WP: Tommy Hunter (1-2); LP: Jacob Barnes (3-3); Save: none; Home runs: MIl - Orlando Arcia (11); Tor - Steven Souza (24)
The Brewers’ lack of offense finally caught up with them in the Central Florida series, as the Crew could only manage six hits and a single run today in a 2-1 loss at Tropicana Field. (Actually, they should have had seven hits, as a bouncer knocked down by Rays’ starter Chris Archer was ruled an error off the bat of Eric Thames.)
Archer shut the Brewers out on one hit through five innings, and a second inning run had him leading into the bottom of the sixth. Series star Orlando Arcia tied things up when he lined a lead-off homer well into the seats in left, and the Brewers proceeded to load the bases with two down before Hernan Perez struck out on a hanging curve ball to end the threat. Milwaukee had a lead-off walk in the eighth erased by a double play.
The Brewers’ ninth was frustrating. Thames led off with a single to right, and Hernan Perez seemed to catch the Rays completely by surprise with a sacrifice bunt attempt - so off guard that Hernan beat it out for a hit. I fully expected Manny Pina to bunt, given how poorly the Rays had played that one, but the Brewers had him swing away.
Here’s where luck deserted the Brewers. Rays’ shortstop Adeiny Hechavaria snuck in behind Thames at second, but Tampa reliever Tommy Hunter delivered the pitch while Hech was just a step or so away from second. He took a step back towards short, and Pina drilled one right at him for an easy 6-3 double play. Keon Broxton grounded to third with the go-ahead run at third, and it went to the bottom of the inning tied 1-1.
Craig Counsell went with Jacob Barnes despite his shaky thirty pitch effort last night, and at least Barnes didn’t throw a lot of pitches today - his second was lined into pretty much the same spot as Arcia’s homer by Steven Sousa. Game over.
Jimmy Nelson was very good for Milwaukee, giving the team eight tough innings and one run allowed. The Rays scored in the bottom of the second when two singles and a walk loaded the bases with none out. A 6-3 double play pushed across the run, and Nelson fanned Mallex Smith to end the inning.
In all, Nelson’s eight innings saw him allow six hits, the one run, two walks, a hit batter, and nine strikeouts. The Brewers starting pitching has been awesome of late, highlighted by the fact that the run allowed by Jimmy was the most given up by a starter in the series.
Milwaukee suffered another injury to a starter today, as Domingo Santana took a first inning Chris Archer fastball off of his right wrist. Santana stayed in the game to run but came out at the half inning. The good news was that Travis Shaw was healthy enough to take over at third base, sending Perez out to right. Santana was on the bench in the later innings with a sleeve or brace on his wrist, but at this writing neither Lewis Brinson or Brett Phillips has left the Colorado Springs Sky Sox line-up, so it appears that neither is coming up for Domingo.
The Brewers travel to Minneapolis for two against the Twins, then back to Milwaukee for two more in the home and home rival series. The Brewers (59-54) go with Brent Suter (2-2, 3.04) against the Twins (52-56) Ervin Santana (12-7, 3.28) in game one Monday night. At this writing, the Cubs lead the Nationals 4-3 in the seventh.