MILWAUKEE -- Christian Yelich put the exclamation point on the Brewers' first four-game sweep at home in almost a decade at the expense of his former team.Yelich, who hit 39 homers over the two previous seasons with the Marlins, hit the first of his career against Miami on Sunday at
MILWAUKEE -- Christian Yelich put the exclamation point on the Brewers' first four-game sweep at home in almost a decade at the expense of his former team.
Yelich, who hit 39 homers over the two previous seasons with the Marlins, hit the first of his career against Miami on Sunday at Miller Park, helping the Brewers to their sixth straight win and a sweep with a 4-2 victory.
It was the Brewers' first four-game sweep at Miller Park since August 2008 against the Nationals.
"It's great momentum heading into this [nine-game] road trip, kind of a long one coming up," Yelich said. "It was an important homestand for us, and we were able to come home and play really well."
Marlins starter Caleb Smith retired the first nine he faced, before Lorenzo Cain lined a single to right field to lead off the fourth. Yelich, activated off the disabled list Tuesday (right oblique strain), then drove a 2-1 pitch over the wall in center field.
"It was supposed to be a two-seam [fastball] in, and it was just middle of the plate, down in the zone," Smith said. "He put a good swing on it. That's really the pitch that cost us the lead."
Yelich's drive had an exit velocity of 111.3 mph, his fourth-hardest-hit homer of the Statcast™ era, and a launch angle of 20 degrees. The Brewers' outfielder was traded to Milwaukee in January for four prospects, including outfielder Lewis Brinson, who hit three home runs in the first three games for the Marlins in the series.
"I felt good in the work I did leading up to coming off the DL," Yelich said. "I felt prepared. I felt ready. At that point, you're just confident that you can go out and perform the way that you have to."
Cain and Yelich had the only two hits Milwaukee registered against Smith, who struck out a career-high 10 with no walks in six innings. The Brewers added an unearned run in the seventh when first baseman Justin Bour misplayed Eric Thames' pinch-hit grounder with the bases loaded. Jesus Aguilar drove in the Brewers' fourth run with a single in the eighth inning.
Junior Guerra gave up an unearned run in the first but then settled in. He pitched into the sixth inning, when he left with the bases loaded and none out. Jeremy Jeffress relieved and retired the next three hitters to escape the jam. Josh Hader struck out four and registered his third two-inning save of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jeffress escapes trouble: Jeffress didn't get a decision or save, but he might have recorded the three most crucial outs of the game. With the Brewers up 2-1 in the sixth, Miami loaded the bases with no outs against Guerra on singles by J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro and a walk to Bour. Jeffress came in and struck out Brian Anderson, retired J.B. Shuck on a popup in foul territory and struck out Brinson.
"Those are those big outs," Jeffress said. "Those are the things we live for, definitely the things I live for."
"Today's sixth inning by [Jeffress] was absolutely incredible," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "You can't do any better than that. I know we make a big deal about the ninth inning, or whatever the inning is, but that was the game. I think that was the case today, where that was the ballgame, and he delivered. He delivered big time."
Bour's blunder: The Brewers benefited from a baserunning mistake by Bour. Miami pulled within 3-2 with an unearned run in the eighth. With one out, Anderson flied out to center, but Bour lost track of the outs and continued on toward third and was easily doubled off first.
Prior to Hader, the last Brewers reliever with three two-inning saves in a season was Mike DeJean in 2002.
"This is definitely a fun little thing going on" said Hader, who is helping offset the loss of All-Star closer Corey Knebel, who went down on April 5 with a strained right hamstring. "It's always nice to get outs. It's always nice to finish a game with a win, high-fives and all that. It's a different role, but it's a good one for me."
After an off-day Monday, the Brewers open a nine-game road trip Tuesday with the first of two games at Kansas City. Zach Davies, who has never faced the Royals, starts the opener at 7:15 p.m. CT. Davies allowed just three hits over 6 1/3 innings in his last start, a 2-0 victory over the Reds. Ian Kennedy will get the start for Kansas City.
Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.