WP: Jimmy Nelson (2-2)
LP: Clayton Richard (2-5)
HR: SD - Wil Myers (11), MIL - None
This year's Brewers might be the best quick-starters in the league. It’s just a matter of holding on after the first-inning flurry.
Coming into tonight's game in San Diego having scored a league-leading 37 runs in the first inning, the Brewers scored 5 more in this first frame this time around, and that would be all they needed in an easy-breezy 6-2 win over the Padres.
Four consecutive batters -- Keon Broxton, Hernan Perez, Jesus Aguilar and Domingo Santana -- singled in the first inning, the latter two driving in runs before Manny Pina doubled to bring in two more. Eric Sogard would follow last night's home run with an RBI single to cap off the scoring, and ensuring Jimmy Nelson would bat before he pitched tonight.
On that topic, Nelson continued his very strong pitching in May by starting the evening with 5 shutout innings. He even drove in a run of his own to push the Brewers lead to 6-0, but ended up giving that run back on a Wil Myers home run to lead off the bottom of the 6th.
Former Brewers farmhand Miguel Diaz -- remember him? We barely mentioned him this offseason -- came on for the Padres in the top of the 7th and struck out Broxton on three pitches, got Perez to ground out, and popped up Aguilar in the infield.
Nelson came out to start the bottom of the 7th inning after the lightning-quick top half, and surrendered back-to-back doubles to Hunter Renfroe and Matt Szczur to cut the score to 6-2. Jared Hughes relieved Nelson and forced a weak ground out and an inning-ending double play thanks to a TOOTBLAN from Szczur, who broke halfway home on a flyball to Domingo Santana before trying to tag up and score anyway, only for Sunday to easily throw him out at the plate. Nelson finished the night with 6+ innings, 2 earned runs allowed and 8 strikeouts in one of his best-looking starts of the season.
Diaz came back out for a second inning in the 8th and got Santana to ground out and Pina to fly out before walking Orlando Arcia, who ended up getting thrown out trying to steal.
In the bottom half of the 8th, Oliver Drake redeemed himself for Monday night's rough outing, pitching a scoreless inning. He did give up a leadoff single to Corey Spangenberg, but that was quickly erased when Pina picked him off of first with a throw from behind the plate.
At this point, the Padres decided to let Diaz finish the game, pitching a third inning. Sogard led off the 9th with a single -- capping a 4-for-4 night -- and Nick Franklin followed with a broken bat bloop single. Unfortunately, the Brewers would be unable to turn that into any BMIRs. Jonathan Villar hit a deep fly ball that moved the runners to second and third, but Broxton struck out on the hanging slider to end all hanging sliders and Perez grounded out weakly to end the inning.
With the three scoreless innings, Miguel Diaz lowered his season ERA to 8.35. The results have largely stunk for him this year -- to be expected in jumping to the majors from Low-A -- but you could see the movement tonight that caused the Padres to sacrifice one bad year for years of team control.
Rob Scahill pitched the 9th for the Brewers and secured the win with a stress-free 1-2-3 inning.
It would've been nice to see the offense continue to pour the runs on in this game, but it's hard to complain about a late-night game that doesn't raise the blood pressure too much.
The Brewers improve to 22-18, and are now just a half game back of St. Louis for first place in the NL Central with a quarter of the season in the books. Who could've guessed.