WP: Zach Davies (11-4)
LP: Nick Pivetta (2-5)
SV: Corey Knebel (15)
HR: PHI - Odubel Herrera (7), MIL - Orlando Arcia (9), Ryan Braun (11)
The Brewers may have been playing their first game since Sunday, but Zach Davies hadn't played in a baseball game in 8 days. He pitched like it.
Despite being spotted an 8-spot in the 2nd inning, Davies was only able to go 5.1 innings after allowing 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and 5 walks, but the Brewers were able to hang on to win anyway by a score of 9-6.
Davies once again struggled with control early, allowing the first four Phillies to hit in the game to reach base. Aaron Altherr led off with a ground rule double. Freddy Galvis followed with a single. Maikel Franco punched an RBI single through the infield. Tommy Joseph walked. Finally, Davies recorded an out when Nick Williams flew out, but that drove in another run to give Philly an early 2-0 lead after Keon Broxton's throw home hit the back of the mound. Miraculously, that was all the damage Davies would allow in the first inning.
The Brewers' bats also looked like they may be suffering from an All-Star break hangover in the first inning, with Jonathan Villar, Eric Thames and Ryan Braun all striking out against Nick Pivetta on a total of 13 pitches, 10 of which were fastballs.
The offense woke up in a big way after that, though. After Travis Shaw also struck out to start the inning, 8 consecutive Brewers reached base, starting with Domingo Santana's double. Manny Pina and Keon Broxton followed with a pair of singles, the second of which brought in a run. Then Orlando Arcia jumped all over a 2-strike pitch from Pivetta, drilling a three-run home run into the Brewers' bullpen.
Harvey's Wallbangers... er, #CraigsCrushers are picking up right where they left off in the 1st half!@orlandoarcia9 got the party started: pic.twitter.com/RLcJDE7ccq— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) July 15, 2017
That would just be the start of the fun. Davies drew a walk and Villar continued his mini-hot streak with a single into the gap. An Eric Thames walk loaded the bases for Ryan Braun, who promptly unloaded them, crushing the first pitch he saw off the scoreboard.
Ryan Braun was tied for most grand slams in #Brewers franchise history.... until today! #ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/BRaEhcwS9h— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) July 15, 2017
Just like that, it was 8-2 Brewers following their second 8-run inning of the season.
It looked like they would cruise to the finish line from there, with Davies actually settling down from that first inning to set down the next 11 hitters in a row.
He ran into trouble again with two outs in the 5th inning, though, giving up another double to Altherr. A walk to Galvis brought Franco up, who drove in another run on a single. A second run scored on the play on an error from Broxton, cutting the Brewers' lead to 8-4.
Manny Pina was able to get the Brewers a run back in the bottom half of the inning with a sacrifice fly, but Craig Counsell tried to squeeze another inning out of Davies in the 6th. It didn't work out so well.
After a strikeout and a walk to start the 6th, Odubel Herrera hit a two-run home run to suddenly cut the Brewers' lead to 3 and 9-6. Despite the home run, Counsell stuck with his starter, who proceeded to walk the next two hitters. Carlos Torres finally got into the game and was able to get the next two outs without any additional runs scoring.
Philadelphia would threaten again in the 7th inning against Jared Hughes, who gave up a double to Franco. When a groundout moved him to third, Counsell pulled Hughes in favor of Josh Hader, who struck out the next two batters to preserve the three-run lead. That's the kind of mid-to-high leverage situation where Hader could truly excel down the stretch if Counsell trusts him in those spots.
Jacob Barnes came on for the 8th and also had to walk a tightrope after issuing a leadoff walk to Herrera. After striking out Andres Blanco and getting Daniel Nava to line out, an error by Arcia extended the inning, but Barnes was able to strike out Galvis to send the game to the 9th.
The offense was unable to add any BMIRs, so All-Star Corey Knebel came on for the save after not getting to pitch in Tuesday's showcase. A leadoff double by Franco -- his 4th hit of the game -- increased the stress factor, but Knebel responded by striking out Joseph and Williams and getting Knapp to fly out to left. Piece of cake. I wasn't worried, you were worried.
It wasn't as easy as you'd like a game in which you score 8 runs in an inning to be, but kudos to the bullpen for stopping the bleeding over the final 3.2 innings to lock down the win.
Davies will get credit for his 11th "win" of the year. He's apparently the second-fastest pitcher to that mark in a season in Brewers history. Somewhere, Ben Sheets weeps about never getting that kind of run support.
Regardless, at the very least the Brewers' lead in the NL Central will stay at 5.5 games with 70 to play. The Cubs jumped out to an 8-0 lead on Baltimore tonight but allowed the Orioles to tie the game before pulling back ahead in the 9th inning and hanging on for a win. The Cardinals lost to Pittsburgh in walkoff fashion.
The Brewers will hope to keep things rolling Saturday night when Jimmy Nelson takes the mound against Aaron Nola. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 PM CST.