There was a time when Jose Quintana posed an unsolvable conundrum for the Milwaukee Brewers. Now, however, it appears that the Brewers have finally resolved the Quintana mystery.
It wasn’t apparent out of the gates today as it was during his first start against the Cream City Nine this season, when he was torched for 8 runs in only 3.0 innings on April 5th at Miller Park. Jose was able to hold Milwaukee scoreless during the first three frames in this game while facing the minimum. The Brewers broke through in the fourth, though, on a solo home run by Ryan Braun. That’s his eighth of the season, and 18th career against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Gio Gonzalez started things off today for the visitors and worked yet another terrific outing. He dodged some traffic in the second and third innings, stranding a runner in the second thanks to a caught stealing by Yasmani Grandal and then two more in the third after a pair of walks. In all, though, he effectively worked through 5.2 scoreless innings, yielding only two hits and three walks. He struck out three, and his ERA though three starts now stands at 1.69.
The game would remain at a score of 1-0 until the 7th inning, when Milwaukee would begin to break the game open. Quintana was still on the mound to begin the frame, and he gave up a single to Grandal and a walk to Jesus Aguilar to get things going. A wild pitch during the next at-bat against Mike Moustakas allowed both runners to advance. Moose then hit a grounder to first base, and Anthony Rizzo threw late to home trying to catch the scoring Grandal. Two batters later, pinch-hitter Ben Gamel would lift a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0 Brewers. Quintana’s afternoon ended with three earnies allowed across 6.2 innings.
Milwaukee added two more runs in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Grandal and a single by Aguilar, and then another pair in the ninth on RBI by those same two players — this time a single by Grandal and a bases-loaded walk by Aguilar. It all added up to seven runs pushed across the plate by the end of the contest.
It wasn’t always easy, but the Brewers’ bullpen kept the North Side Nine scoreless the rest of the way to post the team’s fourth shutout of the season. Corbin Burnes retired his man to finish out the sixth inning for Gio. In the 7th, Matt Albers allowed the only two men he faced to reach on singles, bringing forth Alex Claudio. He got Jason Heyward to ground into an unassisted double play. Then came Our Hero, who retired Daniel Descalso on a pop-up to the catcher to end the threat.
Guerra came back out for the eighth inning and worked a scoreless frame, turning things over to Adrian Houser for the ninth inning. He allowed a pair of hits but was able to shut the door and finish out the 7-0 victory.
Today’s triumph is Milwaukee’s seventh in a row and lifts them into a virtual first-place tie with Chicago. Craig Counsell’s club is now a season-high eight games over .500 at 24-16. These two teams will tango again tomorrow afternoon at 1:20 PM central, with Zach Davies scheduled to face off against non-rival Cole Hamels.