Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Milwaukee Brewers

news

Brewers News

Cain looking forward to KC homecoming

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- There were so many memories packed into his six years in Kansas City that Lorenzo Cain has trouble picking just one.

"You know how many good memories I had in K.C.?" Cain asks, leaning back in a black leather chair in his corner of the Brewers clubhouse.

MILWAUKEE -- There were so many memories packed into his six years in Kansas City that Lorenzo Cain has trouble picking just one.

"You know how many good memories I had in K.C.?" Cain asks, leaning back in a black leather chair in his corner of the Brewers clubhouse.

He ticks through some of them. Two World Series. Sweeping through the first three rounds of the playoffs in 2014 on the way to Kansas City's first Fall Classic berth in three decades. Scoring from first base on Eric Hosmer's single for the first of seven unanswered Royals runs against the Astros in the decisive Game 5 of the '15 American League Division Series. His walk to spark a ninth-inning comeback against Matt Harvey and the Mets in Game 5 of the '15 World Series, a night that would end with the Royals popping champagne.

There are too many highlights, too many private moments with teammates, too many good memories with long-suffering Royals fans, to choose one, he says.

Then one flashes into his mind.

"That parade," Cain said. "I've never seen so many people in one place in my life. Just blue everywhere. There were a lot of moments, but that parade was unreal."

*****

Cain doesn't have much to say about the way it ended. He knew "eventually, we were going to have to move on" in Kansas City, where the Royals and Brewers will meet Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium for the first of two Interleague games.

"I can't wait to see LoLo," said Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. "That's a brother, you know. That's a guy we miss and we love."

The Royals were headed in a different direction and let Cain go in free agency without making an offer. After Cain signed with the Brewers for five years and $80 million in January, he received a congratulatory text message from Royals general manager Dayton Moore. It was a reminder, Cain said in Spring Training, that baseball is business.

In Milwaukee, Cain returned to the organization that made him a 17th-round Draft pick in 2004, when he had played baseball for barely three years. Cain was focused on basketball until his sophomore year of high school in Florida.

In 2010, when he made it to the Major Leagues with the Brewers, he was still learning lessons.

Longtime Brewers coach Ed Sedar offered an example. One day in Houston -- it must have been Sept. 15, from the way Sedar tells the story -- he telephoned Cain's hotel room at about 10:30 a.m.

Sedar recalls the conversation like this:

Sedar: "Hey, 'Lo,' what you doing?"

Cain: "Hey, Eddie! I'm just sitting back, watching TV in bed. What are you doing?"

Sedar: "I'm watching the team stretch."

Cain: "We've got a day game?!? I've got to go, Eddie!"

Sedar has told that story a lot since Cain returned, and it always gets a laugh. Ryan Braun remembers it.

"And it still happens," Braun said over the weekend. "I guarantee you, he had no idea what time the game was tonight. How he made it this far is amazing."

Braun was kidding, of course. He knows how Cain got this far. Braun has watched Cain compile a .303/.400/.461 slash line in the first 90 plate appearances of his second stint with the Brewers while playing a terrific center field.

It was on that promise that the Royals acquired Cain, along with young shortstop Alcides Escobar and pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi from the Brewers in December 2010 for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt.

The trade worked for both teams. The Brewers set a franchise record with 96 regular-season wins in 2011 and made it to the National League Championship Series. The Royals added Cain and Escobar to a core of developing players that would go even farther.

"We grew up playing in this organization together," Moustakas said. "I can't wait to see him. I'm excited for him. I'm excited for what he got in the offseason. To go back to where he was originally from was pretty cool. It's just an awesome thing to be able to come back here, for him."

"It will be good to see him," said Royals catcher Drew Butera. "He's a good friend to all of us. When he steps between the lines, we'll try to beat him any way we can. But it will be good to see him, of course."

Cain said he wanted Royals fans to know he is genuinely thankful for their patience in the tough seasons leading up to those World Series years, and that he is looking forward to seeing them again.

"I expect that they'll show me some love," he said. "It was a good six-year run over there. Those fans always supported us and poured their hearts out to us when we played. I'm just happy we were able to give it back by winning that World Series. Those were good times."

Now he wants the same for Milwaukee.

"That's why I came here," Cain said. "That's a feeling you always remember. I've felt that feeling and I have a World Series ring to prove it. I want to share that feeling with everybody here."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Lorenzo Cain

Yelich leads Crew to 6th straight win, sweep

Special to MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Christian Yelich put the exclamation point on the Brewers' first four-game sweep at home in almost a decade at the expense of his former team.

Yelich, who hit 39 homers over the two previous seasons with the Marlins, hit the first of his career against Miami on Sunday at Miller Park, helping the Brewers to their sixth straight win and a sweep with a 4-2 victory.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- Christian Yelich put the exclamation point on the Brewers' first four-game sweep at home in almost a decade at the expense of his former team.

Yelich, who hit 39 homers over the two previous seasons with the Marlins, hit the first of his career against Miami on Sunday at Miller Park, helping the Brewers to their sixth straight win and a sweep with a 4-2 victory.

View Full Game Coverage

It was the Brewers' first four-game sweep at Miller Park since August 2008 against the Nationals.

"It's great momentum heading into this [nine-game] road trip, kind of a long one coming up," Yelich said. "It was an important homestand for us, and we were able to come home and play really well."

Marlins starter Caleb Smith retired the first nine he faced, before Lorenzo Cain lined a single to right field to lead off the fourth. Yelich, activated off the disabled list Tuesday (right oblique strain), then drove a 2-1 pitch over the wall in center field.

"It was supposed to be a two-seam [fastball] in, and it was just middle of the plate, down in the zone," Smith said. "He put a good swing on it. That's really the pitch that cost us the lead."

