Burnes, bats help Counsell pass 'Scrap Iron'

Brewers skipper passes Garner on the franchise's all-time managerial wins list

June 16th, 2022

NEW YORK -- The Brewers' offense showed up for what became a historic Wednesday night at Citi Field. The 10-2 victory was manager Craig Counsell’s 564th win as Milwaukee's manager, pushing him past Phil Garner for the all-time franchise record.

It’s fitting that he is No. 1 in the Brewers' record books. He grew up in Milwaukee, played for the Brewers and, now, he is the winningest manager in their history. 

“A lot goes into that,” Brewers outfielder  said. “He gives credit to the players. But a lot of the credit goes to him. He puts us in places where we could succeed. 

“He is always the same every day. If we lost 10 in a row or won 10 in a row, he is the same guy. He sets the tone for us. He is a huge reason we have had so much success in the last four or five years.”

After the game, Counsell rode in a shopping cart and was given a beer shower. He thanked his players for doing all the heavy lifting on the field.

”It’s humbling for sure,” the skipper said. “What I told the players was that I feel a lot of gratitude for everything they have contributed to it. It’s been fun to watch. It’s a great era of Brewer baseball players. [They] go out there and do great things, provide a great product for our fans. It’s not easy. … I’m blessed to be a part of it.”

He didn’t forget about the people who guided him to the manager’s chair. In particular, he mentioned former Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who gave him his first chance to work in the front office.

“He exposed me to so much and taught me so much about the game outside of playing, which I desperately needed and I think was the foundation for what I was able to bring to the manager’s seat.”

Counsell wasn’t the only one who made his presence felt after the game. Team owner Mark Attanasio gave Counsell a bottle of wine, while legendary coaches like Steve Kerr and Mike Krzyzewski were in a video tribute to congratulate Counsell. 

It’s fitting that Counsell broke "Scrap Iron's" record with his best pitcher -- right-hander -- on the mound. Burnes showed the Mets why he was last year’s Cy Young Award winner, allowing just two runs in six innings and striking out eight batters.

After allowing two consecutive singles in the first inning to Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte, Burnes retired the next 11 hitters he faced until Jeff McNeil’s solo home run in the fourth. Burnes would go on to pitch two more innings, leaving the game eligible for his fourth win of the season.

"Just command of the cutter -- backdoor to left-handers,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. "Changeup's a good pitch. He has enough curveball to give you a third look, and then of course fastball. Early on, on a consistent plane, carrying the ball down. It appears as a strike. Think Mariano Rivera as a starter."

Burnes was pleased to win the game for the only manager he has played for.

“It was good to see [Counsell] get that milestone,” Burnes said. “Couns is awesome. Like we said in our meeting, he could be doing anything else. He had a great MLB career, he could be sitting at home on the couch, but he wants to be here -- help out the city, help us get wins. It’s awesome.”

The Brewers' offense made sure Counsell’s historic victory was secure. Milwaukee started the game by scoring two runs off David Peterson in the first inning. With the bases loaded, Luis Urías singled to left field, scoring Willy Adames and Andrew McCutchen.

But it was the fifth inning where Milwaukee went off on right-hander Jake Reed. The Brewers sent 13 men to the plate, scoring seven runs -- 17% of the team’s runs scored in the month of June. Jace Peterson (two-run double) and Adames (two-run single) highlighted the scoring. All seven runs were scored with two outs.

“Another gift from the players,” Counsell said.