WP: Chase Anderson (6-2); LP: Kyle Freeland (11-8); Save - Corey Knebel (26); Home runs: Mil - Jesus Aguilar , 2 (14); Col - Mark Reynolds (26)
The Milwaukee Brewers survived walking seven batters and hitting two to post an 8-4 win at Coors field this afternoon. The Rockies contributed to their demise with four errors, resulting in two unearned runs. Of the Rockies nine free base runners, exactly one crossed home plate. The game went over four hours. It was worth it.
The Rockies scored first, in the first, when Charlie Blackmon dumped a Texas Leaguer into shallow left for a lead-off single. Chase battled his command throughout, and walked DJ LeMahieu. A deep flyball from Nolan Arenado moved both runners up, and Anderson plunked Gerardo Parra to load the bases. A sac fly to left from Mark Reynolds drove in Colorado’s run; a nice throw from Ryan Braun was on target but late. Chase worked out of it by getting Carlos Gonzalez on a flyball to right.
Saturday night’s hero Jesus Aguilar tied things up with a homerun off of Rockies starter Kyle Freeland with one down in the second.
Anderson had an easy second, with two strikeouts, but ran into trouble with his control in the bottom of the third. Blackmon was the second batter that Chase hit, leading off the inning, but was caught stealing for out number one. The call was not changed on review, although he was likely safe. Chase then walked LeMahieu and Arenado, but Parra popped out to short (infield fly rule!) and Reynolds struck out to end the inning.
Gonzalez doubled high off the wall in center leading off the bottom of the fourth, but Anderson easily worked through the bottom of the Rockies’ order.
Milwaukee wasted their own scoring chance in the top of the fourth when Ryan Braun singled leading off the inning, taking second on an error in center by Blackmon. Travis Shaw, who was having problems with the lefty Freeland, bunted Braun to third, but Domingo Santana and Manny Pina struck out.
The Brewers were the team to break the tie, in the top of the fifth, scoring the lead run without the benefit of a hit. Orlando Arcia walked leading off the frame and stole second. Anderson bunted him to third, bringing up Jonathan Villar, who had singles in his first two at bats. Villar topped one in front of the mound, but when Freeland looked up to see what Arcia was doing he dropped the ball, allowing Villar to reach.
Santana walked to load the bases, and Ryan Braun just missed a grand slam, flying out to the wall in right center. That was plenty deep for a sac fly; in fact, all three runners advanced. 2-1 Brewers.
Chase had an easy, seven pitch, fifth and looked primed to continue on the hill, but in the top of the sixth Freeland walked Keon Broxton and Arcia after two were out, bringing up the pitcher’s spot. Anderson is not swinging the bat right now while returning from the oblique injury, so Craig Counsell had no choice but to pinch hit for him. Neil Walker, forced to bat rightie against lefty reliever Chris Rusin, lined an RBI single into right center. 3-1 Brewers.
Jacob Barnes worked his usual eventful inning in the bottom of the sixth. He allowed a single and walk, and had a wild pitch, but struck out Trevor Story with one out and runners on first and third, and got pinch hitter Jonathan Lucroy to ground to short and end the inning.
The Brewers’ seventh started with a single to right from Santana, but Braun grounded sharply to Arenado for a twin killing. Shaw had an infield singled off of lefty Rusin (he was originally called out, but the call was overturned on replay), and Colorado manager Bud Black brought in righty Amarish to face the red hot Aguilar. It didn’t work; Jesus lined his second pitch into the seats in left center for his second homer of the day and third in the past two. 5-1 Brewers.
Counsell went with Oliver Drake in the bottom of the seventh, and despite not having pitched in ten days Drake retired the first two batters. Counsell elected to go with Jared Hughes with two down and nobody on base, so Hughes decided to walk the first two batters to get to Parra, who he struck out.
Milwaukee continued to log BMIRs in the top of the eighth. Broxton singled to right and moved to second on a wild pitch (that should have been blocked by Lucroy), took third on a grounder behind him to short, and scored on an infield out from pinch hitter Eric Sogard. 6-1 Brewers.
Anthony Swarzak, taking the bottom of the eighth, hung a curve ball to Reynolds that Mark lined inside the foul pole down the leftfield line. Carlos Gonzalez singled to center, but Swarzak settled down to get the next three hitter.
Two more insurance runs scored in the top of the ninth for Milwaukee on a two RBI single by Broxton. The inning ended with an interference call by second base umpire Jim West. If you can’t keep track of how many balls there are you shouldn’t be allowed to call interference.
Jeremy Jeffress had the ninth, and retired the first two he faced before giving up a double to Arenado, a walk to Parra, and an RBI groundball single to Reynolds. Gonzalez became the fourth straight to reach with and RBI groundball hit of his own, and suddenly it was 8-4 with two on, meaning it was a save situation. Corey Knebel, who hadn’t been warming up very long, was called upon to shut things down. Pinch hitter Mike Tauchman struck out after fouling off three 0-2 pitches to end it.
The Cubs came up with three in the bottom of the tenth to erase a two run deficit, so the Brewers remain two back. The Cards play the Pirates later, but with the Brewers’ win over the Rockies, and another loss in Minneapolis for the D-Backs, Milwaukee moves within 2½ games of both in the Wild Card race.
Late baseball tomorrow night, as the Brewers (65-60) go to San Francisco for the first of three. Zach Davies (14-6, 4.26) continues in his Quixotic quest for 20 wins, and he will be opposed by Stratton (1-3, 4.91) for the Giants (50-76).