Still within a game Box Score!
Christian Yelich is going to win the MVP for the National League this season, but former MVP Ryan Braun is doing his best 2011 impersonation to help Yeli carry the Milwaukee Brewers (93-67) to the brink of an NL Central title…or play-off…or hosting a Wild Card game. Two games left in the regular season, and the Cubs still hold a one game lead over the Brewers after Chicago dispatched of the fading Cardinals this afternoon. The Brewers topped the Detroit Tigers (64-96) 6-5 in yet another last at-bat win for Milwaukee tonight at Miller Park.
Braun had two homers tonight, and the second once again rescued Josh Hader from a poor appearance. Braun was leading off the inning against side-arming righty Victor Alcantara. Braunie launched a 2 strike slider to right that crept onto the Beer Pen wall off of Nicholas Castellano’s glove, then rolled for a couple of feet before dropping into a happy fans hands. Take a look, and enjoy one from ten years ago for good measure:
Braun’s heroics were necessary because Hader again gave up a lead. With the Crew up 5-3 in the eighth Hader got ahead of his first batter, Jeimer Candelaria, 0-2 and then grazed his wrist. Dawel Lugo followed with his first major league homer on a drive out to straight away left off of a full count inside fastball. Once again it took awhile to get the next pitcher ready, and the Tigers recorded a walk and a flyball to the wall in right that was caught by Yelich before CC could go and get Josh.
Joakim Soria came in and retired the final two to set up Braun’s lead-off at bat in the bottom of the inning. Soria earned his second win of the season.
Zach Davies had a first inning that looks just awful in the boxscore, but was not so much a matter of poor pitching but unfortunate results. After getting the first out Davies allowed five straight hits that resulted in three runs. There were two bloops and three grounders, including two that were broken bat hits. Zach recovered to get the last two in the first, then retired the final nine that he faced, finishing after four innings with no walks and three K’s.
The sell-out crowd was stunned, but the Brewer bats woke them back up with a quick assault on Tiger starter Jordan Zimmerman. Lorenzo Cain led off with his patented line drive single between first and second, and with echoes of an “MVP” chant resounding, Yelich launched his 34th homer of the season well out to center to get the game back to 3-2. Two outs later, Ryan Braun hit an 0-2 slider over the Brewer pen for his first homer of the game, and the game was tied at three.
Milwaukee got their first lead in the bottom of the third. Yelich walked to lead off the inning, and Jesus Aguilar singled to left. After two outs, Mike Moustakas had a Brewer bloop hit, and this one scored Yelich. Aguilar was out trying for third, but the Crew led 4-3.
Orlando Arcia contributed a one out double down the left field line in the bottom of the fourth, and Craig Counsell did what he does – he pinch hit for his starter early. Domingo Santana deliverd again with an RBI base hit to left. Lo Cain struck out, and Zimmerman walked Yelich again (giving Yelich a streak of nine straight at bats of getting on base). Teams are deciding that Yelich isn’t gonna beat them. Aguilar was called out on strikes for the second time on a pitch off the plate inside…and wasn’t particularly happy about it.
The Crew had an opportunity to pad their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Braun lined a double that short-hopped the wall in right center and Moustakas had his second bloop single in a row, putting runners at first and third. Erik Kratz lined a ball barely foul on the first pitch he saw, but ended up grounding into an easy 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Brandon Woodruff worked the fifth and sixth six up, six down, with three K’s. Woody has looked really tough over the past month. He’s appeared in 7 games, working 12.1 innings with a 0.73 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.
Jeremy Jeffress came on for the save, and after getting ahead two strikes HIS inside fastball drilled JaCoby Jones on the elbow. Holy Deja Vu, Batman! But JJ got a double play grounder from Victor Reyes and a flyball to left by Ronny Rodriguez. Whew…Brewers win, 6-5.
The Brewers try to catch the Cubs again tomorrow, and once again they’ll know the results of the Cubs/Cardinals game before they play. Time for the Cards to wake up; their season hangs in the balance. Detroit sends out Daniel Norris (0-5, 5.22), while the Brewers have Wade Miley (5-2, 2.32) on the hill. If the Brewers win and manage a tie with the Cubs, it would seem that Jhoulys Chacin would have to pitch the tie breaker Monday afternoon at Wrigley. That would free up Miley to start game one of the divisional series at Miller Park after the Crew beats the Cubs.
- Jared Saltalamacchia struck out pinch-hitting in the fifth, Woodruff’s first hitter. That isn’t all that important, but I get paid by the letter.
- Braun has five homers in his last four games, and has reached 20 for ninth time in his career.
- I was happy to see Woody get two innings and Knebel one so that the Brewers could give Hader another day off, and was surprised to see him come into the game in the eighth.
- Aguilar and Travis Shaw each struck out three times tonight. Braun had the two homers and a double, Moustakas had two hits, and so did Lando.
- Yelich is at .322, with Cain at .310, Scooter at .310, and Ben Zobrist at .309. After never having a batting average champion in the team’s history, there’s a good shot that the Brewers will have the top two this season. Yeli’s consecutive at bat streak ended at nine with a looking strike three in the bottom of the seventh.