The United States, and the rest of the world, continue the transition back towards normalcy as the widespread availability and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine helps to bring an end to the pandemic. Things took a big step in Milwaukee with the capacity of American Family Field returning to 100%, which the Brewers celebrated as “Re-Opening Day” against the Colorado Rockies on Friday afternoon.
Things started off as a good, old-fashioned pitcher’s duel, with Corbin Burnes and Jon Gray matches zeroes for the first several innings. Gray punched out 10 batters in 5.0 innings, and Burnes didn’t allow a hit until the sixth innings, although it was Corbin that blinked first. Raimel Tapia recorded the first knock of the game on a ball to third base, stole second, then came around to score on a single by Yonathan Daza. That’d be it for Burnes, who allowed just the one earned run on three hits and two walks across 6.0 innings, with seven punchouts.
Milwaukee’s bullpen hiccupped in the seventh. Trevor Richards came on for Burnes, and the traffic started with a one-out single by Brendan Rodgers. Richards uncorked a wild pitch to allow him to move to second, then he came around to score on a single by Elias Diaz. Next, Joshue Fuentes pinch-hit and cranked a two-run homer to left, making the score 4-0 in favor of the Rockies. The relievers held serve after that, with Miguel Sanchez, Jake Cousins, Josh Hader, and Devin Williams all recording scoreless appearances. Cousins was particularly impressive, punching out four batters across two innings.
The Brewers began to chip away in the bottom of the seventh. The first gash was a solo home run off the bat of Keston Hiura, his first bomb since April, to make it 4-1. Then Kolten Wong slammed a lead-off dinger in the eighth innings, bringing the score to 4-2. In the bottom of the ninth, Omar Narvaez led off with a free pass, brining Willy Adames to the plate. Milwaukee’s newest clutch hero clubbed a game-tying home run to left field, getting the score to 4-4 and sending this contest into extra innings.
Neither team scored in the 10th, but in the 11th, the Brewers sent all 31,140 in attendance home happy. The runner starting on second base was Manny Pina, and he moved up to third on a single by Adames. Jackie Bradley, Jr. walked to load the bases, then Hiura lofted a sacrifice fly that scored Pina and won the ballgame, 5-4.
The series continues on Saturday, with a 3:10 PM start at AmFam Field featuring Adrian Houser versus Antonio Senzatela.