WP: Jacob Barnes (3-1) (Let’s pretend that doesn’t exist...)
LP: Hector Neris (2-4)
SV: Corey Knebel (17)
HR: Odubel Herrera (9), Cesar Hernandez (6), Cameron Rupp (7), Ryan Braun (12), Travis Shaw (22)
Breaking a six-game losing streak should be a good feeling. However, the Brewers managed to find a way to take the joy out of it.
Let’s start with the good from this game. The Brewers began building a lead early, and they had Ryan Braun, Domingo Santana, and Travis Shaw to thank for that. In the third inning, with one on and two outs, Eric Thames walked to put two runners on base, then Ryan Braun doubled to drive them both in and give the Brewers and early 2-0 lead. Braun would then score on a wild pitch, and then a double from Travis Shaw and single from Domingo Santana made it 4-0. The Brewers tacked onto that with a two-run home run from Ryan Braun in the fifth, and a two-run home run from Travis Shaw in the seventh.
Meanwhile, Brent Suter continued to pitch well. He was very efficient, allowing just five hits and one run in six innings. His only mistake was a solo home run he allowed to Odubel Herrera. He managed to do that on 85 pitches, as well. It makes you wonder if he should have pitched another inning...especially considering what came after that.
Staked to a seven-run lead, Oliver Drake came in to pitch the seventh inning. After getting a lineout from Nick Williams to start the inning, Drake allowed the next five batters to reach, with the big damage coming on an RBI double from Cameron Perkins and a three-run home run from Cesar Hernandez. Craig Counsell brought in Jared Hughes, who commited a throwing error to allow Howie Kendrick to reach base, but stranded two to save an 8-5 lead.
With the lead down to three, Jacob Barnes came in to try to keep it there. He couldn’t do that tonight. Barnes allowed hits to the first four batters he faced, with the big one a three-run home from by Cameron Rupp. Thankfully, a bunt pop-up induced a double play, and a ground out ended the inning. However, the damage was done at this point. The Phillies had tied the game at 8-8, and the Brewers looked like they were heading to a seventh straight loss. At the time, this tweet seemed ominous:
Phillies have come back to tie the Brewers after trailing 8-1. Teams are 3-312 this season when trailing by 7 runs at any point.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 23, 2017
Things continued to go down hill in the ninth inning. Eric Thames led off with a double, putting the Brewers in great position to get a run back. However, Hernan Perez did something completely unexplainable, laying down a bunt during his at-bat. Pitcher Hector Neris threw to third and got Thames, leaving the Brewers with Perez at first and one out. Whether it was Counsell’s call or Perez’s choice, it put the Brewers in a worse situation. That mistake loomed larger when Travis Shaw followed it up with a single that would have likely scored Thames. Instead, runners were at first and third with one out. Thankfully, Domingo Santana came through with a single as well, giving the Brewers a 9-8 lead.
Corey Knebel came in to pitch the ninth, and there was no more drama this time. Knebel pitched a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts to save the game and end the Brewers six-game losing streak.
A win like this should be morale building, to get out of the losing column and get back to the winning. However, it just feels deflating. Considering the way the Brewers blew that 8-1 lead, any positive vibes that could have come from this game were wiped out quickly. It’s still a win, it still ended the losing streak, so overall it’s a positive result. Despite that, not many fans are feeling too good after this one.
At least there’s another chance to build on that tomorrow. Junior Guerra will face Jerad Eickhoff in the rubber match of the series. First pitch is at 12:35 pm.