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Shaw, Aguilar go yard as Milwaukee Brewers bite Diamondbacks, 8-5

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Brewers break out the bats to overcome a rough Matt Garza outing

Milwaukee Brewers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Milwaukee won a back-and-forth affair at “home” Thursday, beating Arizona 8-5 in Maryvale, just nine miles from the home of the Diamondbacks.

Matt Garza started and earned an L, giving up four runs on five hits and a walk in 3.1 innings of work. He was bailed out by the red-hot Brewers offense and a bullpen that chipped in nearly six innings of one-run relief.

The Brewers got a couple of dingers, one from Good Name Haver Travis Shaw (3), and the other from Jesus Aguilar, who hit his fourth of his spring. Aguilar continues to unexpectedly push for a roster spot when the Brewers break camp, and it’s going to be very difficult for David Stearns to leave him off at this point if he doesn’t fall into a prolonged slump starting ... yesterday. His 1.361 OPS is easily the highest in the Cactus League, and is second only to Bryce Harper overall.

Top prospect Lewis Brinson started and had another good game, going 1-for-3 with a couple of runs and an RBI. When the Brewers acquired Brinson last July, they were buying a player who had disappointed in his second go-round at Double-A, hitting .237/.280/.431.

Milwaukee decided to push him to Triple-A anyway, and ... well, it worked out okay. It seemed like Brinson arrived at Security Service Field, the continent’s highest-elevation baseball diamond that sits 1,500 higher than Coors Field, realized what would happen when he made contact, and resolved to never take pitches. Ever. Even if there was a fire.

It resulted in beer league softball numbers for the 22-year-old, who slugged .618 (!!!) in 93 plate appearances. His numbers were flashy, but there were plenty of reasons to be skeptical beyond the small sample size: the #Coors effect, the .455 BABIP and, perhaps most concerning, a 2.2% walk rate.

For those reasons, it is encouraging to see Brinson having success this spring against competition that is comparable to Triple-A. He’s no longer benefiting from the altitude of the Rocky Mountains; his BABIP is a nice, sustainable .304; and he’s walking in over 10% of his plate appearances. It’s still a small sample size, of course, but Brinson continues to distance himself as the class of the Brewers impressive farm system with every swing of the bat.

Cactus Cup Update: The smart, attractive and good baseball boys from Milwaukee got a much needed win on Thursday, and they’re now in a virtual tie for fifth place. They sit just a game behind the league-leading Mariners, though their reign is unofficial since the team was forced to fold after losing to Milwaukee by 21 god dang runs earlier this week.

Other News: Ryan Braun hates Spring Training.