'A special day': Ashby logs first MLB win

Urías, Tellez back rookie hurler with home runs

August 29th, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Brewers' unconventional usage of rookie starter left the 23-year-old looking for his first win as he made his fourth career start on Sunday afternoon in Minnesota.

Ashby can now check that off his list as he showed he could be an important piece down the stretch for Milwaukee.

The left-hander earned his first Major League win with five strong innings and the Brewers’ bats finally broke out in a 6-2 victory over the Twins in the series finale at Target Field.

“Feels awesome,” Ashby said. “It’s something you always dream of as a little kid. It’s a special day, and I’m glad we got it for the team. It’s awesome. A good day.”

Milwaukee's No. 8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Ashby allowed two runs on three hits and one walk, with four strikeouts. The lone blemish on his line was a two-run homer by Minnesota’s Miguel Sanó.

He also helped stop a three-game losing streak, the longest since the All-Star break for the Brewers.

“There’s always that thought in the back of your head, but once you get out there and throw that first pitch, everything goes away and it’s just like every other game -- you pitch and try to get your team the win,” Ashby said of being the stopper.

On offense, hit his 18th home run of the season and added a three-run homer that traveled 454 feet, which tied Eloy Jiménez for the longest by an opponent at Target Field this season.

After being limited to 12 knocks, 11 of which singles, in the first two games of the series, Milwaukee had seven extra-base hits in the series finale.

“It makes a pretty big difference when you get extra-base hits,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

Ashby, a fourth-round Draft pick by the Brewers in 2018 and the nephew of former Major Leaguer Andy Ashby, had his longest outing in the Majors. Two of his first three starts came as the 27th man in doubleheaders, and he was immediately sent back to Triple-A Nashville after each one.

He was recalled most recently on Aug. 22 and threw two scoreless innings of relief against Washington, setting him up for Sunday’s start as Milwaukee had an open rotation spot with Freddy Peralta on the injured list.

“I think we're going to find a spot for him to pitch,” Counsell said. “It doesn't matter where it is, in my opinion. Just get outs. Whether it's starting or relieving, he's done both, and I think he's capable of doing both. If you get outs at a high level, then we're going to find spots for you to pitch.”

Ashby’s Major League debut was an inauspicious one, as he gave seven runs -- four earned -- while getting just two outs against the Cubs on June 30. He had thrown eight scoreless innings in three appearances (two starts) since then entering Sunday.

“Anywhere these guys need me -- whether that’s on a bullpen day or a start day, piggybacking off of someone -- whatever it is, I’m OK with it,” Ashby said. “I’m ready for it, and excited for it.”

Facing a rookie right-hander in Griffin Jax, the Brewers’ offense got on track.

In the second, Urías opened the scoring with a solo homer. With two outs in the third, Christian Yelich doubled and Omar Narváez walked, setting up Tellez’s big fly. Kolten Wong added a two-run double in the fourth.

Tellez was hitting just .162 in 12 games since his last home run on Aug. 14. The 454-foot blast was his longest homer since a 459-foot shot on Aug. 12, 2020.

“That one felt good,” Tellez said. “I was able to get a changeup out over and stay in the middle of the field. We’ve been working; me [and hitting coaches Andy Haines and Jacob Cruz] trying to get the swing back and just get the plate discipline back. Something I got away from. Just excited to put a couple good swings on some pitches today.”