The Brewers and Marlins got together to play the second of three at Miller Park this evening. Better yet this was Jimmy Nelson’s first game back since injuring his shoulder on September 8, 2017. On top of that, Mr. Nelson turns 30 today, and the Brewer faithful greeted him with a standing ovation.
Nelson started things off by getting lead off hitter, Curtis Granderson to hit a slow ground ball. Unfortunately Orlando Arcia bobbled the ball and Granderson reached. Granderson would score on a ground out by Starlin Castro, and the Marlins were up early, 1-0.
The Brewers hit the ball well in the first, but those hits turned into outs. Christian Yelich was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double (he may have been safe). Lorenzo Cain followed with a drive to right that was headed over the fence, but Harold Ramirez made the catch, giving LoCain some of his own medicine.
The Brewers were able to get on the board in the second. Mike Moustakas got an infield single off a diving Garrett Cooper at first base. Yasmani Grandal followed with a single up the middle. With two outs in the inning, Orlando Arcia drove a double into the left-centerfield gap to score Moustakas and initially Grandal on a close play at the plate. Unfortunately replay showed Grandal was out ending the inning with the Marlins and Brewers knotted at one run a piece.
The Marlins would take the lead right back. In the top of the third, Nelson would give up three walks, two doubles, and a grand slam. By the end of the inning, the Marlins had a 5-1 lead, and Brandon Woodruff was pinch hitting for Nelson to lead off the top of the fourth. Nelson would end his first game back with just three innings pitched, giving up five runs, four earned, striking out two and walking three. Not a great line, but it is just plain great to see Jimmy Nelson back on the mound starting for the Brewers.
In the top of the fifth, Adrian Houser returned for his second inning of work. He went to a 3-2 count on Brian Anderson who led off the inning.. Houser threw a strike on the outside corner. Unfortunately instead of a strike call, the umpire called the pitch a ball, and Brian Anderson walked. The Brewers exasperated things when Yasmani Grandal air mailed a throw attempting to throw out Anderson stealing. Instead Anderson ended up on third and would score a sixth run on a sac fly by Starlin Castro.
Houser would go on to pitch for three innings, and he was sharp. He gave up just the one unearned run. He also struck out six. As Brian Anderson (the broadcaster) said, “He’s starting to look like a dude.”
Matt Albers took over in the seventh, and he pitch a scoreless inning. Junior Guerra took the eighth inning. He would hit J.T. Riddle, and allow a double to Miguel Rojas. Bryan Holaday would knock both runners in with a single to left to make the score 8-1 Marlins. Alex Claudio would pitch a scoreless ninth.
The Brewers did make a little something happen in the bottom of the ninth. The combination of Lorenzo Cain and Hernan Perez induced a single walk from Marlins’ reliever, Adam Conley. LoCain worked the count to 3-2 before leaving with an injury. Perez took ball four and went to first base. Yasmani Grandal would crush a two-run shot to left field to close the gap, 8-3, but that would be as close as Milwaukee would get.
In sum, although Jimmy Nelson struggled, it was a big moment for him getting back to the major leagues. Adrian Houser looked quite good. There was some poor play defensively, and the Brewers’ bats were M.I.A. for the second straight night. Let’s hope they turn things around tomorrow afternoon.
These two teams finish up the three game series at Miller Park tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 CT. The game will be broadcast via WTMJ and Fox Sports Wisconsin.