Yelich's drive had an exit velocity of 111.3 mph, his fourth-hardest-hit homer of the Statcast™ era, and a launch angle of 20 degrees. The Brewers' outfielder was traded to Milwaukee in January for four prospects, including outfielder Lewis Brinson, who hit three home runs in the first three games for the Marlins in the series.

"I felt good in the work I did leading up to coming off the DL," Yelich said. "I felt prepared. I felt ready. At that point, you're just confident that you can go out and perform the way that you have to."

Cain and Yelich had the only two hits Milwaukee registered against Smith, who struck out a career-high 10 with no walks in six innings. The Brewers added an unearned run in the seventh when first baseman Justin Bour misplayed Eric Thames' pinch-hit grounder with the bases loaded. Jesus Aguilar drove in the Brewers' fourth run with a single in the eighth inning.

Video: MIA@MIL: Aguilar plates Cain with line-drive single

Junior Guerra gave up an unearned run in the first but then settled in. He pitched into the sixth inning, when he left with the bases loaded and none out. Jeremy Jeffress relieved and retired the next three hitters to escape the jam. Josh Hader struck out four and registered his third two-inning save of the season.

Video: MIA@MIL: Guerra starts the game with a strikeout

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jeffress escapes trouble: Jeffress didn't get a decision or save, but he might have recorded the three most crucial outs of the game. With the Brewers up 2-1 in the sixth, Miami loaded the bases with no outs against Guerra on singles by J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro and a walk to Bour. Jeffress came in and struck out Brian Anderson, retired J.B. Shuck on a popup in foul territory and struck out Brinson.

"Those are those big outs," Jeffress said. "Those are the things we live for, definitely the things I live for."

Video: MIA@MIL: Jeffress escapes a bases-loaded jam in 6th

"Today's sixth inning by [Jeffress] was absolutely incredible," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "You can't do any better than that. I know we make a big deal about the ninth inning, or whatever the inning is, but that was the game. I think that was the case today, where that was the ballgame, and he delivered. He delivered big time."

Video: MIA@MIL: Counsell on bullpen?s success in 4-2 win

Bour's blunder: The Brewers benefited from a baserunning mistake by Bour. Miami pulled within 3-2 with an unearned run in the eighth. With one out, Anderson flied out to center, but Bour lost track of the outs and continued on toward third and was easily doubled off first.

Video: MIA@MIL: Cain makes catch in center, doubles up Bour

SOUND SMART
Prior to Hader, the last Brewers reliever with three two-inning saves in a season was Mike DeJean in 2002.

"This is definitely a fun little thing going on" said Hader, who is helping offset the loss of All-Star closer Corey Knebel, who went down on April 5 with a strained right hamstring. "It's always nice to get outs. It's always nice to finish a game with a win, high-fives and all that. It's a different role, but it's a good one for me."

Video: MIA@MIL: Hader retires Maybin to record six-out save

UP NEXT
After an off-day Monday, the Brewers open a nine-game road trip Tuesday with the first of two games at Kansas City. Zach Davies, who has never faced the Royals, starts the opener at 7:15 p.m. CT. Davies allowed just three hits over 6 1/3 innings in his last start, a 2-0 victory over the Reds. Ian Kennedy will get the start for Kansas City.

Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Brewers, Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress, Christian Yelich

Former Brewers coach, broadcaster Nelson dies

Worked for Brewers in numerous capacities; stole 119 bases for Rangers from 1972-74
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Davey Nelson, a speedy infielder who made the 1973 American League All-Star team with the Rangers and had worked as a coach and broadcaster with the Brewers since 2001, died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 73.

"Davey took every opportunity to turn a casual introduction into a lifelong relationship, and his legacy will live on in the positive impact he had on the lives of so many people," said Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger. "Davey's love of life and commitment to helping those in need were second to none, and we are so grateful for the time that we had with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of those who loved him."

MILWAUKEE -- Davey Nelson, a speedy infielder who made the 1973 American League All-Star team with the Rangers and had worked as a coach and broadcaster with the Brewers since 2001, died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 73.

"Davey took every opportunity to turn a casual introduction into a lifelong relationship, and his legacy will live on in the positive impact he had on the lives of so many people," said Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger. "Davey's love of life and commitment to helping those in need were second to none, and we are so grateful for the time that we had with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of those who loved him."

Born in Fort Sill, Okla., and raised in California, Nelson played parts of 10 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Indians, Senators/Rangers and Royals before embarking on a second career in coaching and broadcasting that spanned nearly four decades with the White Sox, Expos, A's, Indians and Brewers.

Nelson scored the Washington Senators' final run at RFK Stadium and moved with the franchise to Texas in 1972, stealing 51 bases that season. He made the All-Star team in '73, when he stole 43 more bags and batted .286.

"What a great guy," said Rangers broadcaster and former teammate Tom Grieve. "I've known Dave since I first began playing baseball. My first Major League Spring Training in Pompano Beach, [Fla.], the first person I met was Dave Nelson. He had a red Corvette, and he asked me out to dinner. … He was one of those people you could say that everybody liked him."

"He was like a father to me," former Indians outfielder Kenny Lofton tweeted. "Great man! Great teacher of the game! He will be missed!" 

Tweet from @Indians: Davey Nelson was a great presence in our organization for years as a player ('68-'69), coach ('92-'97) and broadcaster ('98-'99). We will miss him and our thoughts are with his family. pic.twitter.com/kbD69fZME7

Nelson had worked for the Brewers since 2001, first as a Minor League instructor, then as manager Ned Yost's first-base coach for four seasons from 2003-06 before moving to the front office.

Nelson more recently was the Brewers' director of alumni relations and an analyst for FOX Sports Wisconsin. He stepped away from that role last year as his illness worsened, but he visited Miller Park at the end of the regular season to meet with colleagues, coaches and players.

"He has so many people he doesn't just call friend, but best friend," said FS Wisconsin's Craig Coshun, one of several friends and colleagues who helped care for Nelson in recent months. "He's got a magic to him, for sure. That's what I'm going to miss most about hanging around with him."

