Hader gets 1st MLB win under his belt

July 8th, 2017

NEW YORK -- Left-hander didn't get his rematch with , but he did get a game ball.

Hader surrendered a history-making home run to Yankees rookie slugger Judge, but he also turned his walks-to-strikeouts ratio right-side up and logged his first Major League victory with three electric innings of relief in the Brewers' 9-4 win over the Yankees on Friday at Yankee Stadium.

"That was pretty special," manager Craig Counsell said.

Hader gave up Judge's Major League-leading 30th home run in the fifth inning for a 4-2 Yankees lead, but it came amid a stretch in which he struck out seven of the first 10 batters he faced, including five in a row.

Hader entered the night with a 0.00 ERA despite issuing eight walks against seven strikeouts in his first 9 1/3 Major League innings, helping to explain why he was still in the bullpen on Friday and not getting ready to start on Saturday in place of the injured Chase Anderson. When a bruised right shin and a 51-minute rain delay in the fourth inning forced Friday starter from the game, Hader took over.

Hader kept the Yankees at bay aside from Judge's home run, positioning the Brewers to score twice in the sixth inning for a tie and five more times in a go-ahead seventh that included 's grand slam.

"After [the home run], it kind of gave me a boost to get things going," said Hader.

If Hader can find a way to limit the walks, his multi-inning ability could make him the surprising Brewers' version of Indians southpaw reliever . Hader is Milwaukee's top pitching prospect, and the top-rated left-handed prospect in baseball, per MLBPipeline.com.

"I've been saving Josh for the right spot, and tonight we really got into the right spot with him," Counsell said. "It just shows to me how the days before really matter, how the starter does and how the bullpen is used. We got Josh to this game with rest, where we could extend him in an American League game when we didn't have to worry about his spot in the lineup. It turned out to be the perfect spot for him, really."

Taking over after the rain delay, Hader sandwiched a walk between two strikeouts in the fourth inning, then saw Judge hit a curveball into Monument Park in center field leading off the fifth. Judge's 30th home run set a Yankees rookie record, breaking a mark held by Joe DiMaggio when the Yankee Clipper hit 29 in 1936 to start a Hall of Fame career.

Hader quickly restored order by retiring on a lineout to center field before logging five straight strikeouts through the end of the sixth. His seven strikeouts overall were the most by a Brewers reliever since Manny Parra whiffed eight Mets on Aug. 1, 2007.

"You make a mistake, and [they're] supposed to hit them," Hader said of Judge. "I'll get my opportunity, maybe, one year."