WP: Jacob Barnes (2-1); LP: Joaquin Benoit (1-4); Save: Corey Knebel (16); Home runs: Phil - Odubel Hererra (8); Mil - Hernan Perez (11), Travis Shaw (20)
The Milwaukee Brewers won their eleventh game in the last thirteen with a hard fought, well pitched thriller against the Phillies at Miller Park tonight. Jimmy Nelson and three relievers combined to hold Philadelphia to one fewer than Milwaukee managed.
Phillies’ starter Aaron Nola and Brewers’ ace Jimmy Nelson matched shutout innings through four, but Philly broke through for a run in the top of the fifth for a 1-0 lead. Milwaukee came back in the bottom half to tie things up when Jonathan Villar lined an outside curveball into left for a single, stole second, and scored on Eric Thames’ second double of the night.
The Brewers took the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a lead-off homer by Hernan Perez, a liner down the leftfield line that reached the second deck. In the top of the seventh, Nelson put a curveball down and in to Brewer killer Odubel Hererra and he golfed it out down the rightfield line - another no-doubter - to retie the game at two.
Submariner Madison native Pat Neshek mowed through the Brewers in the bottom of the seventh, striking out Villar, Thames, and Ryan Braun in short order.
Nelson worked into the seventh, and exited with two down, nobody on, and 96 pitches thrown. Oliver Drake did his job - striking out the lefty - but Jimmy didn’t seem in any trouble at all. Jimmy ended up going 6.2 innings with three hits allowed, two earned runs, two walks, and nine strikeouts. Quality start? Nah, that’s ace-ish.
Jacob Barnes had the eighth, and after one out he walked two straight as the strike zone suddenly shrunk. A line-out into a double play got Jacob out of the inning, and the two teams headed to the bottom of the eighth still knotted at two.
Joaguin Benoit took the hill for the Phils, and Travis Shaw broke the tie with a solo shot (number 20) to center leading off the frame. Benoit retired the next three (Stephen Vogt on a flyball to the wall in right center), but the Brewers rode a 3-2 lead into the top of the ninth with Corey Knebel going for his third save in the last three games after the walk-off loss last Saturday in New York.
Corey’s streak of games with a stirkeout moved to 46 games, and he notched his sixteenth save of the season as the Brewers were able to keep the Cubs back 51⁄2 games with their 52nd win of the season against 41 losses. A two out double on an outside fastball by Hererra down the thirdbase line (how is this guy not the MVP of the league?) gave the Phillies hope, but Cameron Rupp went down swinging on a fastball to end the game.
Tomorrow afternoon the Brewers will go for the sweep, sending The Count, Matt Garza (4-4, 3.98) out to face the Phillies’ Jeremy Hellickson (5-5, 4.49). Game time is 1:10.
Tonight’s poll asked if we thought the Brewers could catch the Washington Nationals for the second seed in the NL going into the post-season. The Brewers trailed the Nats by 31⁄2 going into tonight’s action, and that’s where they remained after the game. 47% thought they could, 53% said the best they will do is the third seed. So you’re saying there’s a chance?