Knebel sees scoreless streak finally end

Brewers closer gives up home run in ninth inning Friday, allowing D-backs to tie game

May 27th, 2017
Prior to allowing a home run Friday night, Corey Knebel went 14 straight appearances without allowing a run. (Getty)

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers closer extended his strikeout streak, but that was little consolation late Friday.

Knebel suffered his first true blown save -- one in the ninth inning or later -- when D-backs catcher Chris Iannetta hit a tying home run with two outs in the ninth, sending the Brewers toward a 4-2 loss in 10 innings at Miller Park.

"We'll take Corey in that situation every single day," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's going to convert the vast majority of those -- and he basically has so far this season, every one of them. I give Iannetta credit. That's the big thing tonight."

Knebel was two strikes away from a 2-1 Brewers win when before Iannetta connected with a misplaced 98-mph fastball in a 1-1 count, sending it into the Brewers' bullpen in left-center field.

It snapped Knebel's streak of 14 straight scoreless appearances, and was the first home run he'd allowed since September 3, 2015 at Pittsburgh -- snapping a streak of 35 consecutive appearances without allowing a home run.

"He crushed it," Knebel said. "Whether he's sitting on it or not, he happened to get [the bat] right where it was. That's what happens here. Good hitters, good pitchers, good matchup."

The 25-year-old Knebel has been the Brewers' primary closer since the team backed veteran out of the role following a series of struggles. Knebel earned the nod with a dominating fastball-curveball combination that has produced 41 strikeouts -- second among Major League relievers to the 47 for Houston's -- in 23 2/3 innings.

Including on Friday, Knebel has at least one strikeout in each of his 25 appearances this season. That's the third-longest streak to start a season in Major League history for a pitcher working exclusively in relief. The top two such streaks each belong to -- 37 appearances in 2014 and 29 in 2012.

Speaking of streaks, the Brewers have lost five straight games.

"It's tough not to think about it," Knebel said. "Of course we want to get off this string. But guys have been great. There's no panic right now."