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Brewers solid in 7-2 win over Diamondbacks

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Manny Piña homers and starts offensive rally that spans two innings.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If yesterday was a power showcase for the Brewers, today’s outing was about piecing together runs. Apart from Manny Piña’s 2-run homer in the first, the Brewers small-balled their way to a 7-2 win over the Diamondbacks across a pre-determined 7 ½ innings. The win brings the Crew to 2-0 in the Cactus League.

The big offensive showings for the Brewers came in the first, fourth, and fifth innings. The 2-run Piña shot scored Billy McKinney, who the Brewers claimed off waivers last September.

Piña also got the offensive rally started in the fourth with a single to center. Jace Peterson followed with a single to right. Tim Lopes grounded into a fielder’s choice that advanced Piña to third before a Mark Mathias single and a DBacks error brought in both Piña and Lopes.

Mathias quickly scored on a wild pitch before Corey Ray hit a single. In a regular-season game, we would have seen more of this two-out rally, but the teams decided to “roll” the inning, an agreed-upon spring training practice intended to limit pitch counts and preserve arms.

In the fifth, the Brewers scored two runs off two hits. The Crew put up a less frenetic inning than the one that preceded it but still saw decent on-base production. After a Luis Urias single and Daniel Vogelbach walk, McKinney batted in Urias and sent pinch-runner and top-tier prospect Brice Turang to third. Catcher Mario Feliciano knocked Turang home before grounding into a fielder’s choice that resulted in only the second out but still ended the fifth, which was another “rolled” inning.

The rest of the game was offensively unremarkable, except for first-round pick Garrett Mitchell’s first big league spring training at-bat. Mitchell singled to right on a four-seam fastball before a popout and lineout left him stranded at first.

The Brewers’ defensive innings were, for the most part, an inning-by-inning showcase of solid to inspired pitching.

In the first, Corbin Burnes appeared in last season form. He struck out two batters on mostly upper 90s sinkers and mid-90s cutters and forced a ground out with a (for him) low-speed slider.

In the second, Freddy Peralta allowed a walk and a single but also struck out three. Most of his strikes came on Fast Ball Freddy four-seamers, but his last out came with two strikes on a slow curve similar to the one Josh Rojas singled to left earlier in the inning.

Jordan Zimmermann was the only hurler who struggled for the Crew today. Zimmermann’s inning started well enough with a strikeout looking, but things devolved quickly from there. Former Brewer Stephen Vogt doubled to left before being knocked home by Asdrúbal Cabrera. A flyout to center brought the end of the inning in sight, but Zimmermann gave up an infield single and hit a batter before rolling the Brewers rolled the inning.

The rest of the pitching staff kept the DBacks hitless. Brad Boxberger struck out one, allowed a walk, and prompted a fielder’s choice and popout. Clayton Andrews, a non-roster invitee, had a 1-2-3 inning on flyouts and strikes. Jake Cousins, another non-roster invitee, also had a 1-2-3 inning on flyouts and strikes. Quintin Torres-Costa, another non-roster invitee and the less anticipated of the Brewers’ acquisitions from Hawaii, allowed a walk but struck out two.

The Brewers will do more roster building and, hopefully, induce more rolled offensive innings tomorrow. They take on the Oakland A’s at American Family Fields of Phoenix beginning at 2:10 CT.