There has been fluidity in the Ace of the Staff spot for the Brewers this year. Jimmy Nelson looked like he would not only be the ace this year but for the foreseeable future with a fine start to the season, but has struggled in June. Zach Davies started slowly but has been exceptional as of late. Junior Guerra has pitched well since his call-up from Colorado Springs. Whether Junior is the Ace or not, he certainly played the part of Stopper today as he bested Daniel Mengden and the A’s in a 4-2 win, breaking a 4 game losing streak for the Brewers.
The Brewers failed to score in the third despite garnering 3 singles. A lead off single to left by Martin Maldanado and a one out hit up the middle by Yadiel Rivera were followed by a line drive to right by Aaron Hill. Maldanado froze on the line-drive, and the bases were loaded for Scooter Gennett. Scoot flew one to medium left center and Ed Seder chose to not send Maldy, opting to get a bases loaded at bat for Ryan Braun. Braun struck out for the second consecutive time (he would end up with 3 K’s on the day), and the Brewers left the sacks loaded.
Guerra cruised through the first three innings, allowing only an opposite field double to Coco Crisp. Crisp led off the fourth by hammering Guerra’s first pitch deep into the rightfield seats. Maldanado was calling for a low and away fastball but Junior left it up and over the plate.
The A’s one run lead couldn’t last the next half inning. With one down Ramon Flores drove one high off of the left-centerield wall for a double. He continued to third when Crisp’s throw back in went to no-one in particular. Rivera laid down a safety squeeze that Daniel Mengden mishandled, allowing Flores to score the tying run. Rivera was given a sacrifice and an RBI. It should actually have been scored a hit, as no actual attempt to get Flores was made, but it really should have been scored an error.
After Hill’s slow roller to second advanced Rivera, Gennett drove a homerun to left center barely over the 362’ sign, giving the Brewers a 3-1 lead.
Oakland pulled within one in the bottom of the seventh. A two out single to right by Max Muncy drove in Yonder Alonso, who had fisted an 0-2 pitch into left for a one out single and gone to second on a check swing roller to first from Marcus Semien. Pinch runner Arismendry Alcantra stole second, but Guerra struck out pinch hitter Stephen Vogt on a sharp slider to end his day with a 3-2 lead into the eighth.
After two quiet outs in the top of the eighth, Kirk Nieuwenhuis took an outside fastball from Liam Hendrik out of the park to almost the same spot that Scoot hit his homerun. Maldanado followed with his third hit of the day (Machete!); the good day at the plate raised his average from .096 to .143.
Three Brewer relievers shut out the A’s the rest of the way, with Tyler Thornburg getting a four out save. The absence of Jeremy Jeffress drew questions from the broadcast crew, and Craig Counsell said after the game that Jeffress was held out due to an eye infection. That is a relief to all Brewer fans.
Scooter Gennett also had a 3 hit game for the Crew. The bottom of the line-up (6-9) went 7-15, scoring 3 runs and driving in 2, helping to cover for no runs or RBIs from the 3-5 spots on 2 -13 with a walk and double play, with 6 stirkeouts, from Braun, Jonathon Lucroy, and Chris Carter. For the day, the Brewers outhit the A's 13-5.
The Brewers improved to 32-40 while the A’s fell to 29-42. After an off day the Brewers will welcome the first place Washington Nationals (43-28 entering Wednesday night’s game against the Dodgers in LA) to Miller Park. Zach Davies (5-3, 3.62) will go for the Brewers against the Nat’s Ace Max Sherzer (8-4, 3.29). There is a very good chance that the Brewers will top 15 strikeouts facing Sherzer...hopefully a few runs will get sprinkled in.