Brewers pitching has dominated the headlines this past week, and rightfully so. The Reds’ offense is one of the best in all of baseball, and they were for the most part shut down. Three straight shutouts and another solid outing over their division rivals saw them move into first place in the NL Central.
Great pitching has overcome the poor hitting that has plagued the Brewers during the first half, and now into the second half. Two of the three shutouts were by the 1-0 variety, while three and four runs aren’t exactly signs of a high-powered offense. Those bats would face their toughest challenge of the second half on Tuesday, as Aaron Nola has been one of the best starters for the Phillies this season.
On paper, this looked like a mismatch for the Brewers. In reality, it was. Aaron Nola was masterful against the Brewers. The right-hander did a great job of throwing strikes, posting 71 strikes across 98 pitches. They struggled to get on base, not reaching at all until Raimel Tapia reached on an infield hit to short in the fifth.
While the Brewers couldn’t find a hit, the Phillies got Julio Teheran early. Kyle Schwarber led off the game with a home run to left center. The lead-off home run would be Schwarber’s fourth straight game with a home run. One inning later, it was a 2-0 lead after Alec Bohm drove in J.T. Realmuto on a groundout to Brice Turang. In the third, the lead grew to 3-0 Phillies when Nick Castellanos brought in Trea Turner, who was on third following a triple in the prior at-bat, with a single of his own.
In the fifth, the infield single from Tapia sparked a bit of a rally. Tapia stole second and then scored on a double from Andruw Monasterio. With two outs, Turang put some pressure on the infield, forcing an error from first baseman Darick Hall that allowed Monasterio to score. After entering the inning without a base runner, the Brewers trailed 3-2 at the end of the fifth.
A pair of hits from Turner and Bryce Harper forced Teheran out of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Trevor Megill came in to relieve Teheran and allowed the Phillies to extend their lead to 4-2 after Bryson Stott singled to left, driving in Turner. A wild pitch then gave the Phillies two runners in scoring position, but Megill escaped without further damage.
The hitting woes continued into the eighth. A rare leadoff single from Monasterio followed by a single from Turang gave the Brewers their best scoring threat since the fifth. With Nola leaving a batter later, Christian Yelich made it 4-3 on a force out to second. With the tying run on first, William Contreras grounded into a fielder’s choice to second, ending the threat.
Trailing in the ninth, the Brewers got a man to second thanks to a pair of errors, but the comeback fell just short. Craig Kimbrel recorded his 16th save of the season, as the Phillies would go on to defeat the Brewers, 4-3. The loss drops the Brewers record to 52-43, and they still hold a 2.5-game lead over the Cincinnati Reds for first in the NL Central thanks to a pair of losses at the hands of the Giants in a doubleheader Tuesday night.