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: Davey Nelson did not have relatives in Milwaukee, so his @fswisconsin and @Brewers family stepped up during chemotherapy. @CraigCoshun, Tyler and Monica Barnes, Katina Shaw and countless others provided time, transportation and love when Davey needed them most. pic.twitter.com/pkEnkdTtLw

Nelson had a Hall of Fame rolodex and a love of good wine. So when he began having trouble swallowing last August, he sought medical attention. The diagnosis was dire: Stage 4 liver cancer that had already spread to his esophagus. 

Nelson had no family in the Milwaukee area, so friends became his support system. A longtime pal of Nelson's, Jamie Yeretsky -- along with Coshun, Brewers executive Tyler Barnes and his wife, Monica, senior director of community relations Katina Shaw and others -- helped care for Nelson over the past eight months. They took him to appointments, including chemotherapy treatments. 

"He would sit down for a treatment, and three hours later, the time has flown by because he's telling stories and asking about other friends and members of your family," said Barnes. "It's hard to put this into words, but you felt like you were coming away from a really, really tough time with an enriching experience. 

"I've never been through anything like that before. Somebody so selfless, with such a huge heart, such a fighter, taking these really difficult times and turning them into incredible experiences." 

Nelson began chemo near the end of the 2017 baseball season, and initially, it worked. He endured few side effects, and he regained his sense of taste. For a few months, life was relatively normal. 

"He knew it wasn't going to last forever, but he was the type of person who lived the day he was blessed with," Coshun said. "He cried at the right times. We all did, and I think that's important to do."

On Thursday night, Nelson was moved into hospice care. Coshun and his wife, Pam, visited on Saturday morning, among the first of a stream of visitors that included Bob Uecker and manager Craig Counsell, as well as Nelson's son and other members of his family. 

Barnes returned Sunday from a trip to Phoenix, where the Brewers' Spring Training site is undergoing a renovation, and he found Nelson was fading. At about the same time, Coshun was writing a script for Nelson's obituary. Coshun recorded the voiceover on Monday morning, and the piece, edited by FS Wisconsin producer Trevor Fleck, will air before Tuesday's Royals-Brewers game.

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: Statement from the co-founder of Open Arms Home for Children in South Africa. The late Davey Nelson was a board member and benefactor, and nothing brought him more joy than helping these kids. pic.twitter.com/4eNhCLS1oP

There will not be a formal memorial service, but a private celebration of Nelson's life will be held later this spring. In lieu of flowers, the Brewers suggest contributions to Open Arms Home for Children in South Africa, an organization for children orphaned by AIDS. Nelson raised funds for the home with an annual golf tournament, and he served on the board of directors. Contributions can be made online at openarmshome.com.

Barnes visited Open Arms with Nelson in 2014. 

"It's now our obligation to make sure this home continues to thrive," Barnes said. "That was one of Davey's great passions, and one of his wishes as he was getting sick. He wanted to make sure we would take care of those kids. We are going to do that."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. MLB.com's TR Sullivan contributed to this report.

Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers

Arcia (ankle) 'headed in the right direction'

Pina could return Tuesday vs. Royals; Counsell reflects on Aguilar's walk-off
Special to MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Shortstop Orlando Arcia, who injured his right ankle in the eighth inning of the Brewers' win over the Marlins on Friday night, was scheduled to run before Sunday's series finale at Miller Park to determine if he needs to go on the disabled list, but manager Craig Counsell sounded optimistic that wouldn't be necessary.

X-rays were negative after Arcia rolled his ankle after retreating back to first base following an eighth-inning single. He fractured the same ankle in 2012 and missed the entire Minor League season.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- Shortstop Orlando Arcia, who injured his right ankle in the eighth inning of the Brewers' win over the Marlins on Friday night, was scheduled to run before Sunday's series finale at Miller Park to determine if he needs to go on the disabled list, but manager Craig Counsell sounded optimistic that wouldn't be necessary.

X-rays were negative after Arcia rolled his ankle after retreating back to first base following an eighth-inning single. He fractured the same ankle in 2012 and missed the entire Minor League season.

View Full Game Coverage

"He's doing good," Counsell said. "We're putting him through a pretty good test today, so that's a good sign. We'll run him around today and then check out tomorrow. If he passes this, then he'll be ready to go on Tuesday [against the Royals].

"This is important today, what happens out here. But I think we're headed in the right direction."

Video: MIA@MIL: Arcia singles, leaves game with injury

Catcher Manny Pina, on the DL since April 13 with a right calf strain, was also slated to run on Sunday and is likely to rejoin the team on the upcoming nine-game road trip, which begins Tuesday at Kansas City.

With Pina out and veteran Stephen Vogt on the DL with a right shoulder strain, Jett Bandy has been doing the bulk of the catching, backed up by rookie Jacob Nottingham, who is the Brewers' No. 27 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

"He passed a pretty big test on Friday," Counsell said of Pina. "He'll run again one last time today, so all signs are pointing good for him. … I'd say he's definitely possible for Tuesday.

Appreciating Aguilar's walk-off
Counsell said Jesus Aguilar's 13-pitch walk-off home run in the ninth inning off Marlins reliever Junichi Tazawa on Saturday night should be examined in its entirety.

"It was one of those at-bats where the highlights don't do it justice," Counsell said. "You have to watch the whole at-bat to really gain an appreciation. And I know in today's day and age, we don't have time to play that whole at-bat really, but you have to watch the whole at-bat to really appreciate how it builds up to that point. I think it's the beautiful thing about the game and the at-bat."

Video: MIA@MIL: Aguilar finishes 13-pitch at-bat with homer

Aguilar fouled off seven two-strike pitches before launching his game-winner.

"Tazawa made very good pitches. I think that's what probably impressed me the most," Counsell said. "He made incredible pitches that Jesus got his bat on and somehow fouled off.

