MILWAUKEE -- From an historic blowout one day to a nail-biter the next. What a two-day swing for the Brewers pitching staff, just in time to begin a critical homestand.A day after the Nationals bashed eight home runs to cap a brutal Brewers road trip, Brent Suter, Anthony Swarzak and
MILWAUKEE -- From an historic blowout one day to a nail-biter the next. What a two-day swing for the Brewers pitching staff, just in time to begin a critical homestand.
A day after the Nationals bashed eight home runs to cap a brutal Brewers road trip, Brent Suter, Anthony Swarzak and Corey Knebel combined to hold the Cubs in check Friday for an entertaining 2-1 win at Miller Park that pulled Milwaukee back within a half-game of first place in the National League Central. Suter led the way with seven scoreless innings in the Brewers' 10th victory in their last 12 home games.
It marked a clean start after a 2-8 road trip.
"You're watching the games and you get a sense of how the team's feeling. You want to be the guy to stop the negative energy and make it positive," Suter said. "Hopefully I was able to do that and we can get a couple of more wins this weekend and make it a really good weekend after a tough road trip."
Suter's fifth stint in the Major Leagues this season has been his best, and it's not even close.
A soft-tossing, quick-working left-hander who shuttled back and forth between the big leagues and Triple-A Colorado Springs, and between the bullpen and the starting rotation, Suter has found a home since taking the place of injured Chase Anderson in Milwaukee's rotation. In five starts since Anderson went down with a left oblique strain, Suter owns a 1.50 ERA.
"He's done what Chase was doing, if not even more," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I look at his numbers right now, and he's been outstanding. [Anderson] was a big loss at the time, and [Suter] has more than filled in.
"We've found a player. We've found a guy who's doing a great job and earning his keep."
Suter never had prospect status as he climbed through the Brewers' Minor League system. Thirty-first round Draft picks from Harvard rarely do.
"Occasionally I take a step back and am really grateful for everything that's gone on," he said. "Initially when Chase went down, it was a really bad feeling, but I have to be honest, it opened the door for me to be a starter. He was doing a great job, and I'm just trying to kind of ride his coattails. I definitely take some time to say thanks for the opportunity, but come start day, the reflecting is done an hour and a half before the game and you start locking in."
Suter needed only 82 pitches for seven scoreless innings before Counsell turned to his newest reliever, Swarzak, followed by All-Star closer Knebel. Suter surrendered four Cubs singles, struck out five, and didn't walk a batter until Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras looked at Ball 4 leading off the seventh inning with the Brewers ahead, 2-0.
The southpaw promptly erased him with a Jason Heyward double play and pumped his fist. He retired Albert Almora Jr. on a flyout to end the inning.
Suter called it "one of the biggest starts of my life."
"You see really good hitters on the other team take really uncomfortable swings on 86-mph fastballs consistently," Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said. "What he does creates some deception. He was incredible for us today. We obviously needed that."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.