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Another Walk-off Walk: Brewers 6, Twins 5 (10 innings)

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Nate Orf makes his Brewer debut, but it was Miller time

Minnesota Twins v Milwaukee Brewers
Take that, Joe Mauer!
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

WP: Corey Knebel (2-0); LP: Zack Littell (0-2); Save: none; Homeruns: Min - Robbie Grossman GS,4: Mil - Manny Pina (6)

this is a better Box Score!

The Milwaukee Brewers (49-35) rallied from a 5-4 deficit in the ninth inning to tie and scored in the tenth to beat the Minnesota Twins (35-46) 6-5 tonight at Miller Park.

I’m not sure if the solution is to not allow the opposition to load the bases or to pitch better when they are loaded, but the Brewers should probably look to do something differently in upcoming games. They allowed a grand slam homerun for the third straight game, but this time were able to overcome it.

This time it wasn’t just icing on the cake for the other team. Milwaukee starter Brent Suter went into the top of the fifth inning tied 1-1 with Minnesota, and the one Twins run was highly tainted. It came in the top of the third; after the Twins had a single by starting pitcher Kyle Gibson and a double off the wall in center by Joe Mauer, putting runners on second and third, Suter struck out Eddie Rosario on a (very) high fastball. Then he struck out Brian Dozier with a curve away on a swing where Dozier missed the ball by 3-4 inches. But inexplicably, home plate Umpire Brian Eddings called a foul tip.

Manny Pina plead his case. Craig Counsell begged that he ask for help, and pointed out that Dozier started to run to first on the ball in the dirt, but was denied. So Dozier got another swing, and his ground out to short was the second out but drove in Gibson.

But back to the grand slam...Suter gave up a SECOND hit to Gibson (these were his first two at bats of the season, mind you) with one out. Mauer scalded a liner to center that Keon Broxton made a nice catch on going back for out number two, but then back to back singles loaded ‘em up for Robbie Grossman. A first pitch fastball went into the Brewer bullpen, and bam - 5-1 Twins.

Milwaukee had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Brad Miller and Eric Thames singled to start the inning, putting runners at first and third. Jesus Aguilar topped a slow roller for a run scoring fielder’s choice. Travis Shaw then hit a bouncer to second, and Aguilar stopped in front of Dozier. Dozier took the out at first, but Mauer’s throw to second hit an upright Aguilar and rolled into left field. Eddie Rosario over ran the ball by a step or so, and more inexplicability: Eddie Seder sent Aguilar around third and to home, where he was out by a lot.

Minnesota felt generous after taking their 5-1 lead, Manny Pina homered leading off the bottom of the fifth, Keon Broxton doubled into left center, pinch-hitter Jonathan Villar beat out an infield hit (upheld rather surprisingly on review), and Miller singled in run number three. Thames lined out to a leaping Jorge Polanco shifted up the middle, and Aguilar walked to load the bases. Shaw took a called third strike, but third baseman Willians Astudillo bobbled Ryan Braun’s easy roller and run number four came across.

Kudos to the Brewers “B” bullpenners - they shut out the Twins for three innings. Taylor Williams had a scoreless sixth, and Dan Jennings worked two plus innings, allowing only a lead-off single in the ninth. Jennings was helped tremendously by a leaping catch at the wall by Broxton off of (you guessed it) Mauer, leading off the seventh.

Jacob Barnes came on in the ninth with one on and none out and retired Bobby Wilson on a foul pop. Eduardo Escobar, pinch hitting, tapped one back to Barnes and he got the force at second, but there was no chance for the double play. Miller threw it anyways - into the dugout, putting an insurance run at second for Mauer. This time Mauer’s ball up the middle was and easy grounder to Miller, but he bobbled it. Fortunately, Escobar kept going around third, and Milwaukee got him in a rundown for the final out.

Twins’ closer Fernando Rodney had the ninth with a one run lead, but after retiring Eric Sogard for the first out he allowed singles to Miller, Thames, and Aguilar to load the bases. Shaw was able to launch a two strike sac fly to center to tie the game at five, but with a chance to win the game Braun grounded out back to Rodney.

“A” lister...er, reliever Corey Knebel looked as good as he has all year in retiring Minnesota 1-2-3 in the tenth. He was controlling his curve very well, and hit Pina’s glove with his fastball consistently. Two strikeouts and a ground out ended the top half of the inning.

Zack Littell had the bottom of the inning, and it didn’t go well. He hit Nate Orf on an 0-2 pitch, then gave up a single to Pina (after failing to bunt twice) and an excellent at bat by Broxton (after failing to bunt twice) to draw a walk on a 3-2 pitch, loading the bases.

Hernan Perez pinch hit and, against a pulled in, five man infield, rolled to shortstop Polanco. His throw home came close to pulling Wilson off the plate, but he kept his toe on for the force on Orf. Littell then walked Miller on four pitches to force in the winning run. 6-5 Brewers win.

Game Notes:

  • The Twins employed a four man outfield and three man infield against Eric Thames tonight. Holy slo-pitch softball, Batman!
  • Brent Suter got another one - he picked off Astudillo in the fourth inning.
  • Astudillo had singles in his first two at bats, giving him a .556 batting average in his first nine at bats. He was retired in his last two at bats.
  • Miller had three hits in five at bats, two runs scored, two batted in, and the walk.
  • Not a good line for Suter: 5 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs (earned), no walks, and 5 strikeouts.
  • Travis Shaw drew a walk-off walk against the Mets on May 25th at Miller Park (well, duh).

Jake Odorizzi (3-5, 4.62) goes for the Twins tomorrow afternoon at 3:10. Junior Guerra (4-5, 3.05) will pitch for Milwaukee as the Crew tries to finally take another series.