Crafty Keuchel helps Crew take LA finale

Veteran's rare performance, paired with HRs from Yelich and Perkins, seals deal vs. Dodgers

July 8th, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- didn’t give in at Dodger Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Neither did the Brewers.

Dropping two of three games to the team they’re chasing in the overall National League standings was preferable to getting swept, and the Brewers avoided the latter with home runs from Christian Yelich, Eric Haase and Blake Perkins in a 9-2 win over the Dodgers after Keuchel delivered the sort of stubborn start Major League Baseball hadn’t seen in more than a decade.

"The reason we picked him up,” said Brewers manager Pat Murphy, “is because of his experience. He’s not going to give in. He gave us a huge lift today. He did what was needed."

Or as Yelich described Keuchel’s outing, the lefty was able to “find a way.”

Rarely does an outing exemplify that notion like Keuchel’s did Sunday against the most patient lineup in the National League, and with a plate umpire, Vic Carapazza, calling a tight zone. The Dodgers put runners on base against Keuchel in each of the five innings he appeared, including runners in scoring position in the second, third and fourth. But the veteran lefty, making his third Brewers start and his first start against the Dodgers since the 2017 World Series, emerged with this unique pitching line: 4 1/3 innings, three hits, no runs, five walks, no strikeouts.

According to, the last pitcher to walk at least five batters and strike out none but still emerge with a scoreless outing was the Royals' Vin Mazzaro in June 2011. The last starting pitcher to do that in five or fewer innings, as Keuchel did Sunday while pecking around the strike zone, was the Astros' Mike Scott in May 1983.

"Even without Mookie [Betts], their first 4-5 guys are very capable of changing a game quick, and then I’ve also had battles with the last 3-4 guys [in the Dodgers' lineup], so I knew I was in for my work,” Keuchel said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting to have five walks. I would like to clean that up.

"I was very fortunate to have a lot of weak contact in hitters’ counts. I didn’t have a ton of counts that I wanted to be in. That’s a great lineup to get through 4 1/3 and have five walks and throw up some zeros. I’ll take it.”

The Brewers made his effort pay off. Yelich and backup catcher Haase hit two-run home runs off Dodgers starter Justin Wrobleski in the left-handed prospect’s Major League debut, with Perkins adding a solo shot. Yelich and Perkins each finished with three hits and three RBIs, while Yelich led the way with three runs scored to continue his sensational season.

His 164 wRC+ is eighth best in baseball among hitters with at least 250 plate appearances, while his .329 average is among the leaders in the NL. Yelich, who missed 20 games earlier this season with back stiffness, is days away from having the plate appearances he needs to qualify among the league leaders.

"I’ve seen this,” said Murphy, who was Brewers bench coach during Yelich’s first two record-setting seasons in Milwaukee. "I’m not going to get giddy, but he’s had an incredible year. More than that, he’s having an incredible impact on the team, an incredible impact on the young guys like Perkins to not get down after getting picked off in a 2-0 game. A senseless pickoff. He kept himself going. After that, Perkins responded."

Perkins’ pickoff came in the fifth inning before Haase homered. Perkins homered in his next at-bat in the seventh, helping the Brewers avoid what would have been their first four-game losing streak all season.

The only teams in MLB yet to lose four in a row are all division leaders: The Phillies, Guardians and Brewers.

Speaking of losing streaks, the Brewers had lost seven straight games at Dodger Stadium and 11 of their last 12 games at the ballpark before winning a getaway game on Sunday.

"On the fly, I’ve had some knowledge about the success that the Dodgers have had against the Brewers in the regular season, so I was familiar with that on a crash course," Keuchel said. “But I had a job to do. I have enough stress as it is trying to navigate that lineup."

He did just that. It made for a happy flight home after a tough stretch in which the Brewers played two of the past three weeks out west.

"Whenever you go through a stretch when the outside perspective is that it’s the end of the world and the sky is falling, to us it’s like, ‘We know that there’s going to be tough streaks in the year. Keep going. Keep trying to play well,’” Yelich said. “Then, when you get on the good side of it, you try to build momentum again.”