"I think we were expecting Jesus to put the ball in play. You're in such a battle mode, and he was just trying to put the ball in play, and then he hits the ball 400 feet over the fence. That was the next kind of shock, I think, to the whole thing."

Brewers continue tree-planting partnership
Since 2011, the team has partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in Root, Root, Root for the Brewers, an annual program that distributes landscape trees to various entities in the community.

Previous recipients of the landscape trees include the Hank Aaron Trail (a paved bike path that runs behind Miller Park), Milwaukee County Parks, the nearby Veterans Administration grounds and several neighboring municipalities.

Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Brewers, Jesus Aguilar, Orlando Arcia, Manny Pina

Bullpen of the Week: Brewers

Hader converts pair of multi-inning saves during win streak
MLB.com

After stumbling in Monday's opener against the Reds -- reliever Oliver Drake gave up six runs in the sixth inning -- the Brewers' pitching staff rebounded to help Milwaukee wrap the week with six consecutive wins against Cincinnati and Miami, including three shutouts.

The Brewers' relief unit was a major part of that success, yielding just one unearned run during the winning streak and cementing its status as MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford.

After stumbling in Monday's opener against the Reds -- reliever Oliver Drake gave up six runs in the sixth inning -- the Brewers' pitching staff rebounded to help Milwaukee wrap the week with six consecutive wins against Cincinnati and Miami, including three shutouts.

The Brewers' relief unit was a major part of that success, yielding just one unearned run during the winning streak and cementing its status as MLB Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford.

As part of the Hartford Prevailing Moments program, each Monday throughout the 2018 season, MLB.com is honoring the "Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford." An industry-wide panel of MLB experts, including legendary stats guru Bill James, constructed a metric based on James' widely renowned game-score formula, to provide a weekly measurement of team-bullpen performance.

Here's how the Bullpen Rating System is compiled for each week. For reference, a weekly score of 100 is considered outstanding:

• Add 1.5 points for each out recorded
• Add 1.5 points for each strikeout
• Add 5 points for a save
• Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed
• Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed
• Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed
• Subtract 1 point for each walk
• Subtract 5 points for a blown save

Milwaukee won the week with 103.5 points, totaling 74 outs, 29 strikeouts, 14 hits, eight runs (seven earned), eight walks and three saves. Seven of the eight runs allowed came in Monday's defeat vs. the Reds.

Although he was in the mix for a rotation spot, Josh Hader, who entered last season as the Brewers' top pitching prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, has excelled in his relief role. He tossed five innings over the last week, converting two multi-inning saves and allowing just one unearned run. He struck out seven batters against one walk.

Video: CIN@MIL: Hader retires Peraza for two-inning save

The unexpected: The Brewers fell into an early deficit against the Marlins on Saturday as starter Brent Suter gave up a season-high five runs -- including a three-run homer by Miami's Lewis Brinson -- in five innings of work. They trailed, 5-4, when Jacob Barnes took over in the sixth inning.

How they prevailed: After the Marlins notched eight hits and a walk against Suter, the Brewers' bullpen shut down Miami's momentum as Barnes, Hader, Matt Albers and Jeremy Jeffress combined to pitch four scoreless frames. The quartet yielded just one hit and struck out four batters.

"It was really effective work by the bullpen," Suter said. "They're just continuing to be a unit out there. Those are guys who pitch for each other. There's a lot of love out there in the bullpen. What a great win to be a part of."

Milwaukee won the week by a 17-point margin over the Yankees (86.5) in the Bullpen Rating System. The Phillies weren't far behind with 84 points.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Milwaukee Brewers

Crew wins on Aguilar walk-off HR after epic AB

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Jesus Aguilar's epic at-bat leading off the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday was so long, Brewers manager Craig Counsell almost forgot it began with two strikes.

And it was so good, with Aguilar flicking seven two-strike fouls before crushing the 13th pitch from Marlins reliever Junichi Tazawa for a walk-off home run and a 6-5 Brewers win at Miller Park, that Aguilar could proudly say he'd never had a better at-bat.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- Jesus Aguilar's epic at-bat leading off the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday was so long, Brewers manager Craig Counsell almost forgot it began with two strikes.

And it was so good, with Aguilar flicking seven two-strike fouls before crushing the 13th pitch from Marlins reliever Junichi Tazawa for a walk-off home run and a 6-5 Brewers win at Miller Park, that Aguilar could proudly say he'd never had a better at-bat.

View Full Game Coverage

"Not even in Nintendo," Aguilar said, adding in English, "I feel like a superstar right now."

Said Counsell: "I've never seen anything better than that."

Video: MIA@MIL: Counsell discusses Aguilar, walk-off victory

Maybe that hyperbole was warranted after a player who didn't enter the game until a double-switch in the top of the ninth inning delivered baseball's most exhausting walk-off home run in 21 years. The last player to work that hard for a walk-off homer was Garret Anderson of the Angels, who hit a three-run shot on the 13th pitch to beat the Twins on Sept. 15, 1997.

Before Aguilar connected, Travis Shaw homered for the second straight day, walked twice and scored three runs, including the tying tally with two outs in the eighth inning on a stunning Marlins misplay. The Brewers' victory was their fifth in a row.

Video: MIA@MIL: Shaw lifts a solo homer to left-center

Aguilar had been warm for a while, since he'd been told to be ready to pinch-hit for Brewers starter Brent Suter earlier in the game. That opportunity never came, so Aguilar waited while the Brewers chipped away at a 4-0 deficit while four relievers pitched four more scoreless innings.

It was the Brewers' third walk-off win this season and their second walk-off homer. Ryan Braun beat the Cardinals with one on April 3.

"I knew he threw a lot of offspeed, so I was just trying to stay back on it," Aguilar said. "At the end, in my mind I knew it was a battle between me and him. I just tried to get a pitch I could drive."

Video: MIA@MIL: Aguilar talks about his walk-off home run

He got it.

