Big inning brings Brewers win
MILWAUKEE — Who says the Milwaukee Brewers need home runs to score?
Two days after they put up their first eight-run inning of the season with a string of home runs, the Brewers used small-ball to record another eight-run frame Sunday en route to a 10-3 victory over the Miami Marlins at Miller Park.
“That’s a good day for us,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, whose team remained four games behind NL Central-leading Chicago and 2 1/2 games behind Colorado for a wild-card spot.
Travis Shaw, Jesus Aguilar and Manny Pina each recorded two hits in the breakout inning and Domingo Santana had the biggest of all with a bases-loaded double. None of it would have been possible, however, without a two-out walk by starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff.
The Brewers had taken a 1-0 lead on Dillon Peters (0-2) earlier in the inning on Pina’s RBI single, leaving runners at the corners with nobody out. But Peters recovered by striking out Keon Broxton and Orlando Arcia to bring up Woodruff, who grounded out in his previous at-bat.
“He’s had good at-bats since he’s been up here,” Counsell said. “His first at-bat today, when he fouled off a bunch of 3-2 pitches, that plants a seed in a pitcher’s head that he has to be a little careful. Woodruff took some swings up there. He laid off a 1-1 curveball that really set up the at-bat.”
Woodruff walked, loading the bases and Hernan Perez kept things going when he drove in another run by sliding into first ahead of Derek Dietrich’s throw on a grounder to third.
That left the bases still loaded for Santana, who ripped a first-pitch fastball into the gap in left, clearing the bases and giving Milwaukee a 5-0 lead.
“A bunch of little things got it started and got us going,” Counsell said. “We recovered from the strikeouts by Broxton and Arcia then Hernan got the hustle single and Domingo’s hit broke it open.”
Peters couldn’t get out of the inning, allowing another run on Shaw’s RBI single then giving way to Odrisamer Despaigne, who let two more score before ending the inning by striking out Broxton.
“Walk the pitcher to load them up, obviously, I know better than to bury that two-strike breaking ball,” said Peters, who was charged with eight runs on nine hits and three walks with four strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work.
“I think I was locating pitches all right. I missed a couple of spots. Broke a bat, that bloop, so, I don’t think I was all over the place. A couple of mistake pitches, it seems they have a lot of juice in this lineup. So, they’re going to punish you when you make mistakes. I was pretty confident in my pitch location for the most part today.”
Woodruff was challenged in the bottom of the inning, allowing three runs to score — two of them on a double by Ichiro Suzuki. He got out of the inning without further damage when pinch-hitter Giancarlo Stanton ripped a chopper off the glove of Shaw at third that deflected right at Arcia, who flipped it to first in plenty of time to catch Stanton.
“The game of baseball is so weird,” Woodruff said. “For that to happen and get that out, that was big time for sure.”
But Woodruff going seven innings was even bigger for the Brewers’ bullpen, which had covered 14 innings over the two previous nights.
He retired nine of his last 10 batters, finishing the day with three runs on 10 hits and didn’t walk a batter while striking out five.
“The bullpen’s been used a lot these past few days,” Woodruff said. “It was big to just go out there and give them a rest. Coming into these last few series we know they’re going to be huge so we definitely need them rested up for sure.”
NOTES: Miami Marlins SS Miguel Rojas suffered a strained left shoulder and left the game in the second inning. ... Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton was not in the starting lineup Sunday but appeared as a pinch-hitter and will be back in the starting group again Monday, manager Don Mattingly said. ... Announced attendance at Miller Park Sunday was 24,535, bringing the three-game series total attendance to 68,983. When tickets first went on sale Thursday, the Milwaukee Brewers planned to limit capacity to 56,000 for the entire weekend.