Brewers' bullpen plays key role in win
DETROIT -- Jeremy Jeffress continued his run of success, Jonathan Broxton reversed a recent slump and Francisco Rodriguez notched the save as the Brewers' bullpen shined in a 3-2 win over the Tigers on Monday night.
"JJ and 'Brox' did a tremendous job. They're the reason why we won," said Rodriguez, whose save was his eighth this season and No. 356 in his career. "They did the hard work, pretty much."
Together, Jeffress, Broxton and Rodriguez combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out five. In each inning from the sixth through the eighth, Jeffress and Broxton stranded Tigers runners in scoring position with a critical strikeout. In the ninth, Rodriguez surrendered a one-out single but quickly erased it by coaxing a game-ending double play from pinch-hitter Yoenis Cespedes.
Those escapes sealed an opening win for the Brewers in this Interleague Series, on the heels of consecutive series losses to the White Sox and Mets.
"That's the intensity we need every game," Brewers starter Mike Fiers said. "When we're playing like that every game, it's tough to beat us."
Jeffress took over from Fiers in the sixth inning with the teams tied at 2, two outs and two runners in scoring position. He struck out Rajai Davis with a 98-mph fastball, matching Jeffress' top velocity this season. Back on the mound for the seventh, after the Brewers took a 3-2 lead, Jeffress saw a two-out baserunner reach second base before striking out Anthony Gose with a curveball.
It was Jeffress' fifth straight scoreless appearance, and much of it came amid a heavy rain.
"I'm telling you, it was crazy," Jeffress said. "I thought they were going to stop [the game], to be honest with you. They kept it going."
Next up was Broxton, who entered the night with a 7.24 ERA. On the Brewers' most recent homestand, he was charged with five earned runs and eight hits in only two innings.
Broxton appeared headed for more trouble when Ian Kinsler opened the eighth inning with a single and Miguel Cabrera walked. But Broxton induced a ground ball from a slightly hobbled Victor Martinez, who was called out at first base on a very close double play.
The Tigers requested replay review, and the call stood.
"In that one angle I thought he was safe, but that's why they have all the angles in New York," Broxton said. "I still had to make pitches, even if they did call him safe. … I can't get 'up' right there and just groove one in there. I had to bear down and get that final out."
That's just what he did, striking out J.D. Martinez with a fastball that registered 98 mph.
"It's the [kind of moment] you want to put him in, because you have to come with your best," Counsell said of Broxton. "That's the kind of outing you want to have him turn it around in."