"It's crazy what he continues to do, coming off the bench like that," Shaw said. "That's an amazing at-bat. It was a bomb, too. He said he was looking for something else and then just reacted to that pitch. I mean, to react and hit a ball like that is pretty good"

Aguilar nearly missed the Brewers' Opening Day cut because they have so many first basemen, especially with Braun starting the season as an option there. Instead, Aguilar leads the team in 35 plate appearances with a .490 weighted on-base average and 212 weighted runs created plus. The home run was his first this season after he hit 16 in 279 at-bats a year ago.

"This is what he's shown he has the ability to do," Counsell said. "Often his days are just one at-bat. I think he's become a force off the bench as a pinch-hitter in the National League. I don't know a guy around the league who's more dangerous."

Jacob Barnes, Josh Hader, Matt Albers and Jeremy Jeffress each pitched a scoreless inning to give the Brewers offense a chance to stage a comeback after Lewis Brinson's third home run of the series, a three-run shot off Suter, helped Miami take a 4-0 lead in the second inning. Milwaukee's relievers haven't allowed a run in their last 17 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and three walks with 21 strikeouts during the streak.

"It was really effective work by the bullpen," Suter said. "They're just continuing to be a unit out there. Those are guys who pitch for each other. There's a lot of love out there in the bullpen. What a great win to be a part of."

Video: MIA@MIL: Suter K's Anderson to end the inning

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The Brewers faced a 5-4 deficit in the eighth when Shaw worked a two out walk from Kyle Barraclough, giving Shaw 12 walks this season to tie Lorenzo Cain's team lead. Eric Thames followed with another free pass before Eric Sogard hit a popup to shallow left field that was so playable, Counsell looked down at his lineup card to prepare for the next inning. Several Marlins converged, including left fielder Derek Dietrich, who missed it. Shaw scored, but Thames was out at the plate thanks to a strong throw from former Brewers infielder Yadiel Rivera to catcher Bryan Holaday, who made a terrific play to tag Thames on the leg before he could score the go-ahead run.

"I bet if that happens 100 times, [Dietrich] catches it 99 times," Shaw said. "It's so high, too, that multiple people have an opportunity at it. You would never guess that."

Video: MIA@MIL: Shaw scores the tying run on fielding error

Said Thames: "It was just weird. I saw Dietrich [stagger], and then I almost missed the bag. Then I was going and I had no idea where the ball was. Usually, on a base hit, you know where the ball was and you know you're going to have to get dirty, hook slide, something like that. I had no idea."

Dietrich initially was charged with an error before the official scorer changed the play to a double and RBI for Sogard. Dietrich took the blame.

"I called the ball and I dropped it," Dietrich said. "That one's on me. Unfortunately, that [stinks] because [Marlins starter Jose Urena] pitched well and [Barraclough] did his job so that one's on me."

SOUND SMART
The Brewers cut the deficit to 4-3 by scoring two runs in a fourth-inning rally that began with Ryan Braun's double to center field. It was Braun's 700th career extra-base hit, tying him with Bobby Bonds for 188th all time, and his next targets include some former Brewers. Dante Bichette (and former Reds great George Foster) collected 702 extra-base hits, and Cecil Cooper had 703. Milwaukee Braves and Brewers legend Hank Aaron is the all-time leader, of course, with 1,477 extra-base hits.

HE SAID IT
"We'll go half and half." -- Aguilar, joking about sharing a new Toyota Highlander with one lucky Brewers fan after he nearly hit the vehicle perched above Miller Park's outfield concourse. If a Brewers player hits that truck on the fly, a fan wins it, courtesy of Wisconsin Toyota Dealers. But a Brewers spokesperson said they had video evidence and an eye witness saying Aguilar missed by a few feet.

Video: MIA@MIL: Aguilar finishes 13-pitch at-bat with homer

UP NEXT
Junior Guerra has a 0.82 ERA in two excellent starts following a promotion from Triple-A Colorado Springs, and will try to make it three in a row in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. CT series finale against the Marlins. Hitters are 5-for-36 (.139) against Guerra in his first two starts, including a no-decision against the Reds on Tuesday in which Guerra allowed one hit in 5 2/3 innings. Caleb Smith will start for Miami.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Jesus Aguilar

Knebel throws first 'pen since hamstring injury

Logan nears rehab assignment; Arcia sits after ankle causes exit
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers closer Corey Knebel was back pitching on a mound Saturday sooner than expected, but the club will be especially cautious during this phase of his comeback from a left hamstring injury, manager Craig Counsell said.

"He will throw more bullpens because this is where the injury happened," said Counsell, referencing Knebel going down after throwing a pitch against the Cubs on April 5. "We'll go a little slower in this segment of it.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers closer Corey Knebel was back pitching on a mound Saturday sooner than expected, but the club will be especially cautious during this phase of his comeback from a left hamstring injury, manager Craig Counsell said.

"He will throw more bullpens because this is where the injury happened," said Counsell, referencing Knebel going down after throwing a pitch against the Cubs on April 5. "We'll go a little slower in this segment of it.

View Full Game Coverage

"But he saw the doctor [Friday] and the doctor green-lighted him throwing on the mound. So progress has been great so far."

Asked whether Knebel's mound session went well, Counsell said, "He walked off with a big smile, so, yeah."

Video: CHC@MIL: Knebel exits game with apparent leg injury

Knebel threw one of two notable bullpen sessions Saturday. Left-hander Boone Logan threw 25 pitches, including some sliders, in the other, his second 'pen since suffering a left triceps strain in Spring Training. The next step is to face hitters on Tuesday in a simulated game.

"If that goes well, ship me out," Logan said.

Out for a Minor League rehab assignment, that is. The Brewers will probably test Logan in back-to-back outings in the Minors, which means Logan is likely to make at least 3-4 appearances before reinstatement to the Major League roster is in play.

