WP: Tony Burnette(7-3); LP: Jimmy Nelson (8-16); Save: Sam Dyson (37); HR: Mil, Chris Carter (39), Manny Pina (2); Tex, Carlos Gomez (12)
A three run homer by Carlos Gomez and two run double by Jonathan Lucroy provided the Rangers with just enough to nudge the Brewers and pass the Red Sox into the lead for best record in the AL.
The Brewers again broke on top, this time with a walk to Jonathon Villar, a balk to send him to second, and a two run homer by Chris Carter (his 39th, moving him into a tie for second in the NL dinger derby). They moved it to 3-0 in the top of the second when Manny Pina smacked a high fastball from Rangers’ starter AJ Griffin into the left field seats.
For the second night in a row, a Brewer pitcher was so ecstatic with a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third that he walked the lead-off hitter. This time Jimmy Nelson walked Jurickson Profar on four pitches, and was so enamored of that result that he repeated it with Elvis Andrus. Gomez followed with his three run homer, a 444’ blast to left. Nelson retired the next three, but it was 3-3 into the fourth.
Milwaukee re-took the lead in the top of the fifth. Villar doubled to right, and one out later the Rangers elected to intentionally walk Carter, then replace Griffin with lefty Alex Claudio to face Domingo Santana. Domingo drilled a line drive single to right with Villar running, so there was no play at the plate. 4-3 Brewers.
Nelson had retired nine straight entering the bottom of the sixth, but the wheels quickly came off. A hit and a stolen base by Carlos Beltran, a walk to Adrian Beltre, and one out later the double down the leftfield line by Lucroy. Jacob Barnes replaced Nelson, and Mitch Morland singled sharply to right. Santana’s throw to the plate took Pina right into the base line, and Lucroy was tagged out. The play was reviewed and stood. Barnes walked one but struck out Andrus to end the inning. 5-4 Rangers.
Nelson finished his night with 5.1 innings pitched, 4 hits, 4 walks, and 3 strikeouts. Three of his 4 walks scored, and the puzzle that was Jimmy Nelson’s 2016 season came to an end in much the same way as it has gone all year. The brief good flashes have been overpowered by general failure.
Texas extended their lead to 6-4 against Jhan Marinez on an infield ground out by Beltre in the bottom of the seventh, plating Ian Desmond, who had singled. Gomez had reached first on an error leading off the inning but was thrown out trying to steal.
The Brewers couldn’t muster any offense until there were two down in the top of the ninth when Scooter Gennett walked, giving Carter a chance for some late inning heroics. Sleepy walked on a 3-2 pitch too. Gennett had taken second on defensive indifference, and went to third when ball four was a wild pitch. Domingo Santana inherited the chance for glory, but Dyson struck him out swinging on a third straight full count to end the ballgame.
Tomorrow night the Brewers conclude their visit to Arlington, sending Chase Anderson (9-11, 4.36) to the hill to face Rangers’ ace Cole Hamels (15-5, 3.30) The Brewers stand at 71-87 with 4 left. The Rangers are 93-65, and lead Boston by a half game and the Indians by a full game in the chase for best record in the American League.