Chase Anderson got the start for the Milwaukee Brewers in their series opener against the Minnesota Twins, and from the start it looked like he was going to have to battle through this one. He worked around a walk in the first inning and then a base knock and hit batter in the second while posting zeroes, but the Twinkies broke through in the third inning. Max Kepler walked to lead off the frame ahead of Mitch Garver, who has quietly been one of the best hitters in baseball this year. Garver deposited a first-pitch fastball from Anderson over the fence for his 22nd bomb of the year to make it 2-0. Then, after a walk and a single, Luis Arraez brought in Minnesota’s third run of the inning with an RBI groundout.
Milwaukee’s offense started trying to claw back in the fourth. Hernan Perez singled to lead off the inning and then Chase Anderson reached when opposing pitcher Martin Perez attempted to get the lead runner out, but shortstop Jorge Polanco dropped the ball. Lorenzo Cain then scored Hernan with an RBI groundout to make it 3-1.
Anderson lasted five innings and gave up just those three runs, striking out four and walking three. Freddy Peralta threw a scoreless sixth but Jake Faria could not match his feat in the seventh. The first two batters he faced — Marwin Gonzalez and Ehire Adrianza — went double, single to plate Minnesota’s fourth run. But in the bottom of the seventh, the Brewers staged their big comeback. Keston Hiura singled to start things against reliever Ryne Harper. Then Christian Yelich, back in the lineup after missing five starts with back issues, doubled to score him and make it 4-2. Ryan Braun reached on catcher’s interference by Garver. That brought up Yasmani Grandal, and for the first time since July 6th, he went deep to snap a string of 114 consecutive homer-less PAs. His 20th dinger of the year gave Milwaukee a 6-5 advantage.
Craig Counsell ran out Drew Pomeranz to protect the lead in the eighth, and he yielded a double and a walk before retiring his first and only batter. CC then played matchup, bringing in Matt Albers to face CJ Cron, and he struck him out. Then the ball was handed off to Josh Hader to secure the four-out save. The idea was to turn the switch-hitting Gonzalez around to bat righty, as Albers has given up a .360 wOBA to left-handed hitters this year. But the move backfired when Hader threw a first pitch heater low and over the middle of the plate. Gonzalez didn’t miss it, mashing a three-run tater to give the lead back to Minnesota at 7-5. That is now the 13th home run allowed by Hader in 55.2 IP this season; he had allowed 13 total in 129 career innings before 2019. That’s also the sixth dinger that he’s yielded in 12.2 innings since the All-Star Break after giving up seven in 43.0 innings during the first half. The “all fastballs” approach hasn’t been working lately, especially when Hader is missing his location down and over the middle.
The Brewers couldn’t rally any further and the game ended in a 7-5 defeat. Milwaukee went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position on the day and stranded 12 men on base, but you can hardly blame the offense for a loss when pitching allows seven runs. The Cream City Nine falls to 62-58, 2.5 games back of the Cubs for the division lead and 1.5 games behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot.
These two teams will complete this two-game border battle series on Wednesday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 PM central. Kyle Gibson will go for the Twin Cities Nine, and toeing the slab opposite of him will be Gio Gonzalez.