Counsell didn't reveal a firm timetable for either Knebel or Logan returning to active duty for the Brewers.

Arcia sits
Shortstop Orlando Arcia said he could play if needed, but he was held out of batting practice and the starting lineup a day after rolling his ankle while hustling back to first base after an eighth-inning single in Friday's win over the Marlins.

Video: MIA@MIL: Arcia singles, leaves game with injury

With an off-day coming Monday before the Brewers begin a three-city road trip in Kansas City, Arcia might find himself on the bench again for Sunday's series finale against Miami.

"I don't think we're completely out of the woods yet," Counsell said. "We'll give him at least today, and then we'll see how he's doing going into that off-day. … We're going to give it a day or two and see how he progresses. Is he going to be ready for the Kansas City series? That's what we'd say."

Arcia was optimistic he wouldn't have to wait that long.

"I'm ready to play," he said. "That's the manager's decision. If it were up to me, I would play [Sunday], but the manager makes the decision."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Corey Knebel

Woodruff among top prospect performers

Braves right-hander fires six dominant frames
MLB.com @GoldenSombrero

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Saturday.

Kyle Wright had shown flashes of excellence early in his first Double-A campaign before putting it all together Saturday night in his finest performance as a pro.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Saturday.

Kyle Wright had shown flashes of excellence early in his first Double-A campaign before putting it all together Saturday night in his finest performance as a pro.

Wright, Atlanta's No. 2 prospect (No. 30 overall), turned in a career-long outing, tossing six-plus scoreless innings of one-hit ball to lead Double-A Mississippi past Mobile, 3-1. He issued two walks and struck out four, throwing 52 of his 84 pitches for strikes.

The two-out hit Wright allowed in the first inning was the only real blemish in his performance. He proceeded to retire 15 of the next 16 batters before departing the game in the seventh inning, after he had issued a leadoff walk to Matt Thaiss (Angels' No. 9). A pair of M-Braves relievers handled the final three innings to help secure Wright's first win at the Double-A level.

Wright retires 15 of 16 batters

The 2017 first-rounder (No. 5 overall pick) scuffled in his previous turn, allowing four earned runs in just one inning after posting 7 2/3 scoreless frames across his first two M-Braves starts. Overall, Wright, 22, owns a 2.45 ERA on the season, with 14 strikeouts and nine walks in 14 2/3 innings.

Austin Riley (Braves' No. 8, No. 97 overall) did his part to support Wright's cause by going 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. The 21-year-old third baseman is already up to eight doubles this season in 16 games, during which he's hitting .386/.435/.754 with 11 runs scored and 14 RBIs.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Saturday

No. 15 overall prospect Mitch Keller (Pirates' No. 1) completed a season-high seven innings to pick up his second win for Double-A Altoona. The 22-year-old right-hander wasn't at his sharpest, allowing three earned runs on six hits and three walks, though he still struck out seven and generated another eight outs on the ground. Jason Martin (No. 22) delivered his first home run, a two-run shot in the second inning, and later added a double to finish the game 3-for-4 with three runs.

No. 20 overall prospect Royce Lewis (Twins' No. 1) lifted his average from .222 to .323 for Class A Cedar Rapids behind a perfect 4-for-4 performance. The four hits, all singles, matched the 2017 No. 1 overall Draft pick's career-high mark. He also scored two runs and swiped his second base as the Kernels fell to Kane County, 9-2.

Lewis notches fourth hit

No. 25 overall prospect Brendan McKay (Rays' No. 3) fired four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and no walks with seven strikeouts in a no-decision for Class A Bowling Green. He threw 84.4 percent of his pitches (38 of 45) for strikes in the dominant performance and now owns a 2.00 ERA with 15 strikeouts and four hits allowed in nine innings (three starts) this season. At the plate, meanwhile, the two-way star is hitting .346/.546/.385 with 10 RBIs and an absurd 13-to-3 walk-to-strikeout ratio.

• There's no stopping No. 29 overall prospect Juan Soto. The Nationals' No. 2 prospect belted his fifth home run, a three-run shot, as well as his third triple as he recorded multiple hits for the fourth time in five games for Class A Hagerstown. Through 15 games, the 19-year-old outfielder is slashing .389/.507/.870 with 13 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs and more walks (15) than strikeouts (11).

Soto crushes three-run homer

No. 74 overall prospect Jon Duplantier (D-backs' No. 1) worked five strong innings as he picked up the win for Jackson in his season debut. It also marked the Double-A debut for the 23-year-old righty, who allowed two earned runs on four hits and one walk while striking out six. The 2017 MLB Pipeline Pitcher of the Year had opened the season on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

Duplantier fans six in AA debut

No. 96 overall prospect Brandon Woodruff (Brewers' No. 3) allowed just one earned run while completing at least five innings for a third straight start for Triple-A Colorado Springs. The 25-year-old righty tallied a season-high seven strikeouts while scattering three hits with one walk in five innings. He's pitched to a 1.65 ERA in 16 1/3 innings since being demoted to Triple-A on April 7.

• After giving up a combined 19 hits in his previous two starts, Marlins No. 13 prospect Zac Gallen allowed just four hits in seven scoreless innings Saturday as Triple-A New Orleans defeated Oklahoma City, 2-0. The 22-year-old righty compiled five strikeouts against three walks in the outing while finding the strike zone with 58 of his 91 pitches. Gallen has completed at least six innings in three of his four starts this season.

Gallen strikes out five

Padres No. 11 prospect Esteury Ruiz and Tirso Ornelas (No. 14) both connected on their second home run of 2018 and collected three hits as Class A Fort Wayne defeated Dayton, 8-2. Ruiz, 19, hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning before finishing 3-for-5, while the 18-year-old Ornelas finished 3-for-4 after hitting a three-run homer in his first at-bat. Leadoff man Jeisson Rosario (No. 18) paced the TinCaps with three runs as he improved his average to .310 with his second multi-hit game in as many days.

