WP: Matt Garza (6-8); LP: Marin Perez (10-11); Save - none; HR: Mil, Jonathon Villar 2 (17, 18); Tex, none
The statistics for the DH only tell part of the story. The other part is what the ninth spot in the line-up does. Tonight, the ninth spot went a combined four for seven with a walk, four runs scored, a double, and an RBI. You won’t see that very often in an all NL game.
Matt Garza earned his sixth win of the year with six solid innings, allowing six hits and a half of six runs and a half of six strikeouts. He had a sixth of a sixth walks. All three of the Rangers’ runs came from the bottom two of the order, and two were driven in by Carlos Gomez. The other came in on a hit from Ian Desmond.
The Brewers never trailed tonight. After Rangers’ starter Martin Perez retired the first six (jeepers) he faced, the Brewers went double, single, single with Martin Maldonado, Michael Reed, and Yadiel Rivera, plating a run. After Jonathon Villar sacrificed Reed and Rivera to second and third, Domingo Santana drove a solid single to left center to drive in a deuce, or a third of six. The Brewers led 3-0.
Given a three run lead, Garza walked the first hitter he saw (Nomar Mazara) in the bottom of the third. Elvis Andrus singled on a grounder to the vacated shortstop spot when Mazara went with the full count pitch.
(A brief aside: Elvis Andrus pulled every ball he hit tonight. Foul or fair, they all went to the left side. Why was Orlando Arcia covering second on that 3-2 pitch?)
After hits from Gomez and Desmond, Garza retired Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, and Rougned Odor to keep the Brewers lead at 3-2.
The top of the fifth had Maldonado lead off with a walk, but he was still there with two down when Jonathon Villar drilled Perez’ first pitch into the leftfield seats to bump the Brewers’ lead to 5-2.
Garza again gave up an answering run when Andrus doubled (down the leftfield line, suprisingly) and Carlos Gomez drove him home with a double of his own. Again, Matt limited the damage by retiring the next three hitters.
Maldonado led off the seventh by getting on for the third straight time, with a single up the middle. He was forced at second by Reed, but Rivera walked to put two on for Villar. Jonathon took a 2-0 fastball out to dead center for his second homer, this one a three run shot, and an 8-3 lead. Villar doubled in the top of the ninth, giving him a ten total base night. I’m not going to look it up. but I don’t think he had ten total bases in the previous ten games.
Carlos Torres gave up two one out hits in the seventh (Andrus, Gomez) but retired the last two for no damage. Jacob Barnes had a three up, three down eighth, and Tyler Cravy pitched a perfect ninth to finish things.
With the Rangers’ line-up scoring all three runs from the bottom two in the order, they must not have gotten much from the middle...and that’s the truth. The 3-4-5-6-7 hitters went one for twenty (Jonathan Lucroy’s second inning topper down the third base line).
The second game of the three game series tomorrow night has Jimmy Nelson (8-15, 4.50) going for the Brewers (71-86) against the Rangers’ (92-65) A.J. Griffin (7-4, 4.54). Going 2-3 the rest of the way keeps the Brewers from a 90 loss season. Baby steps.
PS - the Cubs beat the Pirates tonight 12-2 for their 100th win of the season.
PSS - the Indians beat the Tigers 7-4 to clinch their division crown.
PSSS - The Reds thumped the Cards 15-2. I think the Reds have a chance to be much better next season.