With 20 games remaining in the regular season, the Brewers found themselves just two games out of the second wild card sport coming into tonight’s action. The bad news about those 20 games is that 13 them are on the road. The good news is that 17 of those 20 games are against sub .500 teams. Tonight one of those sub .500 teams faced off with Milwaukee: the Miami Marlins.
Jordan Lyles handled the starting duties for the Brewers, while Robert Duggar made his fifth ever MLB start. The Brewers put the pressure on the young pitcher early. In the top of the first inning, Duggar walked Yasmani Grandal and Eric Thames while allowing a single in between the two walks to Christian Yelich. With the bases loaded, Lorenzo Cain singled to score Grandal. The Brewers would add only one more run on a ground out by Corey Spangenberg, but Milwaukee had the early lead, 2-0
Milwaukee added on in the top of the fourth inning. Brian Moran, who replaced Duggar, hit Eric Thames with a pitch. LoCain followed with a single to right field. With the addition of Corey Spangenberg to MLB club, the Brewers have tipped their toe into the “small ball” water. “Spangy” put down a sacrifice bunt that advanced Thames and Cain 90 feet. Travis Shaw brought Thames home with a ground ball, and Milwaukee had a 3-0 lead.
Jordan Lyles pitched relatively well in this one, although he was only able to go 4.1 innings. He gave up just one run, and that came in the bottom of the fifth inning as he lost his command for a bit. Lyles gave up a lead off walk to Jon Berti. Good pal, Curtis Granderson came up as a pinch hitter and hit a ground ball deep into the hole to the left of second base. Spangenberg fielded the ball, but his only play was at first, which allowed Berti to advance to second. Berti would come around to score as another good pal, Neil Walker punched a single past the vacated area that a shortstop would have played in another day and age.
The top of the sixth inning resulted in a run for the Brew Crew. Trent Grisham and Yasmani Grandal hit back-to-back singles. After getting down 1-2, Christian Yelich was able to work a walk off Wei-Yin Chen. Looking to go for the jugular, Craig Counsell went to Ryan Braun with the bases loaded. Don Mattingly countered by replacing the lefty, Chen, with right-hander, Tyler Kinley. Braun jumped on the first pitch he saw from Kinley and hit the ball deep to left. In the cavernous outfield of Marlin’s Park, the result was a fly ball out, but that deep fly ball allowed all three base runners to tag up, and of course, Grisham scored. Milwaukee was up 4-1.
Freddy Peralta took over the bottom of the sixth on the mound. As is always the case, Brewer Nation wondered which Freddy Peralta they would get. On this night, it was the bad Freddy Peralta. His fastball lacked its normal velocity, and his command was suspect. As a result, he let Miami right back into this game. Harold Ramirez led things off with a single against him. Jon Berti followed with a double. Miguel Rojas would bring both in with a single, and the Marlins were within one. Jay Jackson replaced Peralta and pitched out of bases loaded trouble.
Milwaukee responded in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Hernan Perez doubled. Tyler Austin was intentionally walked, or at least he was after left-hander, Jose Quijada, fell behind him 3-1. The Marlins decided to walk Austin with two outs, to allow Quijada to face the left-handed hitting Grisham. Grisham made the Marlins pay for the decision. He laced a ball over the head of Marlin’s right fielder, Garrett Cooper. Perez and Austin scored, and Grisham scampered into third for a triple.
That triple would be just one of the five hits the Brewers’ rookie would get in this contest. He would soon score when Yasmani Grandal launched a ball into the night and off the back wall of Marlin’s Park for his 26th home run of the season. Milwaukee now had a comfortable 8-3 lead.
Jay Jackson would get into a little trouble in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases. Ray Black would bail him out. Black would cover 1.1 innings and simply blow away 3 Marlins’ hitters. Jake Faria handled the ninth inning, and the Brewers notched the win, while the Diamondbacks and Phillies lost.
The Brewers play the Marlins again tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 CT. Chase Anderson will get the ball for Milwaukee. Elieser Hernandez will take the mound for the Marlins. The game can be heard on WTMJ and seen on Fox Sports Wisconsin.