Brewers can't capitalize in first vs. Fernandez

First two batters reached base, but Milwaukee couldn't score

May 10th, 2016
With runners at first and third with one out in the first inning, Marlins starter Jose Fernandez forced a double-play grounder from Brewers first baseman Chris Carter. (Getty)

MIAMI -- The Brewers got that sinking feeling when they were unable to take advantage of a first-inning opportunity against Marlins ace Jose Fernandez. The Crew put the first two batters of the game on base, but they couldn't score, and Fernandez went on to throw seven shutout innings in Miami's 4-1 win Monday in the series opener at Marlins Park.

Jonathan Villar started the game with a single and Alex Presley walked, putting the Brewers in business, or so it seemed against Fernandez.

But Ryan Braun followed with a long fly out to deep right-center field. Even with the fences moved in slightly this season at Marlins Park, it didn't help Braun's blast. It was hit deep enough for Villar to tag and go to third, where he was ultimately stranded.

"Braun hit a ball that's out of a lot of parks; that's three runs," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "There are bounces in a game, breaks in a game, it was certainly a ball that was very well hit to a big part of the park in a big stadium."

Chris Carter then hit a sharp ground ball that the Marlins turned into an easy double play to end the inning.

"I was just trying to stay through the middle right there and try not to hit a ground ball, but ended up doing it," Carter said. "First time facing him, first time seeing him, so just trying to get a good pitch to hit there in that situation."

That was clearly Milwaukee's best chance against Fernandez.

"It was clear the first couple of hitters that he was a little out of sync," Counsell said. "I think that happens a lot with these guys, with starters. And the good ones, you've got to try to get them before they get in sync, and when he got in sync, he obviously [excelled].

"His breaking ball was a pretty big weapon against a bunch of our hitters tonight."

Carter agreed that after the first inning, Fernandez was pretty much in command after that.

"He had his fastball when he needed it and threw his slider with men on base and got some big outs, too," Carter said.

Then the Brewers missed another chance against an erratic Marlins bullpen in the ninth. Four walks produced the Brewers' only run, but three other batters could not put the ball in play that inning, which left the bases loaded to end the game.

"We got the winning run up [to the plate]," Counsell said. "We had some patient at-bats, took what they were giving us. It was just a little too big of a hole."