WP: Jhoulys Chacin (4-1); LP: James Shields (1-6); Save: none; Home runs: Mil - Erik Kratz (2), Jonathan Villar (3), Lorenzo Cain (8), Jesus Aguilar (10); CWS - none
The Milwaukee Brewers (37-22) had another frustrating game with runners in scoring position, but four homers more than made up for it. Combine that with another very good start from Jhoulys Chacin and a back-to-form job by the bullpen and you have a 5-0 win over the Chicago White Sox (17-38).
Erik Kratz led off the third against Chisox starter James Shields by golfing a low inside curve just around the foul pole down the left field line, giving Milwaukee a 1-0 lead. It looked like the Brewers would have to make do with that as they left runners on for the next three innings against Shields, including a runner at third with nobody out in both the fifth and sixth.
But the Crew finally figured out how to score without advancing runners past first in the seventh and eighth. Jonathan Villar (3-4) pulled a slow curve out to right to put Milwaukee up two in the seventh. Villar’s homer came one pitch after a Chicago manager Rick Renteria visit to Shields that everyone thought was the end of the day for Big Game James...but it wasn’t.
In fact, Shields finished the seventh with his team down 2-0, and came back out to start the eighth. This time he hung a curve in Lorenzo Cain’s wheelhouse and watched it fly into the bullpen in left. That WAS his last pitch. Reliever Jace Fry, a lefty specialist, walked lefty Christian Yelich and then served up a deep homer to Jesus Aguilar into right center, and suddenly it was 5-0.
Aguilar ended his day three for three with a walk, a double, and the two run dinger. His double was off the wall in left center.
Chacin faced trouble only twice in his 5 2⁄3 shutout innings (three hits, one walk, five strikeouts). A one out walk and two out single in the bottom of the third had runners at first and third for Jose Abreu, but Jhoulys struck him out. In Chacin’s last inning, the sixth, he allowed a lead off single to Yoan Moncada, and Moncada stole second. He went to third an out later on a groundout by Abreu that Villar made a sliding stop on up the middle, saving a run, and Craig Counsell went with Josh Hader to hopefully end the threat and hold the 1-0 lead.
Three strikes later, pinch hitter Jose Rondon was out on strikes and Milwaukee was out of the inning. Hader worked the seventh as well, walking one and fanning two more. With the lead up to five in the eighth, the Brewers went with Taylor Williams.
Williams had a 1-2-3 eighth but ran into trouble in the ninth. A single by Abreu and a double from Rondon had runners at second and third with nobody out. Williams retired two with pop-outs and fanned Daniel Palka to end the ballgame. Williams goes two shutout innings allowing two hits and fanning two.
So the series is tied at one each with Milwaukee not having to use Jeremy Jeffress or Corey Knebel, and Hader only going an inning and a third. Maybe the pen is going to become under worked.
Tomorrow’s rubber match has the Brewers starting Brent Suter (5-3, 4.63) going for the Crew’s seventh series win in a row. Chicago has former first round Brewer pick (unsigned) Dylan Covey (1-1, 3.63) on the bump.