The Score: Milwaukee Brewers 5 San Francisco Giants 4 Players of the Game: Mike Rivera: 2/3, 2B, R and 2 RBIs Ray Durham: 2/4, R and 2 RBIs
Game Recap: In a hard fought battle all day, the Brewers held off every Giants attempt to take over the game with solo homeruns from Ryan Bruan and Gabe Kapler following rallies in the 6th and 7th innings. As a result the Brewers go 4-1 on the year and 2-0 at home, giving Milwaukee fans even more to cheer about, thought they could have done a little more to make them less nervous.
Having been relatively flawless in the field in their first five games, the Brewers committed three errors in today's game, which can actually be considered four if you consider Rickie's missed DP throw in the 7th. Thankfully, these runs didn't hurt them in the long wrong, mostly because of rookie pitcher Manny Parra's impressive performance. Though his line looks incredibly similar to Villanueva's yesterday (5.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K), Parra was perfect through his first five innings, pitching in jam after jam. It was in the 6th that Parra fell apart. He began to miss over the plate, giving up a leadoff triple to LF Eugenio Valdez (On the depth chart as a 2B, to edit my last article), only to give up 2 runs. Riske came in to mop up the damage.
The story of the game, however, was the Brewers ability to tack on runs when in the lead. Milwaukee led the league in 2007 in games lost after leading by 3 runs or more. Today, they opened up a 3-0 lead only to give up two runs the following, however, Braun's homer in the sixth made it 4-2 and then Kapler's pinch hit homerun in the 7th made it 5-3. Mike Rivera got his first nod to start in place of a hot Jason Kendall, and came through with two important hits and handled a young Manny Parra extremely well.
The Game Changing Play: The 6th inning homerun by Ryan Braun was another sign the Brewers are turning the corner. It put more pressure on a young San Francisco team that was looking for some momentum, only to have it taken away.
Predictions Good: In my last article, I predicted a 4-run victory for the Brewers. Well okay, not a really that good of a prediction, but it's hard to say what the score would have been if the Brewers had played better defense. Two unforced throwing errors by Counsell and Weeks, led to two innings in which pitchers had to get four outs instead of three. However, I was right in suggesting Valez and Braun would have solid games. Valez it a nasty ball into the corner for a triple and played solid defense. Braun went 2 for 4 with a solo shot and a nasty single to left field that Valez barely tracked down to stop Braun from advancing to third.
What's on tap? In another sweep game, the Brewers look to hit a vulnerable lefty pitcher in Barry Zito. Ben Sheets takes the mound for the Crew hoping to build upon a solid outing last Tuesday in the Cubs/Brewers season opener. It's never easy to sweep a team, so don't be surprised to see the Giants play some scrappy baseball. Beware of Ray Durhan tomorrow, he has 4 hits in 12 ABs against Sheets, and may key the Giants to victory if Zito can keep their powerful offense in check. Last note: Counsell, Rivera and Gross played today, allowing starters Jason Kendall, JJ Hardy and Tony Gwynn Jr. were allowed a day of rest, making a rested Brewers offense.