WP: Zach Davies (1-0); LP: Antonio Senzatela (2-2); Save: Nate Griep (1); Home runs: Col - none; Mil - Jett Bandy (1)
All tongue-in-cheekness aside, there are some things in spring training that supersede the Chase for the Cactus Cup in importance. Today’s Milwaukee Brewer (15-7-1) 4-3 win against the Colorado Rockies (9-13) included one of those things.
Zach Davies missed a start a week ago with a lat strain. It was listed as minor; Davies reported no discomfort almost immediately; and then had a throwing stint in the bullpen, and finally threw in an intersquad game with no repercussions. But getting out on the mound in a real game - even a spring training game - is something else again. Davies crossed that hurdle today. It took on even more importance after the last two games, as Brent Suter looked human on the mound for the first time this spring, and Wade Miley looked perhaps less than that yesterday. The Crew needed some good news on the mound.
Zach wasn’t perfect, but he pitched into the fourth inning and did well enough to earn his first win this spring as Milwaukee put up a four spot in the second inning to erase an early 1-0 deficit. They had just enough pitching to hold off a late Colorado rally and win their fifteenth game of the spring. He allowed a first inning run on a two out single, and then gave up a walk and single to start the second.
The Brewers have played well this spring, but have had their share of luck, too. That continued when the Rockies’ Daniel Castro grounded into an around the horn triple play (Hernan Perez to Jonathan Villar to Eric Thames) to end the second. Davies gave up a one out single to Raimel Tapia in the third and then picked him off. In the fourth, Zach retired the one batter he faced before leaving as he reached his pitch count. He was relieved by Josh Hader, who struck out the two he faced that inning and four for the game. Hader allowed a hit and no runs in his 1 2⁄3 innings. Matt Albers had a perfect sixth, J.J. Hoover a perfect seventh with a strikeout, and Corey Knebel allowed an unearned run in the eighth with a walk and a throwing error from Keston Hiura.
Ernesto Frieri, who loaded the bases with nobody down and then gave up a sac fly for the loss two days ago, was given another shot in the ninth today. He again loaded the bases by allowing a double, a wild pitch, and two walks. Craig Counsell left Frieri out there for another batter, and he notched a strikeout, then was replaced by minor leaguer Nate Griep.
Griep got a force-out at second as the Rockies’ third run came in, then ended the ball game with a line-out to shortstop Nate Orf.
The Brewers’ four run second got going with a one out single from Perez and an error by Colorado starter Antonio Senzatela on a ball hit by Villar. One out later Milwaukee tied things up on a single up the middle from Orlando Arcia. The Crew executed a double steal with Villar taking home and Arcia second for a 2-1 lead, and Jett Bandy hit his first homer of the spring for their final two runs.
Lorenzo Cain went two for two as the only Brewer with multiple hits, and raised his batting average this spring to .500.
The Cubs dropped the first game of a rare double-header with Cleveland, but are holding a 9-0 sixth inning lead over the Indians, it looks like the Brewers will increase their edge in the standings to one game going into tomorrow’s tilt against the Los Angeles Dodgers (11-11). Milwaukee starts Chase Anderson as he continues to prep for his opening day assignment in San Diego. Chase has a 6.52 ERA, so a solid performance would be an encouraging thing. The Dodgers are starting lefty Manny Banuelos. The game will be telecast on FSW.