Tough opener a learning experience for Crew
MILWAUKEE -- It's only one game, Ryan Braun and the Brewers said Monday in the wake of their third straight Opening Day loss.
Memories of last year's 10-0 loss to the Rockies were revived in a 12-3 loss to the Giants at Miller Park that featured four San Francisco home runs, including three in a row in the eighth inning off Brewers reliever Ariel Pena. It was an inauspicious beginning for a bullpen bitten by injuries at the end of Spring Training and for a young team aware that victories could be hard to come by during the first full season of a rebuild.
In the clubhouse afterward, Braun made the case for moving on.
"It's a lot easier when it's over," he said. "I think leading up to it and during the game, [Opening Day] feels so significant. There's so much adrenaline, so much emotion, so much hoopla when you take into account all the ceremonies and everything. So I think for all of us, it's always an exciting day, but it's nice to get it over with so we can get back into our routines and treat each game of equal importance.
"They'll be fine. ... I think it's something that if you've played this game long enough, you understand you're going to have to be good at turning the page, whether it's a good game or a bad game."
There was no way around it: Monday was a bad game for the Brewers. Second baseman Scooter Gennett had a big day against Madison Bumgarner but committed an error that led to an unearned run and was thrown out at home plate. Starter Wily Peralta surrendered five runs (four earned) on six hits and was knocked out after four innings. Reliever Carlos Torres retired the first two batters he faced in a Brewers uniform before issuing a walk and surrendering a Matt Duffy home run.
And Pena became the first reliever in Major League history to allow three home runs on Opening Day.
"I was throwing my pitches; they just hit them," said Pena. "It's my first outing of the year, so I can't be frustrated about it."
"This game will test you, and it's all about resilience and how you bounce back," said fellow reliever Chris Capuano, who received a rousing ovation before pitching a scoreless inning in his first Brewers appearance since 2010. "Today was a tough game, but the good thing is it just counts as one loss."
The teams will be back at Miller Park on Tuesday afternoon for their first night game of the season.
"This is one day," manager Craig Counsell said. "They are going to learn every day they are here. It is important that they learn every day. Win or lose, there is a learning experience for a player without a lot of experience that they are taking from the day. We just have to make sure as a coaching staff that we share the experience they can take from each day."