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MVPs of the Game:
Mike Cameron: 2/4; 2B, 2 RBIs (Tying and Go-Ahead)
Yusmeiro Petit: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 Ks (ND)
The Arizona Diamondbacks were given chance after chance after chance to blow out the Brewers, but found themselves getting two significant outs on the bases that would prove important in the end. Yusmeiro Petit was made to look like an ace all night by a Brewer squad whose known for this kind of thing, while Seth McClung fought himself, the strike zone and a lot of Diamondbacks on the way to 5.1 IP, but only two runs. While the Brewers were quiet the first five innings of the night, they managed to score once in each of the last four innings, taking advantage of a huge error in the top of the ninth. Despite a little threat in the bottom half of the inning, Salomon Torres induced a 5-3 double play to take game three of this series and secure a .500 road trip for the Brewers.
I didn't get to watch too much of the game, but from what I did see, Yusmeiro Petit isn't that great, but the free swinging or perhaps flailing made him look like he was. Don't get me wrong. Petit made some excellent pitches, but the Brewers were neither selective or smart when it came to the stuff Petit was throwing. As a result he would only need 77 pitches to get through six innings. Seth McClung, on the other hand, was a picture of inconsistency, giving up 10 baserunners in his 5.1 innings. But Seth got a little lucky and on top of it has really good stuff.
The luck started early with a rip by Stephen Drew to the right center gap. Drew tried to extend the hit to a triple, but was gunned down by Craig Counsell and Mike Cameron at third. Orlando Hudson followed up with a bunt single, which would have moved Drew to third and brought up Conor Jackson with two on and one out. Instead, McClung would get Jackson to look at a third strike to leave the inning unharmed. An inning later, it would happen again. McClung loaded the bases after giving up two singles and hitting Justin Upton to bring up Miguel Montero. Montero would line somewhat sharply to Craig Counsell, who misread the ball and deflected it to center field, allowing Chad Tracy to score. But the D'Backs got greedy as Chris Young tried to go home as well with no one out and the bases loaded. Counsell would toss him out at the plate to save a run. McClung would get out of the inning without any further harm.
The Diamondbacks would tack on another in the third following Orlando Hudson's second of four hits on the night. He would score on a Chris Young single two batters later to make the game 2-0. Thankfully for the Brewers, McClung would settle down after this only give up one more hit the rest of the night, while Petit kept the Brewers at bay. That was, at least, until the sixth inning. Petit started the inning by hitting Jason Kendall on the shoulder. Nothing like free base runners when you only have one hit on the night. After a sac bunt and a ground out that moved Kendall to third, JJ Hardy singled him in to shrink the lead to one.
The Brewers would do more damage with two outs in the seventh on a Gabe Kapler triple, followed by a Mike Cameron double to tie things up. Things got a little interesting in the bottom half of the inning, however, when Drew and Hudson led off the inning with singles and were sacrificed over by Conor Jackson. The Brewers commentators whined about the sac bunt, but I thought it was an impressive selfless move by Jackson. Melvin trusts his bullpen and for good reason. If they can get just one more run, you have to think you're going to get the victory. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for the D'Backs. Ned Yost ran Brian Shouse out there to replace Villanueva, who promptly induced a sharp ground ball right at Russell Branyan, who threw out Stephen Drew at the plate for the second out. Another ground out to Branyan ended the inning and the threat.
Three pitches later, on an 0-2 count, Rickie Weeks smoked a line drive down the left field line that was just high enough to get over the fence. Fans will cheer for him now I guess. D'Backs' fans, on the other hand, were cheering for Justin Upton, who promptly took the first pitch he saw from David Riske in the bottom half of the inning to the same exact spot as Rickie to tie it up yet again. Riske looked really good, but just found a guy who was looking dead red and drilled it.
