BP jerseys bring Brewers offensive breakout
Injury replacements Maldonado, Herrera go deep
MILWAUKEE -- It wasn't working the old way, so the Brewers tried something different on Tuesday to spark a sluggish offense. In what he called a throwback to American Legion baseball, manager Ron Roenicke cancelled batting practice and had players report 90 minutes before Mike Fiers' first pitch at Miller Park. When he delivered it, Fiers and his teammates wore not the usual home whites, but their navy blue batting practice tops. As one player joked the night before, the Brewers were undefeated in batting practice.
It worked, sort of.
A four-run outburst in the third was the Brewers' biggest inning of the season. By the sixth, they had surpassed their season highs for runs (it had been six) and hits (it had been 10). They finished with 10 runs and 12 hits, including a two-run home run for Martin Maldonado and Elian Herrera's grand slam -- positive contributions for two of the players covering the Brewers' current spate of injuries.
The result, however, was the same. A 16-10 loss dropped the Brewers' record to 2-12.
"It's just a shame you score 10 runs and aren't even close to winning the game," Roenicke said. "But real good job by a lot of the guys offensively. We'll just see if we can get a good outing and see if we can continue the offense."
The Brewers have lost seven straight games, but Tuesday's was an outlier. In their six previous defeats, the Brewers had averaged fewer than two runs per game, and had not scored more than three. In their first 11 losses this season, they scored 20 total runs.
"The way we've been swinging, it was important to put up some runs there," Maldonado said. "At the same point, it doesn't matter how many we scored if we're still losing the game. As a team, we have to do a better job overall, including myself."
Maldonado is the Brewers' new starting catcher, with last year's club MVP, Jonathan Lucroy, sidelined the next 4-6 weeks with a broken toe. In his first at-bat in that capacity, Maldonado hit a two-run home run off Reds starter Jason Marquis, sparking the four-run, third-inning rally that helped the Brewers' erase a Reds lead built on Jay Bruce's grand slam in the top of the frame.
But the night's standout was Herrera, summoned from Triple-A Colorado Springs earlier in the day to help cover second base while Scooter Gennett recovers from a cut on his left hand. Herrera hit an RBI double and scored in the third inning, reached on a fielder's choice and scored in the fifth, then hit his first career grand slam in the sixth.
Herrera's five RBIs matched his total from 69 games with the Brewers last season.
"Obviously we'll put him back out there at second [on Wednesday]," Roenicke said. "He was hot in Spring Training, he was hot when he got to Triple-A and he swung it well today. We'll continue to do that and see where we go from there."