MILWAUKEE -- All Lewis Brinson needed to snap out of his slump was a matchup against his former club. In his first two at-bats at Miller Park on Thursday, Brinson crushed a pair of home runs, but it wasn't nearly enough in the Marlins' 12-3 loss.
Back in Milwaukee for the first time since being traded in the Christian Yelich deal in January, Brinson connected on his first two home runs of the season, both off right-hander Chase Anderson to center field. The first was a solo shot in the third inning, and the second a two-run drive in the fifth.
"I came back to a place I played last year," Brinson said. "I had a little chip on my shoulder, a little bit. I wish we could have gotten the win, but that feels good. I was in a good place tonight, and hopefully, I can keep it going."
Brinson's second home run temporarily gave the Marlins a 3-2 lead, but the Brewers responded quickly off Dillon Peters. Lorenzo Cain homered to lead off the fifth, and Peters didn't make it through the inning. Milwaukee scored three in the fifth and seven in the sixth, preventing any realistic shot of the Marlins winning their second straight game for the first time this year.
"I didn't get ahead early, and I threw that 3-1 changeup and [Cain is] sitting on offspeed," Peters said. "I felt comfortable throwing it, and he took it for a ride."
For Brinson, Thursday was a breakthrough. His homer in the third inning was a no-doubt laser that traveled a projected 429 feet, according to Statcast™, with an exit velocity of 113.5 mph off a 94-mph fastball. With a 19 degree launch angle, it ties for the sixth-lowest on a home run this season in the Majors.
"I hadn't hit a ball hard like that in a while," Brinson said. "Everybody knew it, and so did I. It felt good."
In the fifth, Brinson jumped on an 88-mph cutter on the first pitch of the at-bat and put the ball over the center-field wall, again, for his second clout of the night.
A couple of days off to work on Brinson's swing produced immediate results. Because he entered the road trip in a 1-for-36 rut, Marlins manager Don Mattingly didn't start Brinson either of Miami's two games on Monday and Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. While in New York, Brinson talked with Mattingly and hitting coaches Mike Pagliarulo and Frank Menechino about letting pitches travel deeper in the strike zone and looking to use the middle of the field.
"I was happy with my approach tonight," Brinson said. "I stuck with it. I told myself to trust it all day. I told myself to come in here and trust my abilities. I know I belong up here, and I was just happy with the result."
It's the first multi-homer game of Brinson's career, but it's not like he's had many chances, having hit two home runs in 21 games for the Brewers in 2017.
"His work has been good, his [batting practice] is getting better," Mattingly said. "There's still a ways to go, but we'll take what we had tonight. Obviously, we see progress with him staying on the ball longer. It was good tonight, and hopefully this is the start of something bigger for him."
DESPAIGNE RIGHT FOREARM STRAIN
Odrisamer Despaigne, Miami's most versatile pitcher, was replaced in the sixth inning after sustaining a right forearm strain. With the count 2-2 on Cain, Despaigne, pitching for the first time since April 14, showed some sign of discomfort and was immediately tended to by the Marlins' coaching and training staffs. He was replaced by Junichi Tazawa, who was tagged for an RBI double by Cain on his first pitch. Despaigne was charged with two runs on three hits over two-thirds of an inning, and Tazawa was charged with six runs that blew the game open for Milwaukee.
"I first felt it tight when I was warming up in the bullpen, I tried to keep going with it," Despaigne said. "When the game started, it's when I started to feel the pain."
After starting the season in the Marlins' rotation, Despaigne was moved into a relief role after one shaky start on March 31 against the Cubs. He has a 6.14 ERA through eight appearances.
Merandy Gonzalez, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Marlins' No. 15 prospect, made his Major League debut on Thursday. In the seventh inning, Cain became the right-hander's first big league strikeout. Gonzalez, who was called up on Thursday before the game, worked two scoreless innings.
HE SAID IT
"We attacked them with the game plan that we had. You can't get hung up on those calls that are either balls or strikes or strikes or balls. Just get to the next batter, the next pitch and get through the rest of the inning." -- Peters, on his pitching through some questionable balls and strikes calls
Trevor Richards seeks his first big league win, and he aims to get it in the city he once had an offseason, winter job. Richards, about a year and a half ago, worked in the guest relations department at the MillerCoors Brewery near Miller Park. On Friday at 8:10 p.m. ET, the 24-year-old right-hander makes his fourth career start. Milwaukee counters with right-hander Jhoulys Chacin.