MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers continued scoring runs in bunches for Zach Davies, backing their starter with an eight-run second inning on the way to a 9-6 win over the Phillies on Friday night at Miller Park.Orlando Arcia hit a three-run home run and Ryan Braun smacked a grand slam in
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers continued scoring runs in bunches for Zach Davies, backing their starter with an eight-run second inning on the way to a 9-6 win over the Phillies on Friday night at Miller Park.
Orlando Arcia hit a three-run home run and Ryan Braun smacked a grand slam in the Brewers' big frame to boost Davies, who entered the day with the third-best run support among regular Major League starting pitchers. He improved to 11-4 despite allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings, with a season-high five walks and six strikeouts in an outing that pushed Davies' ERA up to 5.08 in 19 starts, including four straight victories.
"I'm [ticked] off by my performance, definitely," Davies said. "But the team's winning, and you can't be selfish in that aspect and be upset and show it when the team is doing what it should be doing."
The Brewers won for the 10th time in 12 games to maintain their 5 1/2-game lead atop the National League Central. They took command with a sudden outburst against Phillies starter Nick Pivetta, who struck out the first four batters he faced, then surrendered eight runs before he recorded another out. Milwaukee matched its biggest single-inning outburst this season.
"That one real bad inning for Pivetta," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He was like two different pitchers out there. He struck out four in a row, then he just didn't locate any of his pitches. He hung every breaking ball he threw up there in that one span of eight hitters. And then he was a different pitcher after that. That did him in, the three-run homer and grand slam."
As has been the case so often this season, Davies was the beneficiary of the Brewers' offense.
"That's the case this year, there's no question about it. We've scored a ton of runs in Zach's starts," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I don't have a great explanation. There's going to be a guy that gets the most runs. I can guarantee that."
Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera each drove in two runs, and Franco collected four hits to help the Phillies cut a six-run Brewers lead to three the sixth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Grand finale: When Braun hit a first-pitch hanging slider from Pivetta off the batter's eye in straightaway center field, he capped the Brewers' eight-run rally while becoming the franchise's all-time leader with six career grand slams. Braun had shared the mark with Jeromy Burnitz, John Jaha and Cecil Cooper, the latter of whom was on hand Friday for a reunion of the 1982 American League championship team.
Fightin' Phils: The Phillies climbed back into the game with two runs in the fifth inning on Franco's two-out single and an error charged to Brewers center fielder Keon Broxton. Two more scored in the sixth on Herrera's two-run home run, but Davies and Brewers relievers Carlos Torres, Jared Hughes, Josh Hader, Jacob Barnes and Corey Knebel combined to hold the Phillies hitless in their final 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
"That's the story of the game, I think," Counsell said of his club's stout relief work. "Obviously the eight-run inning was big, but we used five guys and they did an outstanding job. They got 11 outs."
"You're always paying attention. I don't think it'll be a distraction, especially if we keep winning. It's obviously going to be fun to watch the other teams, what they're doing, if we keep doing our thing." -- Arcia, when asked if he was watching the Cubs' score on the out-of-town scoreboard
"Just making adjustments. What are you going to do now? Are you going to go out there and give up, or are you going to go out there and shut it down? So it got me back on track and I was able to shut it down." -- Pivetta, who retired 11 of the last 13 he faced, on pitching coach Bob McClure's visit to the mound in the second inning
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He didn't appear in the All-Star Game, so Knebel was fresh when he took the mound in the ninth on Friday and worked around Franco's leadoff double for save No. 15. Knebel struck out a pair of batters, giving him at least one whiff in all 44 appearances this season and 45 in a row dating to last season. Albertin Chapman set the Major League record when he struck out a batter in 49 straight appearances for the Reds in 2013-14.
"You count on the bullpen every single night. They have been a big part of this, for sure," Counsell said. "The way we've been able to use them and get them rest has been important. There will be stretches where you can't do that. It's unavoidable. But certainly when we get them fresh and get them rest, they are going to be effective."
Phillies: The Phillies will send right-hander Aaron Nola to the mound for Game 2 of this three-game series beginning on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Nola has a 0.69 ERA in a pair of starts against the Brewers in his career, but he's only faced four batters currently on this Milwaukee club.
Brewers:Jimmy Nelson leads the team with 10 quality starts this season and will go for his 11th when he takes the mound at 6:10 p.m. CT on Saturday. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 6.89 ERA in three starts against the Phillies, including a 6-3 loss in his only start against them last season at Citizens Bank Park on June 3.
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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.