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The Brewers’ bullpen implodes at Coors as they fall 11-7

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Ryan Braun left game early with left calf strain; will have MRI

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Colorado Rockies Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Box Score

The consensus hottest team in baseball since August became September is the Milwaukee Brewers. During this amazing run, the Milwaukee bullpen has been lights out. Since the calendar turned to September 1, the Brewers’ bullpen has thrown 112 innings and posted a 2.65 ERA. They threw four more innings tonight and let’s just say that bullpen ERA had a market correction.

One of the big reasons for Milwaukee’s run has been Craig Counsell’s reliance upon and success of that bullpen. Tonight the bullpen failed to come through in a big way. More specifically the Brewers’ bullpen gave up a 7-spot in the bottom of the sixth and a 3-spot in the bottom of the seventh. More about that in a a bit.

Something else unfathomable is the fact that Milwaukee had 14 hits, induced six walks, and had a batter hit by a pitch. With that much traffic on the base paths, one would think the outcome would be a win. Yet they were unable to outscore the Rockies in this one as they took better advantage of their opportunities.

Milwaukee was the team to put the pressure on early in this one as they would all game. Trent Grisham led the game off with a single to right field. Keston Hiura was the next hitter, and he was hit by a pitch. It looked as if the Brewers were poised for a big inning. Unfortunately Yasmani Grandal lined out to Trevor Story, and Hiura was doubled off first.

Milwaukee did score in the inning, but only once. With Grisham on second, Ryan Braun hit a ground ball up-the-middle. The ball trickled off gloves and cleats and eventually got into centerfield. Grisham scored all the way from second, and Braun was credited with a single.

Braun would be replaced by Ben Gamel as he felt calf discomfort, probably the result of legging out the single. That discomfort was later to become a left calf strain. It looks like it might actually be something to worry about as he will have an MRI.

The Rockies tied the game in the bottom of the third. Sam Hilliard hammered a double that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double. Hilliard scored when Tony Wolters singled, and the score was 1-1.

That would be the only run the Rockies would score off Zach Davies. He was cruising in this one, but he would only get through five innings before he was lifted. Through those five innings pitched, he gave up the one run on two hits while striking out two.

Before Davies left, Milwaukee did stake him to a lead. The lead came in the form of a Lorenzo Cain solo shot. With his classic lean back on the back foot, he took an Antonio Senzatela breaking pitch that failed to break over the left field wall, and the Brewers led fo a short while.

Then the sixth inning came, and the Brewers’ bullpen imploded. Flame throwing right-hander, Ray Black, replaced Davies. He hung a slider that Charlie Blackmon teed off on, and the game was tied. Nolan Arenado followed with a single to right. Black next walked Trevor Story and then his night was over.

Alex Claudio was next up. He was to match up with Daniel Murphy. Murphy placed a ground ball into the spot the shortstop would have been if the Brewers hadn’t shifted. The result was an RBI single and then the train went off the tracks.

Claudio would walk the bases loaded with a free pass to Sam Hilliard. He would grant another free pass to Tony Wolters, and Trevor Story scored.

Hoping that the next pitcher could stop the bleeding, Counsell made the call to the pen for Jay Jackson. Jackson had been great over his last several appearances, but with the bases loaded at Coors Field, a pitcher could not be in a much more stressful situation. Jackson floundered under the pressure. Raimel Tapia was called to pinch hit as a counter to the Jackson move. The first pitch Tapia saw from Jackson, he deposited just over the right field wall for a grand slam.

Likely flustered, Jackson walked two of the next four hitters he faced. Mercifully, he was able to induce two groundouts to get out of the inning. At the end of that sixth inning, the Rockies scored seven runs and Brewers’ relievers walked five Colorado hitters.

The Rockies tacked on in the bottom of the seventh. Jake Faria was the next Brewers’ reliever up. He fared about as well as his previous three counterparts. Daniel Murphy looped a single into left to lead the inning off. Ryan McMahon followed with a two run shot. Sam Hilliard was next, and he added to his big night with a laser beam into right for a double. He scored when pinch hitter, Yonder Alonso singled up-the-middle. At the end of seven, Milwaukee was down big, 11-2.

Milwaukee did keep fighting. Ben Gamel led off the eighth with a walk. Tyrone Taylor pinch hit for Cain, and he singled to right. Corey Spangenberg induced a walk to load the bases, and the Brewers were threatening. Orlando Arcia took advantage when he singled to left. Two runs scored.

The next hitter, Manny Pina induced a walk, and the bases were loaded once again with just one out. Colorado changed pitchers. The new pitcher, Jario Diaz, got Trent Grisham to hit the ball right back to him. That ground ball resulted in the classic 1-2-3 double play.

Again the Brewers kept fighting in the top of the ninth. Keaton Hiura doubled to lead off the inning. The double was the fourth hit of the game for Hiura, and his first four hit game of his young career. He scored when Travis Shaw singled. Shaw would be out on a fielder’s choice as Ben Gamel was safe at first. Eric Thames followed with a rocket that bounced off the left field wall for a double. Tyrone Taylor walked to load the bases, and another threat for the Brew Crew was taking place.

Corey Spangenberg was next, and he hit a slow ground ball to shortstop that resulted in an infield hit and an RBI. One more run would score as Orlando Arcia hit a cue shot to Daniel Murphy who stepped on first as Thames scored. Counsell then sent Mike Moustakas up as a pinch hitter and to take a shot. Unfortunately he popped out to short left to end the game.

These two two teams go at it again tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 CT. Gio Gonzalez will face off against Chi Chi Gonzalez. The game can be heard on WTMJ and seen on Fox Sports Wisconsin.