Jesus Aguilar was never supposed to make the Milwaukee Brewers' 25-man roster. A waiver claim late in the offseason, the big guy was limited to just first base on a team that coveted versatility from its bench players.
So with no real expectations, he just went out and hit the everloving crap out of the baseball this spring.
Aguilar continued his month-long hot streak today, driving in 2 runs on an RBI single in the bottom of the 6th inning that gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead.
Jimmy Nelson got the start in the spring finale, throwing 5 strong innings, allowing just 2 hits and striking out 3. The only run he surrendered was a 2-out solo home run by Melky Cabrera in the first inning.
Neftali Feliz threw the 6th inning, hoping to pitch an inning before the White Sox pulled their starters. He breezed through the inning relatively easily, allowing a hit but not walking anyone and striking out 1 batter.
Feliz would've been the pitcher of record after Aguilar's 2-run single, but Jhan Marinez surrendered the lead by giving up a solo shot by Jose Abreu to lead off the 7th. Marinez responded by striking out the side, with all three coming on swinging strikes.
The Brewers took the lead back in the bottom half, thanks to Home Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who hit his 4th home run of the spring out to center. Another BMIR came in when Chicago centerfielder committed an error, allowing Kyle Wren to reach base and Nate Orf to score.
Then Taylor Jungmann, trying to secure one of the last spots on the 25-man roster, took the mound for the 9th inning. It wasn't a good outing.
Everth Cabrera led off the inning with a single to center. Former Brewers prospect Nicky Delmonico followed with a single of his own, pushing the speedy Cabrera to third. Then Jose Abreu drove one into the gap for an RBI double, cutting the lead to 4-3 with nobody out. Then Jungmann walked Leury Garcia on four pitches to load the bases. Danny Hayes hit a sacrifice fly to right tie the game.
On that play, Domingo Santana's throw home put catcher Rene Garcia into harm's way, pulling him up the line and Delmonico rolled up on Rene Garcia's leg as he was sliding into home. Garcia had to be taken off the field on a cart. Even though it originally sounded like a leg injury, the medical team also put a neck brace on. If there's any good news, reports from the stadium indicated Garcia was still moving his arms and legs.
Jett Bandy came on to finish the game at catcher and Corey Knebel took over for Jungmann on the mound. Knebel was able to get out of the inning without any more damage.
Bandy was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the 9th, then stole second base to get into scoring position as the winning run. A wild pitch from Michael Ynoa put Bandy at third. Eric Sogard struck out, Home Kirk was intentionally walked, and then Orf was intentionally walked to load the bases once Kirk took second base on defensive indifference.
Rick Renteria went full La Russa and made a pitching change in the bottom of the 9th inning of the last spring game, prolonging the world's longest 9th inning even longer. Kyle Wren carried out the vengeance of the baseball gods by delivering a walkoff RBI single to left.
The Brewers are undefeated at Miller Park this year. They finish the exhibition season with a winning record of 17-16-1.
Games start counting for real on Monday afternoon against Colorado!