Going into the ninth 3-3, the Brewers looked extremely tense. The D'Backs had the benefit of putting their closer on the mound, while the Brewers were stuck with Mota or Gagne if they went to the bottom of the ninth without a lead. Russell Branyan lead off the inning and was thinking homerun the whole time. It proved worthless, as he pulled a ball to first base. But worthless it was not. Mark Reynolds promptly booted the ball to right field and Branyan made it to first safely on the error. After a sacrifice bunt by Gabe Kapler, Mike Cameron worked ahead 2-0 and fouled off three pitches before hitting a ball to the gap in left center, which scored Branyan easily.
After a shallow fly out by Kendall Joe Dillon absolutely destroyed a mistake 412 feet to dead center. Unfortunately, the wall in Arizona is 413 feet and Chris Young made a jumping catch against the wall to save an insurance run. Salomon Torres wouldn't need the run though. He worked around a lead off single and good baserunning by Orlando Hudson to get into scoring position on the fly out from Conor Jackson. After walking Mark Reynolds, Torres got Young to ground to Russell Branyan who touched third and tossed to Prince to end the game.
Game Changing Play:
It's an easy one, Mark Reynolds error. Lyon was pitching well, but Reynolds defense, which has been pretty rough all series, pinned a loss on the closer's lapel.
- The strike zone last night was big, small and everything in between. The consistency of Jeff Nelson's calls was incredibly awful. To his credit though, it wasn't one sided and both teams received their fair share of calls.
- My friends over at BrewersNation mentioned the Stephen Drew play at home in the seventh in which Drew tried to kick the ball from Jason Kendall's glove, which at that point was almost chest high. It was a Bush League play to say the least and I'm surprised there wasn't any barking afterwards. I don't care who it is, you never do something as dangerous as that. Those spikes aren't forgiving at all.
- Brian Shouse has gone unnoticed for this Brewers team for a long time and has been the most consistent reliever for the Crew since arriving two years ago. Yet, somehow, nobody notices. Let's be honest, a 1.84 ERA in 29.1 innings is impressive no matter how many times the splits favor you. Brewers fans need to give this guy some more support and cheers. He's been pretty much lights out and has been pivotal with inherited runners.
- Both the Cubs and Cards struggled last night, so the Brewers simply stayed on pace. And that's all you can really hope for. Just keep winning, so you don't lose ground. At some point you'll be able to leap frog someone. Zambrano comes back on Friday for the Cubs, so perhaps their struggles will be quelled with their ace's return. The Brewers know full well what it's like to lose an ace and fall off the wagon.
- There's discussion going on over in Arizona about the Brewers making a trade with them sometime soon. Eric Byrnes is likely done for the season with a torn hamstring, which he did on Monday after trying to steal third, so the D'Backs will need an outfielder badly. That's something Brewers have plenty of and I wouldn't be surprised to see a trade for someone like Gwynn for a Pena, Qualls or Juan Cruz. If the Brewers were serious about getting a starter, there's a slim chance the Brewers could pry away a Max Scherzer or a Dan Haren away with some of their big time prospects. However, this is big time speculation and using Darron Sutton's television gossip doesn't necessarily mean anything is in the works. Any speculations from the folks around here?
- Ryan Braun got the night off like I suggested, and surprisingly Yost is likely to bench him again this afternoon, which I suggested yesterday as well. God, I love it when I suggest something and it comes true. It doesn't boost my ego, but it's always nice to get something you ask for. Maybe Robin Yount, who was chilling out during BP yesterday, can have a talk with Braunie and teach him how to take an outside slider.
What's on Tap?:
The Brewers finally get to take on an ace this afternoon. I can't remember the last time that has happened, but Brandon Webb is toeing the rubber against Manny Parra. It should be an incredible pitching match up if Parra can avoid the free passes. The series is currently 5-1 in favor of the Brewers since the sweep of AZ in Milwaukee, so the D'Backs may be hell bent on making this season series not too overwhelmingly awful. The game is at 2 CST, so try and keep and eye on it if you get the chance.