WP - Freddy Peralta (6-3)
LP - Caleb Smith (8-10)
SV - Josh Hader (31)
HR - MIL: Ryan Braun (19)
That loss would drop them to 7.5 games back in the NL Central race and 5 games back of the Cubs for the second NL wildcard spot. Their playoff hopes were on life support.
A week later, the Brewers have matched both their longest win streak of the season (7) and their high water mark above .500 (10), completing a 4-game sweep of the woeful Marlins in Miami with one of the more dominant 3-2 wins you’ll see.
Gio Gonzalez started the afternoon for the Brewers, and had a Very Gio Gonzalez start, scattering 7 hits about as much as you can scatter 7 hits over just 4 innings but limiting the damage to only 2 runs.
From there, the Brewers’ bullpen was asked to pick up the final 15 outs and proceeded to have its most dominant game of the year: 15 up, 15 down, 10 strikeouts.
Ray Black was the first one out of the bullpen, and picked up 2 strikeouts in the 5th inning.
Drew Pomeranz followed in the 6th and struck out the side.
Freddy Peralta picked up the next 2 innings, striking out 3 while firing 18 of his 26 pitches for strikes.
Josh Hader closed out the 9th with a harmless flyout and 2 K’s — including freezing former Brewers prospect Isan Diaz with a 2-strike slider for the second out — for his 31st save.
That effort helped pick up a Brewers offense that was also held hitless after chasing Miami starter Caleb Smith from the game. Luckily, the Brewers’ offense had things going early again.
Lorenzo Cain and Yasmani Grandal both reached to start the game, with a single and a walk, respectively. A fielder’s choice from Ryan Braun was able to move Cain over to third before Mike Moustakas continued his hot streak after returning to the lineup, delivering an RBI sac fly.
Gonzalez’s shaky start, allowing 3 straight hits to start the bottom of the 1st inning, allowed the Marlins to quickly tie the game, but he was able to escape without any further damage — thanks in part to a heads-up play from Hernan Perez and a slight baserunning blunder by the Marlins with runners at 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out.
That kept the game tied until the 3rd, when Gonzalez himself was able to bloop in a hit of his own to lead off the inning and Ryan Braun — still wearing Christian Yelich’s jersey underneath his own — channeled the MVP by flashing some opposite field power and hitting his first home run since August 17th to give the Brewers a 3-1 lead.
The Marlins were able to climb within 1 run in the bottom of the 4th, when Diaz barely missed his second home run of the series with an opposite-field triple to lead off the inning and came in to score on an RBI single by fellow Yelich trade piece Lewis Brinson.
The win puts pressure on the Cubs, currently finishing their series in San Diego, to keep pace.
The Brewers will hope to keep the momentum going — and possibly find an improbable way back into the division race — with their final series against the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend. It’ll be the Brewers’ final regular season series against a team above .500. The Cardinals are finishing their final series against a team under .500 today in Colorado.