MILWAUKEE -- There was no shortage of heroes -- or fireworks -- as the Brewers celebrated Independence Day Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park.The day began with Milwaukee players honoring veterans of the Armed Services, featured a trio of solo home runs -- including the first of Nate Orf's career --
MILWAUKEE -- There was no shortage of heroes -- or fireworks -- as the Brewers celebrated Independence Day Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park.
The day began with Milwaukee players honoring veterans of the Armed Services, featured a trio of solo home runs -- including the first of Nate Orf's career -- and a game-saving grab by Keon Broxton, and it ended with a 3-2 victory over the Twins.
"From the seventh inning on, there were a lot of [momentum] swings, and most of them went in our favor," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, whose team swept its seventh series of the season.
Travis Shaw got things started with a solo home run off Minnesota right-hander Jose Berrios to open the second inning. It was Shaw's first home since he took Cleveland's Cody Allen deep on June 5.
Since then, Shaw had been scuffling, in part because of a sore right wrist that had kept him out of four games over the last month. Counsell noted before the game that Shaw had been putting together good at-bats, and he was confident that the third baseman's power numbers would return.
"[Shaw has] been watching a lot of video, looking for adjustments to make," Counsell said. "He made a little adjustment, and it really paid off for him today."
Chase Anderson made Shaw's home run hold up through the sixth inning. Anderson only allowed one Minnesota runner into scoring position all day, and two hits in all before James Dozier led off the seventh with a double to left.
Dozier moved to third on Eduardo Escobar's chopper to first, and Counsell went to the bullpen, summoning right-hander Jeremy Jeffress.
"[Anderson] was pitching very, very well, but it was so tight -- a one-run game," Counsell said. "It was also very hot, extremely hot on the field."
Jorge Polanco dropped a bloop single into shallow left, tying the game at 1 before Jeffress worked out of the inning, and Milwaukee got the run back quickly when Brad Miller opened the seventh with a solo home run off Berrios, who'd only allowed three hits -- including the Shaw homer -- through his first six innings of work.
The crowd was still stirring from Miller's home run when Orf came to the plate with one out. The infielder had narrowly missed a grand slam in his big league debut Monday, and he was still in search of his first big league hit when Berrios hung a 2-2 slider that Orf dropped just over the fence in the left-field corner to make it a 3-1 game.
"[For Orf] to get [his first hit] that way in a big spot in the game [is special]," Counsell said. "Brad obviously gave us a lead with a big swing [before that]. That's as happy as you'll see our dugout, for sure."
Jeffress kept the Twins off the board in the eighth, and Corey Knebel took over for the ninth, getting a quick out when Eddie Rosario flied out to left. Dozier followed and ripped a 1-0 fastball to center that Broxton pulled back over the wall to take away a sure home run.
Escobar followed with a solo shot of his own, cutting the deficit to one, but Knebel escaped and earned his 10th save of the year when Max Kepler flied out to right.
"[Knebel] was going through the same three hitters who led off the ninth yesterday," Counsell said. "Those are good hitters."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
An inning after Shaw put Milwaukee on the board, the Brewers threatened to break the game open against Berrios in the third. After Broxton reached on an error by Dozier to lead off the inning, he took second with his second stolen base of the season, and Eric Thames followed with a one-out walk.
Christian Yelich came up a and hit a drive to deep right that Kepler hauled in at the wall. Broxton tagged up and easily reached third, while Kepler made a spot-on throw to shortstop Polanco, who applied the tag as Thames slid into second. Umpire Doug Eddings, who drew the ire of fans with a missed call in the series opener, called Thames out. Counsell challenged, but after a review of 1 minute and 36 seconds, the call stood and the threat was over.
Orf became the 10th player in Brewers history to hit a home run for his first big league hit and the first since right-handed pitcher Tyler Cravy did it against Pittsburgh on Aug. 27, 2016.
HE SAID IT
"I didn't even think about it. I was just pumped that I got a hit. They picked me up, and that's when I noticed they wanted a curtain call. Next thing I know, I'm in front of all the fans on their shoulders. It was awesome." -- Orf, on teammates Jesus Aguilar and Manny Pina putting him on their shoulders for a curtain call after his first career home run
Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (6-3, 3.71 ERA) gets the start Thursday when the Brewers open a four-game series with the National League East-leading Braves at Miller Park. Chacin has been Milwaukee's most consistent starter this season, leading the staff with 18 starts and 97 innings of work. He'll face off against Atlanta lefty Max Fried (1-2, 2.55 ERA), who struck out 11 over 4 2/3 scoreless innings after he returned to the big leagues for the first time in a month his last time out.
** Andrew Wagner ** is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.