Braun's 18th blast backs Nelson's gem
PHOENIX -- Jimmy Nelson hurled seven scoreless innings, Francisco Rodriguez preserved his saves streak and the Brewers topped the D-backs, 2-1, on Friday night at Chase Field.
Nelson gave up five hits and struck out five, winning for the fifth time in six starts. Ryan Braun hit a solo home run to lead off the sixth inning, the lone blemish for D-backs starter Patrick Corbin. The Brewers won for the fifth time in seven games after Gerardo Parra scored a critical insurance run on a wild pitch in the ninth inning and Rodriguez converted his 22nd save in as many chances, and his 27th in a row dating to last season.
"Sometimes being in a close game can kind of help you a little bit," Nelson said. "You kind of keep your edge. You stay tough because you know you need to execute your pitches."
Corbin suffered the hard-luck loss in his best outing since returning from Tommy John surgery earlier this month. The left-hander went seven innings, his longest outing of the season, and matched a career-high with 10 strikeouts. The D-backs lost for the ninth time in 11 games.
"I just worked ahead, threw a lot of first-pitch strikes and they were chasing the slider," Corbin said. "Since I've been back, I feel like my stuff's there, it's just a matter about being consistent."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Early missed opportunities: The D-backs had two great chances to score their first run in the first and third innings. In the first, they had runners on second and third with one out but David Peralta and Chris Owings both struck out. Paul Goldschmidt was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out in the third. But again the D-backs couldn't push across a run, as Peralta grounded into a 1-2-3 double play.
"We had our opportunities, we got the guys where we want them to be and hitters, again that we feel good about up there, and we just didn't come through," D-backs manager Chip Hale said.
Back-to-back for Braun: The Brewers' right fielder apparently did not like being tied atop the team's home run leaderboard. Adam Lind tied Braun by hitting No. 16 of the season on Wednesday against the Indians, but Braun has pulled away with home runs in each of the first two games of this series at Chase Field. It's the third time this season that Braun has homered on back-to-back days. He also did so April 28-29 and May 19-20.
Returning to form: The D-backs have had a strict pitch count on Corbin since his return earlier this month, not wanting him to exceed 90 pitches in a start. He threw a season-high 89 to get through seven innings after pitching exactly five innings in his first three outings. Corbin was also pitching on a regular four days of rest for the first time this season. More >
For the save: When Owings led off the ninth inning with a triple and scored on Nick Ahmed's sacrifice fly, it marked the first time all season that Rodriguez had allowed a run in a save situation. It erased Rodriguez's distinction as the only full-time closer in Major League Baseball yet to allow a run in a save chance.
"It was a normal night for him," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Somebody [Owings] squared-up a ball against him. I know that's kind of a news story, but he pitched a good inning and did his job."
"It kind of got the feeling after about the third [inning] that it was going to be tough to score. That feeling kind of crept over the game, that one run was going to be a big run." -- Counsell, on the Nelson-Corbin duel and the Brewers' big insurance run in the ninth
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Braun plays half of his games at hitter-friendly Miller Park, but has hit the vast majority of his home runs this season (14 of 18) on the road in precisely the same number of games (46 at home, 46 on the road). As a result of those longballs, he has more than twice as many RBIs on the road (41) than at home (20). More >
Brewers: Taylor Jungmann will seek to continue a streak of four quality starts when he faces the D-backs for the first time in his career at 7:10 p.m. CT Saturday. The sinkerballer owns a 1.29 ERA over his last five starts and has held opponents to a .211 average in his first eight Major League starts.
D-backs: The D-backs send Rubby De La Rosa to the mound for the third game of the series at 5:10 p.m. MST. De La Rosa pitched seven innings of one-run ball in a win over the Marlins on Monday, snapping a skid of four straight starts without a win. The right-hander gave up four runs in five innings in his only career start against the Brewers on May 29.
Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.