WP: Jeremy Jeffress (1-0); LP: Adam Cimber (0-1); Save: Jacob Barnes (1); Home runs: none
Winning a game after you give up a two-out hit in the bottom of the ninth is tough. Winning a game when the opposition has second and third with one down in the bottom of an extra inning is tough. Winning a game when you go eight innings with no runs and two hits is tough.
But the Milwaukee Brewers (1-0) managed that in their season opener against the San Diego Padres (0-1) at Petco Field in San Diego. They used great pitching, a couple of two-out rallies, solid defense, and more Ji-Man Choi magic to pull out a very tough win in twelve innings, 2-1.
Making #Brewers starter Chase Anderson's outing even more impressive today: the revelation that he had a bad stomach virus in Houston and wasn't feeling 100% today.— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 30, 2018
Brewers’ starter Chase Anderson worked six great innings, picking up where he left off last season. He shut out the Padres over that stretch on one hit, three walks, and six strikeouts. His only blemish on the day was actually a positive for the Crew: he scored the Brewers’ only run in regulation on one of the worst slides in baseball history.
The only Brewer pitcher to not get the job done was closer Corey Knebel. Corey took over the bottom of the ninth with a 1-0 lead and retired Jose Pirela on a called third strike on the corner. But Carlos Asuaje singled sharply into left center on a fastball and pinch runner Matt Szczur stole second. After a fly out, shortstop Freddy Galvis pulled a hanging curveball just out of the reach of Ryan Braun and into right to tie things up at one. Manny Pina gunned down Galvis on an attempted steal to end the ninth.
MIlwaukee took their 1-0 lead in the top of the third. With two down Anderson poked a fastball into center for a single, Lorenzo Cain collected his second hit (of three) to put runners on first and second. Christian Yelich then dumped a two strike single into left to drive in Chase on his ill-fated slide. Brewer fans (and GM David Stearns, who left a booth interview to go check on Anderson) held their breath until Anderson came out to pitch the bottom of the third.
At that point the Crew had five hits in 2 2⁄3 innings off of Padres starter Clayton Richard. They collected just two more until a two out rally in the top of the twelfth brought in the winning run.
The top of the twelfth started with a lead-off single off of Padre reliever Adam Cimber, a sidewinding righty, by Domingo Santana. Manny Pina had his second sharply hit double play ball to short to leave Milwaukee with two down and nobody out. Spring training revelation Ji-Man Choi then yanked a pinch-hit two run double down the right field line. Orlando Arcia’s soft groundball single to right plated Choi with the go-ahead run.
Jacob Barnes came on in the bottom of the twelfth to attempt to close things out. After a less-than-stellar spring training, breath was being held. But Barnes used his 97 mph fastball and a sharp slider to strike out the side and end the long first ballgame.
Other Brewer relievers did a good job as well. Josh Hader struck out the side around a lead off walk and bunt single in the seventh; Matt Albers gave up a hit, but all three batters he faced in the eighth hit groundballs, the last resulting in an inning ending double play.
Jeremy Jeffress worked a 1-2-3 tenth, but ran into trouble in the eleventh. A one-out, four-pitch walk to new signee Eric Hosmer, and then Pirela dumped a bloop single into right that Santana over-ran, putting runners at second and third. The Brewers chose an intentional walk to load the bases and then Jeffress got the out(s) of the game: Chase Headley hit a grounder to Travis Shaw at third, who came home to Pina for the force, who nipped Headley at first to end the inning.
The twelve inning game probably means that the Brewers will have to add a bullpen arm before tomorrow’s game. Brandon Woodruff and Oliver Drake are the only relievers that didn’t work today, and it’s too early in the season to expect that tomorrow’s Brewer starter Jhoulys Chacin will give the team more than six innings.
Chacin goes against the Padres’ rookie lefty Joey Lucchesi, making his major league debut. Lucchesi posted a 1.99 ERA in the minors last season. Guess that means that Ryan Braun gets his second start at first base. Game time is 9:10 CT.