MIAMI -- With momentum swinging in the balance during Monday’s series opener at Marlins Park, Brewers rookie Trent Grisham found himself locked in a pivotal battle in a one-run ballgame.
Grisham got the better of Marlins rookie southpaw Jose Quijada in the seventh inning, ending an eight-pitch at-bat with a two-run triple. Yasmani Grandal then followed Grisham’s knock with his 26th homer in an eventual 8-3 win over the Marlins.
The 22-year-old outfielder matched a franchise rookie record with a career-high five hits and fell a homer shy of the cycle.
“The at-bat of the game was against the lefty Quijada,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It was just a great at-bat. He fouled off a bunch of pitches and tripled. That was the at-bat that really broke the game open, and not only a five-hit game but that at-bat was the at-bat of the game and impactful.
"He had some big spots in the game and swung the bat really well. Three hits against lefties tonight. Really nice job.”
With the victory, the Brewers remained two games behind the Cubs for the second National League Wild Card spot (Chicago won at San Diego) and ahead of the D-backs, who lost to the Mets. There are 19 regular-season contests remaining.
It was the desired result after the Brewers held a meeting inside the visitors’ clubhouse prior to taking batting practice on Monday afternoon.
The message from Counsell and the coaching staff? Understand the challenge of a four-game road set against the rebuilding Marlins following a home series win over the rival Cubs.
Milwaukee stepped up to the occasion, in particular Grisham and Lorenzo Cain, who tallied three hits.
“It's fun. It's a lot of fun,” Grisham said. “Exciting for sure. All the guys made me feel like I’m part of the team. Just go competing and helping on this run.”
Grisham entered Monday scuffling, going 1-for-7 against the Cubs over the weekend at Miller Park. Through 32 games, he is batting .260 with four doubles, one triple and four homers.
Perhaps Grisham had hit the rookie wall? While his veteran teammates are no stranger to September baseball, this is the deepest into a season he has ever played. The organization’s No. 6 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Grisham made his Major League debut on Aug. 1.
“Not necessarily results, just the way I felt at the plate and just really building off of little things to help me get back to where I feel is my base and my core,” Grisham said of his recent struggles.
Monday’s moment didn’t prove too big for Grisham, which bodes well for the injury-bit Brewers. The rookie is filling in while Ryan Braun works through back pain.
“He's got a really good tempo about him is the best way to say it,” Counsell said of Grisham. “Plays with ease, plays with a smile on his face. He's a competitive person, so he's done a nice job. Five hits in a big September game and lead the offense from a rookie? That's as much as you can ask.”