WP: Matt Garza (1-0)
LP: Mike Foltynewicz (0-3)
SV: Neftali Feliz (6)
HR: Domingo Santana (4, 5), Freddie Freeman (9)
Raise your hand if you thought Matt Garza was still capable of winning a pitching duel in the year 2017.
Put your hand down. No, you didn’t.
But that’s what Garza did Sunday against the Atlanta Braves, throwing 6 2/3 strong innings, striking out 7 with no walks.
It didn’t look like Garza’s afternoon was headed that way after the first inning. Ender Inciarte led off the game with a single, then stole second and third. Matt Kemp then continued his hot streak, dropping a bloop single just over the glove of a leaping Jonathan Villar to give Atlanta an early 1-0 lead. Nick Markakis would follow with a single, but Garza would end up stranding Kemp at third.
After that, Garza proceeded to retire the next 15 Braves in a row before Freddie Freeman homered in the top of the 6th inning to break a 1-1 tie.
On the other side, Mike Foltynewicz was virtually unhittable to start the game. He struck out 6 of the first 7 Brewers he saw, and was perfect until Ryan Braun reached on an error with 2 outs in the 4th inning.
Domingo Santana would put the Brewers on the board – literally – with a home run off the scoreboard to lead off the 5th inning, ending the threat of a no-hitter and a shutout with one swing of the bat. He followed that up with another home run the next inning – a three-run shot after a Dansby Swanson error extended the 6th inning – to put the Brewers up 4-2.
Garza pitched into the 7th inning, but was pulled with two runners on and 2 outs in favor of Corey Knebel. Both baserunners reached on hits after Garza was hit in the leg on a liner. Knebel allowed one run to score on a Brandon Phillips RBI single, but escaped the inning without any further damage.
Knebel again worked himself into a bit of trouble in the 8th inning, hitting Freeman with a pitch to bring up Kemp as the go-ahead run, but he was able to get out of the inning thanks to a strike-‘em-out-throw-‘em-out double play, courtesy of a rocket of a throw by Manny Pina.
Neftali Feliz came on in the 9th and walked Markakis to lead off the inning, but got Kurt Suzuki to hit into a picture perfect 4-6-3 double play. Jace Peterson popped out to short to end the game.
It wasn’t all good news for the Brewers – Braun was pulled from the game in the 7th inning after experiencing tightness in his right trapezius (the muscle running from your neck/shoulder down your back, in layman’s terms – the same injury that put Andrew Susac on the shelf this spring).
The Brewers end the first month of the season at 13-13 and match their April win total from the past two seasons combined. They’re off to St. Louis next.