WP: Jared Hughes (2-1) LP: Trevor Rosenthal (2-2) Save: Corey Knebel (9)HR: Mil - Keon Broxton (8), Jesus Aguilar (6), Travis Shaw (11); StL - Matt Carpenter (12)
The Milwaukee Brewers broke their three game losing streak by taking game two of today’s twin bill, 8-5. Neither starter figured in the decision, and neither was particularly effective. Jimmy Nelson worked 5.2 innings, allowing nine hits and four earned runs, walking two and hitting two, while fanning 4. He left with the lead, but oddly the Brewers’ pen couldn’t hold the lead for Jimmy. He remains winless against the Cardinals. St. Louis starter Marco Gonzalez, appearing for the first time since 2015, worked 3.1 innings and allowed five runs, all earned, with no walks and two strikeouts. He gave up five extra base hits, including three homers.
After the last three games, the Brewers were in desperate need of some offense. For two innings it looked like they weren’t going to get anything. After six straight outs, though, Keon Broxton led off the top of the third with a homerun to left center, cutting the Cards’ lead in half. The third saw Milwaukee tee off on Gonzalez - he faced five hitters and gave up a homer to Jesus Aguilar, a homer to Travis Shaw, a groundout for Hernan Perez, a double off the wall by Manny Pina, and a triple off the wall by Broxton.
Exit Gonzalez. Broxton scored the Brewers’ fifth run on a roller to third by Arcia with a great break and slide to beat the throw home. The Brewer bats went silent for three innings, barely seeing 7, 9, and 4 pitches in that stretch.
The outburst took the Brewers to a 5-2 lead. After the rough first two innings, Nelson worked through the next three with no damage, aided by two double plays. Jimmy lost it in the sixth, giving up two singles to start the inning, then hitting Greg Garcia with a two strike pitch. Milwaukee pulled off another double play, with a run scoring.
Dexter Fowler’s pinch single brought in the tying run and ended Nelson’s night. Josh Hader relieved Fowler to face Matt Carpenter, and Manny Pina threw out Fowler trying to steal to end the inning.
With a short bench Craig Counsell opted to not use the double switch, and with the caught stealing Hader still could have faced Carpenter in the seventh if he’d hit in the top of the inning. Counsell went with Nick Franklin to pinch-hit, though, and brought in Jared Hughes to face Carpenter.
That, of course, backfired. Carpenter drilled a homer to right center to tie the game at five. Hughes settled down to retire the next three, so the Brewers went to the eighth tied, facing Trevor Rosenthal.
Rosenthal faced four and didn’t retire any of them. Two walks (Domingo Santana, Aguilar) and two hits (Shaw, Perez) brought in the lead run and re-loaded the bases. and Mike Matheny continued the head-scratching managing theme by bringing in closer Sung-Wong Oh to keep it close, down a run in the top of the eighth.
That didn’t work, as single by Pina brought in the Brewers’ seventh run and Broxton’s sacrifice fly plated the eighth run. It was the second time tonight that the Brewers sent eight men to the plate.
The Brewers’ rally made a winner out of Hughes, who also notched a blown save. Inquiring minds want to know which stat is more important.
Jacob Barnes allowed a lead-off single in the bottom of the eighth but worked a scoreless frame, and Corey Knebel saw his appearances streak with a strikeout move to 33 games when he fanned Stephen Piscotty looking to end the game, gaining his ninth save of the season.
Wednesday night’s third game of the series has Matt Garza (2-2, 3.83) taking the bump for the Brewers (34-32), facing Mike Leake (5-5, 2.75) for St. Louis (33-33). The Cubs bombed the Mets tonight, so the Crew still hold a one game lead in the NL Central. Game time is 7:10 pm CST.