Pirates No. 16 prospect Calvin Mitchell boosted his average to .371 with his fourth straight multi-hit game for Class A West Virginia. The 2017 second-rounder tallied his third triple this season before finishing with four hits and four RBIs, both matching his career bests. Braeden Ogle (No. 28) paced the Power on the mound, tossing six innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts in the 13-8 victory. He allowed six hits and walked three, throwing 54 of his 87 pitches for strikes in the outing.

Red Sox No. 15 prospect Jalen Beeks piled up 10 strikeouts in six scoreless innings as Triple-A Pawtucket blanked Gwinnett, 6-0. The 24-year-old left-hander allowed two hits, two walks and hit one batter while throwing 59 of his 98 pitches for strikes. Beeks has dominated early this season, posting a 0.64 ERA with 26 strikeouts and five walks in 14 innings (three starts).

Beeks strikes out 10

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Brewers go 3B, HR, HR on 3 pitches in victory

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Three pitches, three batters, and another good night's sleep for Brewers hitting coach Darnell Coles.

Coles had been restless amid the Brewers' sluggish start at the plate, but scoring 20 runs in two games should help. After a 12-run outburst in Thursday's series opener against Miami, Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun and Travis Shaw connected for RBI hits on consecutive pitches in the fourth inning Friday to fuel Jhoulys Chacin's first Brewers win, 8-0 over the Marlins at Miller Park.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- Three pitches, three batters, and another good night's sleep for Brewers hitting coach Darnell Coles.

Coles had been restless amid the Brewers' sluggish start at the plate, but scoring 20 runs in two games should help. After a 12-run outburst in Thursday's series opener against Miami, Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun and Travis Shaw connected for RBI hits on consecutive pitches in the fourth inning Friday to fuel Jhoulys Chacin's first Brewers win, 8-0 over the Marlins at Miller Park.

View Full Game Coverage

It was the Brewers' fourth straight victory. Three have been shutouts.

"I think everything is going to start getting together for us," Chacin said. "We know the offense we have."

Video: MIA@MIL: Chacin goes six scoreless innings, K's five

That offense struck quickly against Marlins right-hander Trevor Richards. Lorenzo Cain extended the fourth inning with a two-out walk and Yelich hit the next pitch for an RBI triple before Braun and Shaw smashed back-to-back first-pitch home runs.

In a span of three pitches, all with two outs, a 1-0 Brewers lead had grown to 5-0. It would be 6-0 before the inning was over, and when the game was over, the Brewers had won consecutive games by at least an eight-run margin for the first time since July 31-Aug. 1, 2012.

That made things more comfortable for Chacin, who entered his fifth Brewers start with a 5.60 ERA but pitched six scoreless innings for the win. Dan Jennings, Taylor Williams and Oliver Drake completed the shutout, with Drake coming in with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth to engineer an escape.

Asked about the offense, Brewers manager Craig Counsell first praised the pitching.

"I don't mean to contradict you," Counsell said, "but I think it's important when we throw shutouts to [say] we pitched a heck of a game. The offense, again, we put pressure on the starting pitcher, and it started with Cain and Yelich and their at-bats."

Video: MIA@MIL: Williams strikes out Bour, side in 8th

Counsell's first five hitters -- Cain, Yelich, Braun, Shaw and Eric Thames -- combined to reach safely 16 times while scoring all eight runs. Those five also combined for seven of the Brewers' season-high eight walks. Cain, Yelich and Braun scored two runs apiece, while Shaw finished with three hits and two RBIs.

"[Cain's] at-bat in the fourth inning, it was two outs, nobody on. He's down in the count, two strikes, and he battles a walk," Counsell said. "All of a sudden, we've got a five-spot up here. We made it tough on the opposing guy."

Cain has been doing that a lot. With that walk, Cain, who was slowed during the Brewers' last road trip by a minor calf injury, had reached base in nine of his last 10 plate appearances.

Yelich reached safely in six straight plate appearances over the past two games before grounding out in his final at-bat Friday.

Video: MIA@MIL: Yelich hits an RBI triple to center

Before this series against the Marlins, Cain and Yelich had not been in the lineup together since April 3, the day Yelich exited with a right oblique injury that would land him on the disabled list.

"What two good hitters at the top of your lineup do to the other team, it makes it tough when you've got the middle-of-the-lineup guys coming up," Counsell said. "You sneak by once, or something like that, but they're going to get you eventually."

Video: MIA@MIL: Thames draws walk for Brewers' first run

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Back-to-back: Braun and Shaw teamed for the Brewers' third set of consecutive home runs this season, and second in as many nights. Braun has been involved in all three of them, and five of his first 13 hits this season cleared the fence. The last time the Brewers hit back-to-back home runs each on the first pitch was Sept. 1, 2014, at Wrigley Field, when Khris Davis and Gerardo Parra connected against the Cubs.

"I felt this since the Cincinnati series," said Shaw, who has reached safely four times in each of the last two games. "I was kind of waiting for it to finally happen. Tonight was a good night at the plate."

ARCIA EXITS
A good night took a scary turn for the Brewers in the eighth inning, when shortstop Orlando Arcia had to leave the game after turning his right ankle. X-rays were negative after Arcia rounded too far past first base and had to hustle in vain back to the bag. He was helped off the field by a member of Milwaukee's athletic training staff.

Video: MIA@MIL: Arcia singles, leaves game with injury

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
An inning earlier, Arcia's speed was on display when he made a sensational over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right field to rob J.B. Shuck of a hit. Arcia made the catch at full speed with his left arm fully extended for the first out of Jennings' scoreless inning.

"The way he just plucked his glove out there, it was pretty incredible," Counsell said. "One of his better plays, for sure."

