Brewers' bats come alive to down Phillies
PHILADELPHIA -- For the Brewers Monday, the sixth inning was just a better version of the first five. After recording at least one hit in each of the first five innings, the Brewers kept swinging in the sixth, starting off the inning with six straight hits, scoring three runs and seizing the lead. Milwaukee never looked back from that point, defeating the Phillies, 7-4.
Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun led the Brewers' offense from the two and three holes, combining for seven hits, six of which were singles, three RBIs and two runs scored in Milwaukee's fifth win in seven games.
"That's definitely a win for the offense and bullpen, for sure," said Milwaukee starter Jimmy Nelson, who fell into a 4-1 deficit after two innings before finding a rhythm and pitching through the fifth for the win.
Coming just hours after announcing Andy MacPhail as their next team president, the Phillies' loss ensured that for the second time this season, they will win fewer than 10 games in a month. It was the Phillies' fourth loss in five games and the 16th time in June that they allowed double-digit hits in a game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Off the bench: The third of the Brewers' six straight hits in the sixth inning belonged to veteran third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who improved to 2-for-4 this season as a pinch-hitter when he delivered a two-run double for a 5-4 Brewers lead. It gave Ramirez 14 RBIs in a mostly quiet June, during which he's batted .202 and begun to weather trade rumors, the most prominent of which linked him to the Mets. More >
"I was just trying to be aggressive," Ramirez said. "I'm trying to get going every single day. I'm working in the cage and stuff. It hasn't happened so far, but it's not because I'm not trying or I'm not working."
Stopping the bleeding: As bad as the three runs allowed in the sixth inning were, strong defensive plays by the Phillies' infield prevented the Brewers from scoring even more runs. With the bases loaded, no one out and the hot-swinging Adam Lind at the plate, relief pitcher Justin De Fratus forced a soft chopper to shortstop Freddy Galvis. Galvis charged on the ball and threw home, getting the out, though the bases remained loaded. De Fratus forced another ground ball in the next at-bat though, this one to Cesar Hernandez who was able to flip to Galvis to start off an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Consistently inconsistent: Nelson has shown flashes of the form that made him the top Brewers prospect entering last season, but he has yet to pitch with any consistency. Coming off an eight-inning, one-run gem against the Mets last week, Nelson's bid for his first back-to-back quality starts was over by the second inning, when opposing pitcher Sean O'Sullivan's double -- he entered the game 1-for-15 at the plate -- set up Ben Revere and Hernandez for back-to-back RBIs and a 4-1 Phillies lead.
Generous mood: The Brewers gift-wrapped each of the Phillies' two first-inning runs. The first scored on a throwing error by catcher Lucroy, and the second on Nelson's balk with two outs and a runner at third base. Nelson caught a cleat on the mound during his delivery and never threw home, making an easy call for home-plate umpire Mark Carlson.
"It was a weird first couple innings, really," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "But [Nelson] got it going. He was kind of rolling in the fourth and fifth."
"Yeah, they're in the same spot [in terms of won-loss record] and they've had changes going on. So yeah, there are similarities. It's hard to ignore. We're different markets a little bit, but we both have challenges ahead of us." -- Counsell, on the similarities between the teams
"I'll tell you right now when you haven't been over there for a while, that job is a lot harder than most people think it is. It looks a lot easier from up above than it does when you're on the field level." -- Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin on how new third-base coach John Mizerock has done since taking over for Mackanin on Friday. Domonic Brown has been thrown out between third and home twice in the four games since the change
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
It's always sunny in Philadelphia for Lucroy and Braun, who combined to go 7-for-10 with three RBIs on Monday to continue their career success here. Lucroy's four hits boosted his career numbers at Citizens Bank Park to 22-for-44 (.500) with 11 RBIs in 11 games. Braun had three hits and two RBIs, and is 38-for-91 (.418) with 10 home runs and 26 RBIs in 23 games.
In the bottom of the third inning, Mackanin challenged Carlson's ruling that Domonic Brown was out at home, as he believed Lucroy was blocking the plate. After a one-minute, 15-second review, the ruling on the field was confirmed and Brown, who tried to score from first on a Cody Asche double, was out. The Phillies did not come away with a run in the inning.
Brewers: Rookie right-hander Taylor Jungmann will make his fifth career start and third on the road when the series continues Tuesday night at 6:05 p.m. CT. Jungmann has kept each of his first four starts close by holding opponents to a .259 average and allowing only one home run. He'll need his signature sinker at cozy Citizens Bank Park.
Phillies: The countdown to the likely end to an era continues Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET when Cole Hamels takes the mound for the Phillies. Coming off his worst start since early May last week, Hamels (5-6, 3.26 ERA) will need to find the same strikeout pitch he had before his skipped start two weeks ago. Hamels had fanned 36 batters in his previous four starts before striking out just three in five innings versus the Yankees Wednesday.
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