burned in Kirkman’s mind, heart, and soul forever. Dietrich ripped a triple to the right corner of the outfield and Presley gunned the ball to third, which promptly hit Dietrich, which promptly caused Walsh to join the fun and run around haphazardly to the Benny Hill theme song, which promptly lead to Dietrich coming in to score. So this is the almost in-the-park homer I referred to earlier. Kirkman must have felt like a million bucks. He got out of the inning, though, with a Prado flyout, another Stanton strikeout, and a Bour groundout with another Yelich walk mixed in there somewhere. It was now 3-0 Marlins.
David Phelps relieved Fernandez and did his job. After a pinch-hit single from Ramon Flores, Villar grounded into a fielder’s choice, Presley struck out, and Braun grounded out.
Carlos Torres relieved Kirkman and didn’t quite do his job. After an Ozuna walk, Realmuto struck out, Hechavarria grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Ichiro Suzuki walked. Then Dietrich hit a bloop single into shallow center that was almost caught by Villar doing this sweet Superman move, but alas, it dropped to the grass and brought in Hechavarria to make the score 4-0 Marlins. Prado grounded out to end the inning.
Now we had a game. A.J. Ramos, the Marlins "closer" came in for a non-save situation. He walked Carter and Nieuwenhuis to start off the 9th and then came Walsh. BB Master to load the bases or K-King to make me cry? I cried. The kid struck out 4 times during this game. Ouch. With one out, the Brewers went pinch-hit crazy!!! First, Jonathan Lucroy pinch-hit and struck out looking. Then Aaron Hill drew a pinch-hit walk to load the bases. After a pitching change by the Marlins to Bryan Morris, Domingo Santana (who was out with a hurting shoulder) followed Hill with a pinch-hit opportunity himself and wanted to be like the gritty veteran who hit 3 home runs only a few nights ago (included a lead-taking grand slam), so Sunday drew a walk himself and the Marlins walked in a run to deny themselves a shutout. The Brewers were now trailing 4-1 with the leading run at the plate in Jonathan Villar. Unfortunately, Villar struck out to finish the game and the Brewers will be going into Game 2 of this series with a loss.
So again, a lot of strikeouts, double plays, and walks. But it was on both sides of the ball. I love it when the Brewers get into comeback-from-behind situations in the late innings and even when they fall short, it still makes for an entertaining conclusion. 9-year-old Zach Davies is on the mound tomorrow and let’s get him a win, Brewers… he can’t wait to tell the other kids at school.