SEATTLE -- Finally, a happy flight. And not a moment too soon.
The Brewers were set to enjoy every bit of the roughly three hours and 45 minutes that it takes a charter jet to get from Seattle to Milwaukee after grinding out a 7-6 win over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon. The music was blaring in the clubhouse as they scarfed down dinner and put on their traveling clothes. It was just like any ordinary clutch victory.
Except it wasn't ordinary at all. This one, in the context of the struggles the Brewers have encountered this week and all season on the road, was as improbable as they come.
Consider that Milwaukee has the worst road record in the Majors at 19-41.
Consider that the Brewers were 0-59 this year in games in which they trailed after eight innings.
Consider that they had lost seven consecutive road games, and that six of those came this week after a fruitless four-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field and then the first two games at Safeco Field.
Consider that the Brewers had not enjoyed a lead in any of their seven road games this week until Scooter Gennett's high fly ball fell to the grass in left field in the ninth inning and gave them the 7-6 advantage that closer Tyler Thornburg would make hold up for the save.
All of that took place on the day Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell turned 46, and all of it was appreciated by a smiling skipper in the aftermath.
"That's a good one," Counsell said. "That's a really good birthday present, for sure. We talked about it earlier in the series. We've been giving ourselves some chances late in these games and It hasn't worked out, and today it kind of all came together. Guys had great at-bats, and some big home runs and great work from the bullpen."
After starter Matt Garza gave up six runs on nine hits in a season-low 3 2/3 innings, the trio of Juan Marinez (2 1/3 innings), Carlos Torres (one inning) and Thornburg (two innings) held Seattle scoreless on a total of two hits.
In the ninth, trailing 6-3, Keon Broxton led off with a solo homer -- his second of the game -- before Chris Carter hit a two-run homer to tie it. Gennett's ball, which looked like it would be caught by either Mariners left fielder Norichika Aoki or center fielder Leonys Martin but fell in between them, ended up being the equally unlikely game winner.
"I thought it was an out," Gennett said. "I think the sky at that time, it might have been tough to pick up the ball or something like that, but yeah, I didn't hit it great. Usually when it has that much hang time it gets caught.
"For the most part, there at the beginning part of the game, we were hitting balls hard and right at guys. Holes finally opened up, and we were able to have a nice little rally there in that last inning."
So yes, it wasn't pretty and it certainly wasn't anything like they might have drawn it up, but the beleaguered Brewers will take this one.
"It's been a rough road trip," Carter said. "We definitely have caught a lot of one-run games this year where a hit or two decides the game. It feels good to finally win one."