MILWAUKEE -- Domingo Santana and the Brewers marked the start of July by taking their biggest lead yet in the National League Central.Santana's two-run home run went in and out of Giancarlo Stanton's glove and sparked a seven-run second inning for the Brewers on Saturday in an 8-4 win over
MILWAUKEE -- Domingo Santana and the Brewers marked the start of July by taking their biggest lead yet in the National League Central.
Santana's two-run home run went in and out of Giancarlo Stanton's glove and sparked a seven-run second inning for the Brewers on Saturday in an 8-4 win over the Marlins at Miller Park. Orlando Arcia also homered as the Brewers' third straight win pushed them a season-high three games ahead of the second-place Cubs.
"I know we are a long [way] from the season being over, so we just have to go out there and just play and try to win ballgames every day," said Santana. "I think we're going to be where we want to be at the end of the season if we keep doing what we've been doing."
After Santana's home run tied the game, Brewers starter Zach Davies drove home the go-ahead run with a fielder's choice before Jonathan Villar, Travis Shaw and Stephen Vogt added insurance. Shaw's two-run single helped cut short Marlins starter Tom Koehler's return from the Minor Leagues after 1 2/3 innings, and Vogt greeted reliever Vance Worley by taking a run-scoring walk for a 7-2 Brewers lead.
"Even if they got three or four, you can keep the game there and manage it," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "It gets to seven and then you have trouble getting back into it. It is a big hill to get back into it. Every run they score seems like a spike."
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Davies had to overcome a long first inning, but pitched through the sixth for his second straight win. The Marlins swung at only two of Davies' first 25 pitches before Justin Bour connected with No. 26 for a two-run double, and Marcell Ozuna and Martin Prado added run-scoring hits in the third inning to keep the game close.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
So close: Stanton did everything right in tracking Santana's second-inning fly, taking a direct route to the right-field wall and timing his leap perfectly. The only thing Stanton didn't do was catch the baseball. When it popped out of the webbing of his glove, Santana had his 14th home run of the season, and the Brewers had the start of their second-biggest inning this season.
"If I catch it the game is completely different, and we can probably have a chance to win that game," Stanton said. "... Yeah, I had it. Then I didn't have it. Then the fans had it." More >
Hader escapes: With an 8-4 lead in the seventh, the Brewers replaced Davies with Josh Hader, the left-handed pitching prospect who entered the day with six scoreless relief appearances on his Major League record. His spotless ERA was in jeopardy after a leadoff walk followed by Tyler Moore's pinch-hit double, but Hader retired Dee Gordon, Stanton and Christian Yelich in order while holding the runners in place. Hader struck out Yelich on three pitches, the last a 95.8-mph fastball.
"That's really the first inning he's kind of been in a jam," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. "To get out of that scoreless, it's a big deal because obviously, that keeps Corey [Knebel] out of the game. He made some quality pitches to some good hitters, to get Gordon, Stanton and Yelich. Three straight with not letting their guys score. That's good stuff."
"Seven runs in an inning is awesome. It's a little bit of a dagger on the other team, and it kind of lifts you up, too. It was a good day." Davies, who leads the Brewers with nine wins despite a 5.03 ERA
SOFT SERVE AND HARD HITS
Arcia was so busy in the field and at the plate Saturday that he required a mid-game snack. With runners at second and third in the third inning, two outs, two runs already across and the Marlins within striking distance at 7-4, Arcia managed to glove a line drive that left J.T. Realmuto's bat at 108.6 mph, according to Statcast™. Perhaps as a reward for his defensive effort, Arcia enjoyed a spoonful of ice cream from an unsuspecting fan in the front row who had his eye on a foul ball in the fourth inning, then smacked a solo home run in the fifth. It was Arcia's seventh homer this season.
"I try to do my best out there," Arcia said. "That way, fans can enjoy it as much as I can when I'm out there." More >
Marlins: Right-hander Dan Straily will look to continue his past success against the Brewers when he starts in Sunday's series finale at 2:10 p.m. ET. Straily is 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts against the Crew. Four Brewers have hit solo homers off Straily, including Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton, Santana and Villar.
Brewers:Junior Guerra will make the first start of his career against the Marlins at 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday. The right-hander is coming off a down performance in Cincinnati on Tuesday, allowing a career-high eight earned runs and tying his career-high hits allowed with eight.
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Andrew Gruman is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee who covered the Marlins on Saturday.
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.