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Brewers pull away late, top Marlins 8-4

Corbin Burnes with the save!

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers-Media Day
And the Corbin Burnes era dawns
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

WP: Jhoulys Chacin (8-3); LP: Pablo Lopez (1-1); Save: Corbin Burnes (1); Homeruns: Mil-Travis Shaw (16); Mia - none

the 55th winning Box Score

Tonight’s game between the Milwaukee Brewers (55-37) and the Miami Marlins (38-56) had a frenetic beginning, a calm but oddly threatening middle, and a relaxing but extremely gratifying ending with Corbin Burnes making his Milwaukee Brewer debut and pitching very well in a high leverage situation.

The Brewers had one in the first and four in the second, while the Marlins had a two run bottom of the first and one in the second, so Milwaukee had a 5-3 lead after two. Nine Brewer batters reached in those two frames against Pablo Lopez, while the Fish had eight (one on an error) against Jhoulys Chacin.

Eric Thames singled leading off the game against Lopez, and Christian Yelich doubled off of the left field wall to put runners on second and third. Of course, that made two consecutive innings that the Brewers had that exact alignment...they did it in the top of the tenth last night, but didn’t score. Tonight, Jesus Aguilar walked to load the bases and Travis Shaw hit a hard grounder up the middle that turned into a fielder’s choice and an RBI. Strikeouts from Tyler Saladino and Brad Miller ended the threat.

Chacin gave up a double leading off the bottom half and one out later a walk, then two singles, and Miami was up 2-1. Jhoulys retired the next two.

The bottom half of the Brewers’ line-up looked exceptionally weak, but actually had some production in this one. Keon Broxton had an infield single and took second on a slow roller into the second base hole on the shift by Erik Kratz. Unfortunately, Kratz (who might lose a footrace to me) was thrown out at first for out number one. Chacin chopped a ball to short that Broxton hurdled beautifully (and stupidly) as he was thrown out at third.

With two down, Thames doubled to right with Chacin stopping at third (Chacin might beat Kratz in a race, too, but it would be a toss-up against me), and then Yelich singled them both home to re-take the lead. A walk to Aguilar and a wild pitch prompted Don Mattingly to call for an intentional walk to Shaw, but Saladino foiled this dastardly plot with a two run single to left, with Shaw being thrown out on the cut-off and throw to third.

After a lead off single in the bottom of the second, Lopez was up to bunt, but after a foul he took three straight balls, then pulled an 89 mph ‘heater’ into left for his first major league hit. After a sac fly, Jhoulys gave up another base knock, and then a tailor made double play ball to Saladino was mis-handled for an error. With the score 5-3 Miami had the bases loaded, one out. Jhoulys righted the ship with a strikeout and groundball to second.

Then the yawns set in for the Milwaukee offense. From the third through the seventh they sent the minimum to the plate with the only baserunner coming on an error by Lopez, dropping a perfect throw while covering first on an easy roller from Shaw. Saladino replaced the Mayor on a fielder’s choice and then was thrown out trying to steal.

The Marlins pulled within a run in the bottom of the fourth when Chacin again fell behind Lopez, this time 3-0, came back with two strikes, and then walked him. A single by Derek Dietrich (who was thrown out trying for two by Thames on a perfect peg to second) and an infield grounder scored the final run of the night for Miami.

Chacin lasted until there were two down in the bottom of the sixth when he walked Yadiel Rivera pinch hitting. Dan Jennings came in to face the lefty Dietrich and retired him on a slow roller to the right side that Saladino cut off and threw to first, off of the shift.

Jeremy Jeffress had the seventh, and had a scoreless frame despite allowing two hits. Brian Anderson singled leading off but was cut down by Kratz on a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play. Another single and a grounder to Saladino finished the inning.

Milwaukee finally had another hit with one down in the top of the eighth when Shaw drilled a hanging slider from Javy Guerra off of the facing of the second deck in right for his sixteenth homer of the season. 6-4 Crew.

Craig Counsell chose Corbin Burnes to make his major league debut with a two run lead in the bottom of the eighth against Miami, a seemingly curious decision that came about, I suspect, because Jeffress had over twenty pitches in the seventh and two appearances in two days, Josh Hader pitched yesterday, and Taylor Williams pitched the last two days. No problemo...Burnes had a 1-2-3 inning, fanning one, and setting up Corey Knebel for the save opportunity.

But wait! There’s more! With one out in the top of the ninth Kratz broke a Sogardian slump with a double down the leftfield line and Jonathan Villar was hit in the foot after a long battle. Thames fanned for the second out, but Yelich’s second double of the night drove them both home. That made it 8-4 and Milwaukee sat Knebel down, giving Burnes the ninth. A 1-2-3 finale gave Burnes a save in his first Brewers’ appearance, and adds another quality arm to the bullpen arsenal...for now, anyways.

Game Notes:

  • When Burnes retired Martin Prado pinch hitting in the ninth, it was the first time all night that Milwaukee retired the number nine spot in the Miami line-up.
  • Tyler Saladino had nine assists, two put-outs, and an error on probably the easiest ball he fielded all night.
  • Yelich had a 3-5 night with two doubles, a run scored, and four driven in.
  • Burnes becomes just the second Brewer in team history to get a save in his first appearance, joining Dave LaPoint who did it 38 years ago.

The teams meet tomorrow night to decide the winner of the three game set. Freddy Peralta (4-1, 2.14) goes for the Crew and will need lots of movement on his fastball against a Marlins’ line-up that hits fastballs well. He will be faced byt Dan Straily (3-4, 4.55).

Go Giants!

Vote Aguilar!