A combination of an active Arizona jet stream and some struggling pitchers led to an action-packed 7-inning game between the Brewers and the Angels Monday afternoon, with the Brewers staging a “late” inning comeback to win, 10-9.
After Brandon Woodruff pitched a quick 1-2-3 1st inning in his spring debut, Angels starter Andrew Heaney had a hard time finding the plate in the bottom half.
He ended up hitting Daniel Robertson to lead off the inning, then gave up back-to-back singles to Omar Narvez and Avisail Garcia to score the game’s first run. Heaney then walked Keston Hiura on four pitches, then walked Travis Shaw in a long at-bat (which saw Shaw battle and lay off some tough pitches) to force in another run.
A Manny Pina sac fly made the score 3-0 early, and that would be the only out Heaney would record in the inning (although he did end up returning in the second inning under this year’s new spring training rules). The Brewers added another run when Derek Fisher hit a dribbler to Anthony Rendon down the third base line, only for Rendon’s throw to pull Albert Pujols off the bag at first base.
Woodruff had a tough 2nd inning, though, giving up back-to-back home runs to Rendon and Justin Upton. Considering this was Woodruff’s first action since dealing with some back stiffness and Rendon and Upton are good, we won’t worry too much about it. Those home runs also ended up being the only blemishes on Woodruff’s day, too, as he settled in to end his day with three straight groundouts after that.
After Woodruff, it was Brent Suter’s turn to go multiple innings, and he followed a similar pattern, tossing a 1-2-3 3rd inning before surrendering a 2-run bomb to Upton to tie the game in the 4th.
If you needed proof that the ball was REALLY flying this afternoon — Brice Turang homered for the Brewers in the bottom half of the 4th, giving the Brewers the lead back. Turang has hit all of 4 home runs in his professional career (spring training does not count as part of his professional career, since minor leaguers are essentially unpaid interns in spring training).
Narvaez and Garcia would follow that up by continuing their hot starts to the spring, with Narvaez stinging a ball off the base of the wall for an RBI double and Garcia scoring him with a base hit up the middle, expanding the Brewers’ lead to 7-4.
Brad Boxberger got a change to throw after Suter, but the non-roster invite couldn’t hold the lead, surrendering a 3-run blast to outfielder Jordyn Adams to even the score at 7 in the top of the 5th. Justin Topa also struggled for the first time this spring, surrendering a couple of runs in the 6th inning to put the Brewers behind, 9-7.
The Cactus Crew rallied in their last at-bats of the afternoon, though, with Mark Mathias cutting into the deficit with an RBI single in the bottom of the 6th. Catching prospect Mario Feliciano stepped to the plate next, and with two men on, lofted a fly ball to center field that he thought would be a fly out, but ended up as what Brian Anderson aptly described as a “Cactus League Triple” when Adams lost the ball and it dropped over his head. Tyrone Taylor and Mathias scored, and that’s all the Brewers needed to win after Angel Perdomo pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning.
Not exactly the best game for pitching — the Brewers ended with 10 runs on 14 hits, while the Angels scored 9 on 9 hits — but the jet stream was a major factor this afternoon with several balls being hit OVER the batters’ eye in center field.
The win moves the Brewers to 5-3 in their chase for the Prestigious Cactus Cup. They’ll face the Giants on Tuesday.