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Milwaukee Brewers 8 Arizona D'Backs 6
It seems like every time Ned Yost tosses out his 'B' sqaud, the Brewers score its fair share of runs. Tuesday night proved to be no different. Joe Dillon, who was in for Rickie Weeks who had a stomach virus, hit his second career homerun and Mike Rivera, who gave Prince Fielder the night off, had two hits and two RBIs in played phenomenal defense at first considering it was the first start of his career. But the story of the night was the pitching, or lack there of. Both Randy Johnson and Jeff Suppan were tossed around for their fair share of runs, but the Big Unit had a considerably hard time, giving up seven runs in 3.2 IP. The Diamondbacks would do their best to rally, but the Brewers defense and bullpen would not yield.
The Brewers offense started early yet again, getting a leadoff walk and two-run homerun from JJ Hardy before an out was even recorded. Corey Hart would single two batters later and steal second and third base before Mike Rivera knocked him in with his first RBI of the night, giving the Brewers the early 3-0 lead. But the Diamondbacks looked poised to repeat Monday nights antics and repay the favor in the bottom half. After a long long out by Stephen Drew, Justin Upton singled to bring up Orlando Hudson who grounded somewhat sharply down the third base line. Hall would set the trend in the game by ranging over and making a jump throw to barely get Hudson. This play would prove to be important as Conor Jackson singled home Upton, followed by another Mark Reynolds single, which would have scored Hudson. But Suppan would get Tracy to pop out to stifle the attack.
Stifling attacks wasn't Randy Johnson's MO On this night though as he allowed three more runs in the second via Joe Dillon's two-run blast, his first of the year, and JJ Hardy's second of the night. Bob Melvin finally saw enough in the fourth when Corey Hart took advantage of a JJ Hardy walk and stolen base and knocked him home.
But the Diamondbacks wouldn't be stifled either. Conor Jackson, Mark Reynolds, Chad Tracy and Chris Young all had multi-hit games, and most of them came in the fourth and fifth innings. The D'Backs would score two in the fourth on a couple of singles and a walk, and would get two more back in the fifth on a Justin Upton walk and a Conor Jackson two-run blast, making the score 7-5, putting the fear into Brewers fans all over. Mitch Stetter and David Riske, however, would quell those fears by pitching two scoreless innings and allowing the Brewers to tack on an insurance run on Mike Rivera's second RBI of the night.
Guillermo Mota would make things interesting though, seeing four batters of his own, all of which hit the ball right on the nose. But a spectacular play by Mike Rivera at first to snag a tailing liner on a diving stop and touch first for a double play, saved Mota from having to get pulled for Torres yet again. Torres would come in, nevertheless, but in the ninth inning and would work around a leadoff HBP to get his 14th save.
Game Changing Play:
Mike Rivera's double play was huge. If he doesn't make the catch, it's a double, possibly a triple down the line, and Chris Young scores while putting the tying run on second or third with only one out. This would have forced Mota out of the game. Instead, the two run lead was preserved for Torres who would work a relatively clean ninth inning.
- In a three run game in the 8th, I thought for sure Yost was going to put Gagne in there and let him have his shot at the eighth inning role, especially because of Mota's recent command issues. Since Shouse has had a few days off, it was probably a good spot for him. If he gets in a pinch the first two batters, you bring in Shouse to fix things. But that wasn't the case. I'm not really sure when Yost is going to use the guy. We saw what happened to Dillard when he wasn't give work and it will be worse for Gagne who has only pitched in a live game twice in about a month. He needs to get in there and quick if there's any chance of him having any value.
- Mitch Stetter has found the strike zone! I'm so happy to see this kid's mental state return to the professional notch. He was so lights out when he got up here the first time an then slid off the deep end. That seems to be what's happening with Carlos Marmol in Chicago right now. Marmol trusts his stuff, but sometimes it's just too lively and he doesn't know where it's going. Stetter's problem is more of an arm slot issue because of how he follows through across the plate rather than on top of it. Nevertheless, another scoreless inning last night thanks to a spectacular catch by Billy Hall. You guys should check it out if you have the chance.
- Matt Cain blanked the Cubs over eight innings last night, allowing only two hits before Brian Wilson almost gave the game away in the top of the ninth. Instead the Brewers took the game back they lost on Monday from the Cubs and the Cardinals, who also lost. The Brewers need to take at least one more to get to .500 on the road trip before heading home to finish up the first half. It's been a wild run so far and as a grade, I would probably give them a C+. Yes the record is there, but the inconsistencies and high expectations make it difficult to grade them any better.
- Props to Mike Rivera, who plays about once every ten days. Jason Kendall is a rare breed as a catcher, and probably a dying breed at that. He has no problem working every day behind the plate and would prefer not to take any days off. As a result Rivera hasn't gotten much playing time, but he's made the most of the time he's had. Rivera was/is not that much of a threat at the plate. Even his AAA numbers are astoundingly awful the last few years, but perhaps the fresh eyes and knees allow him to be pretty reasonable. It's been a good story for me this year.
What's on Tap?:
The Brewers send Seth McClung to the mound tonight, trying to guarantee a series split before taking on Brandon Webb tomorrow afternoon. McClung struggled with his own head and command in his last outing. Let's see if he can bounce back. That's the most important thing for a young starter. The Diamondbacks are countering with Micah Owings who got rocked by the Crew and Manny Parra in his last outing at Miller Park. That day, at least, Owings looked like a pitcher at the plate. We'll see if he does that again and if Mark Reynolds can continue his run this series. He's 5/7 with a walk. Somebody has to stop that guy, or at least slow he and Conor Jackson down.