MILWAUKEE -- After three tense games against the Cubs that were closer than some of the scores suggested, Brent Suter and the Brewers made sure there was little drama at Miller Park on Friday night.
Suter joined another Brewers outburst at the Phillies' expense, scoring twice and logging a pair of RBIs in a 13-2 blowout that featured four Philadelphia errors and got so lopsided that manager Gabe Kapler sent infielder Jesmuel Valentin to the mound for the bottom of the eighth inning. He gave up three runs, including a two-run homer to Jesus Aguilar.
Christian Yelich and Hernan Perez also went deep, and when it finally ended, Milwaukee (42-27) was ensured another day with sole possession of the National League's best record.
"They made a couple errors and we never stopped swinging the bat," said Perez.
The Brewers have scored in double digits against the Phillies three times in four games over the past eight days, adding Friday's romp to 12-4 and 12-3 victories last weekend at Citizens Bank Park. Two of those blowouts have come with Jacob Arrieta on the mound for Philadelphia; he lasted only 3 1/3 innings on Friday and departed with the Phillies facing an 8-0 deficit.
Suter helped get it started when an Arrieta breaking ball hit him in the foot with the bases loaded in the second inning for a 1-0 Brewers lead. It turned into a five-run inning that included the second of the Phillies' four errors and Arrieta's run-scoring wild pitch. Suter reached on another Phillies error in the fourth and scored, before singling home a run in the fifth as the lead grew to 10-0.
"The game is beautifully designed for three outs, and it makes it tough in the Major Leagues when you're [giving] extra outs," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. "That's when scoring is going to happen. We were able to take advantage of a couple situations. It's important to take advantage of them when you have them presented to you."
Afterward, Suter didn't sound like a pitcher.
"I feel locked in at the plate," said Suter. "I'm a little late on fastballs, but I'm seeing the ball well. I'm seeing offspeed down. Any way you can help your team win is a good way to help your team win."
Suter was 4-for-28 at the plate in the Majors, including 1-for-8 with a single this season, before he connected against reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber for a 433-foot home run on May 8 at Miller Park. He's gone 3-for-10, starting with that at-bat, and it would look even better had a sharply-hit, two-run double against the Cardinals on May 28 not been subsequently changed to an error.
"There's a confidence there," Suter said. "Kind of just a competing confidence that just keeps rolling on itself in this game. I don't know. It feels good. … Hitting is one of my favorite parts. I love hitting. I've loved it my whole life. Even when I'm struggling, I still like going up there and trying to whack it."
On the mound, meanwhile, Suter delivered one of the best starts of his three-year career. The left-hander matched his career-high with seven innings of work, while allowing one run on six hits, a walk and three strikeouts to lower the ERA of Brewers' starters to 2.43 over the team's last 13 games. His 105 pitches were also a career high.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Perez produces: The Brewers have been searching for middle-infield production, and Perez delivered it Friday from the second base position in the form of three hits, including a solo home run leading off the fifth inning.
"The home run, that was a beautiful swing," said Counsell. "It's the swing he should imprint in his head because it's what he's capable of doing. He didn't overdo anything. He just took a pitch and hit it where it's supposed to be hit and it goes out of the park. He'd be a great guy to get going."
Yelich delivers the dagger: The Brewers have played on enough warm summer nights to know five-run leads can be fleeting at Miller Park. A three-run fourth inning essentially put the game away, and it began with arguably the most egregious of Philadelphia's quartet of errors, charged to left fielder Rhys Hoskins when he mishandled Suter's leadoff fly ball. Suter scored on Lorenzo Cain's double, before Yelich skied a two-run home run to the right field corner for an 8-0 advantage.
"If there's a play on defense that's not made, it's our job to get the next guy out to pick that guy up. And I didn't do that," said Arrieta, who was charged with eight runs, only four of which were earned runs. "I shouldn't be giving up five or six or seven runs, whatever it was. It's just not very good."
Suter became the third pitcher in franchise history to score multiple runs and drive in multiple runs in the same game, and the first since the Brewers' debut season in Milwaukee. The Seattle Pilots' Fred Talbot was the first, on July 6, 1969, against the Angels, and George Lauzerique did it on April 12, 1970, at the White Sox.
As far as the rest of Major League Baseball, the Cubs' Jonathan Lester had a multi-run, multi-RBI game last August. But the last pitcher to do it without hitting a home run was the Marlins' Dan Haren on May 7, 2015.
Did the Brewers save some hits for Saturday afternoon? The teams will continue their series at 3:10 p.m. CT, with Junior Guerra on the mound against Philadelphia right-hander Zach Eflin. Eflin is the one Phillies starter who has silenced Brewers hitters so far, having allowed two runs on three hits in six innings last weekend at Citizens Bank Park in a 4-3 Philadelphia win. Guerra, who didn't pitch in that series, has made four straight quality starts.