Video: MIA@MIL: Arcia runs back, reaches out for the catch

HE SAID IT
"We should be doing this, but at the same time you still have to go out there and win. What would you guys be saying if we lose these games?" -- Shaw, on the Brewers' wins coming against the last-place Reds and Marlins

UP NEXT
Left-hander Brent Suter will be seeking his first quality start when he takes the mound Saturday at 6:10 p.m. CT for his fifth start of the season. There may be some added urgency for Suter (4.87 ERA) to perform, since the Brewers' other starting pitcher with options, Junior Guerra, has pitched beautifully in a pair of starts, and Wade Miley is returning to health in the Minor Leagues. Suter has never faced the Marlins.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun, Travis Shaw, Christian Yelich

X-rays negative on Arcia's right ankle

Brewers shortstop exits in eighth inning against Marlins
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- X-rays were negative on Orlando Arcia's right ankle after the Brewers shortstop endured a scare in Friday's 8-0 win over the Marlins at Miller Park.

Arcia rolled his surgically-repaired right ankle retreating to first base following a single in the eighth inning and was helped to the dugout by a member of Milwaukee's athletic training staff.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- X-rays were negative on Orlando Arcia's right ankle after the Brewers shortstop endured a scare in Friday's 8-0 win over the Marlins at Miller Park.

Arcia rolled his surgically-repaired right ankle retreating to first base following a single in the eighth inning and was helped to the dugout by a member of Milwaukee's athletic training staff.

View Full Game Coverage

"That's definitely the best-case scenario. Very good news," Arcia said of the negative result on the X-rays. "They told me everything was good, nothing broken, nothing bad. We just have to wait until [Saturday to see] how I feel."

Arcia fractured the same ankle in 2012 as a Minor Leaguer and missed the whole season, but he has not been on the disabled list since being promoted to the Major Leagues in August 2016.

An inning before he was hurt, Arcia's speed was on display when he made a sensational over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right field to rob Miami's J.B. Shuck of a hit. Arcia made the catch at full speed with his left arm fully extended for the first out of lefty reliever Dan Jennings' scoreless inning.

"When it was off the bat, I knew [left fielder Ryan] Braun wasn't going to catch it because he was too far," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I thought Orlando had a chance at it, but the way he just plucked his glove out there, it was pretty incredible. One of his better plays, for sure."

Said Arcia: "I don't know how I caught it."

Video: MIA@MIL: Arcia runs back, reaches out for the catch

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Orlando Arcia

Aguilar's hot bat puts Braun at 1B on hold

Pina to be activated during upcoming road trip; Vogt on target for May
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- The Ryan Braun-at-first base idea isn't exactly dead, but it is on hold while the Brewers ride Jesus Aguilar's productive April.

Braun has not appeared at first base since starting the first two games of the regular season there, in part because Christian Yelich's oblique injury meant Braun has been needed in the outfield. That left last year's duo of Eric Thames and Aguilar to cover the position, and they capitalized by combining to hit .324 with seven home runs, all from Thames, from Game No. 3 of the season through Game No. 20 on Thursday night.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- The Ryan Braun-at-first base idea isn't exactly dead, but it is on hold while the Brewers ride Jesus Aguilar's productive April.

Braun has not appeared at first base since starting the first two games of the regular season there, in part because Christian Yelich's oblique injury meant Braun has been needed in the outfield. That left last year's duo of Eric Thames and Aguilar to cover the position, and they capitalized by combining to hit .324 with seven home runs, all from Thames, from Game No. 3 of the season through Game No. 20 on Thursday night.

View Full Game Coverage

Overall, Aguilar (1.037) and Thames (1.013) entered Friday's game leading the Brewers in OPS, and their first basemen, including Braun, led the Majors by more than 100 points with a .684 slugging percentage and also led with a .431 weighted on-base average.

"From my perspective, they've both picked up where they left off," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "They were both very productive last year, and they're off to very productive starts this year. Nothing has really changed from that perspective. We went in with a little different plan, and through some injuries and stuff, things have changed. Jesus has really taken advantage of that."

Even with the preseason plan of using Braun at first base against left-handers, Thames was going to get his at-bats against right-handers. Aguilar, however, was unsure whether he would make the Opening Day roster, much less get regular playing time.

But including a three-hit effort Thursday that included a pair of doubles, he leads the Brewers with a .456 wOBA.

"Look, Jesus is certainly earning at-bats," Counsell said.

Video: MIA@MIL: Aguilar lines RBI double to left

Of the plan for Braun to play some first base, Counsell said, "It was best-laid plans, but the plan never happened. You have to keep your options open a little bit and understand that you don't know what's going to happen the next day sometimes. That's why [a player's] outlook and attitude are important, because it can change on a dime.

"When opportunity hits, you have to be ready for it."

Video: MIA@MIL: Braun collects 1,000 RBIs on three-run smash

Progress for Pina
Catcher Manny Pina tested his right calf injury with some pregame baserunning Friday, under the watch of Counsell, third-base coach Ed Sedar and assistant athletic trainer Rafael Freitas. Pina is eligible for reinstatement from the 10-day disabled list on Monday, an off-day before a three-city road trip.

Pina should come off the DL at some point during that trip, Counsell said.

"He did well. He did really well," Counsell said. "He probably ran at 80-85 percent. We put him through a pretty good test. Probably one more series of tests, but we're really pointing at good signs. … I don't know if I'll commit today to that first day [of the road trip], but he is on track to be ready for that road trip."

The Brewers' other injured catcher, Stephen Vogt, is also making progress from a strained right shoulder. Barring a setback, he is expected to head to Arizona sometime during the Brewers' road trip to compile at-bats in extended spring training before a Minor League rehab assignment with stops at Double-A Biloxi and Triple-A Colorado Springs.

At the moment, it appears Vogt will hit the original target of being Major League-ready by the second week of May. At that point, the Brewers will face some decisions with their catching corps.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Jesus Aguilar, Ryan Braun, Manny Pina, Stephen Vogt