'It got me': Mitchell's 1st HR moves dad to tears

Brewers rookie's tying blast in 8th inning sets stage for Hiura's walk-off jack in 9th

August 30th, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- Chalk up more firsts for Brewers rookie Garrett Mitchell.

First big league home run.

First big league curtain call.

First big league ice bath.

First time making dad bawl at a baseball game.

After sparking an early rally with a walk and his first career stolen base, Mitchell reawakened American Family Field in the eighth inning with a tying, two-out, two-run home run before Keston Hiura hammered a two-run walk-off homer in the ninth for a 7-5 Brewers win over the Pirates on Monday night.

Antony Mitchell, who broke down as his son circled the bases, shed more tears when they embraced postgame.

“It’s an accumulation from the first time he stepped on a field,” dad said while waiting with the rest of the family outside the Brewers’ clubhouse. “College was cool. All the steps from Single-A, Double-A, Triple-A. But something today was like, ‘This is real.’ 

“He’s doing what he’s always done, but to do it like this, it got me. It got me. It was total excitement to start off with. Then I started losing my breath. Then it got me.” 

Has Garrett ever made his dad cry tears of joy before?

Yes, but it was a long time ago. Garrett Mitchell was only 10 years old. 

“When he was diagnosed diabetic,” Antony said, “he came back and said, ‘Dad, I love you more than the game of baseball. Don’t worry about it.’ 

“He gave me something in that moment. He showed me he was OK.”

Mitchell, ranked as Milwaukee’s No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline, slipped to the Brewers at 20th overall in the 2020 MLB Draft because of concerns over his Type 1 Diabetes, but here he is in the Major Leagues 26 months later, less than a month removed from playing Double-A baseball.

But after a brief taste of Triple-A, he earned a callup on Saturday and started for the first time on Sunday, when he delivered a go-ahead single in a series-clinching win over the Cubs. With another righty on the mound for Monday’s series opener against the Pirates, Mitchell started once again and made the most of it.

Mitchell finished 1-for-2 with two runs scored, two RBIs and his first career stolen base, which came on a pickoff attempt and helped spark a three-run Brewers rally in the third inning.

After ace Corbin Burnes let that lead slip away, falling into a 5-3 deficit on a three-run homer from Oneil Cruz -- six of his 11 home runs this season are at Milwaukee’s expense -- and a solo shot from Rodolfo Castro, Mitchell powered the Brewers back into a tie when he greeted Pirates reliever Wil Crowe with a two-run home run on a 1-0 changeup with two outs in the eighth.

A revived crowd of 23,009 asked for a curtain call and Mitchell obliged like an old pro.

“I don’t think he’s going to shy away from big spots,” manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s his personality. I think he believes he’s a big leaguer. All of those traits serve you really well.”

Said Mitchell: “There’s a lot of visualization and thinking of wanting to be in these moments. I know when I went up there, that's kind of what I was thinking: ‘Why not me?’”

When Mitchell was asked about that confidence, he turned it into a message for other young athletes facing down their doubters. 

“You know my story of being a Type 1 diabetic,” Mitchell said. “I've been told a lot in my lifetime that I won't be able to do it. They don't think I'll go very far and the diabetes may stop me. For me, I just want people to know that if you trust and believe in yourself and do your part, anything is possible. This is just another part of the journey, another part of the story.” 

Was he surprised he made dad cry? 

“That's not saying much,” Mitchell said with a smile. “My dad cries a lot.” 

The Brewers still needed scoreless relief from Devin Williams (who followed two scoreless innings from Brent Suter) and at least one run in the ninth to win. Hiura, after initially showing bunt with a runner aboard, gave them two runs with his third career walk-off home run.

Just before the calendar flips, Milwaukee has its first three-game winning streak in August. 

“You've seen what this team has done in previous Septembers,” Hiura said. “When you're chasing something, it definitely lights a fire under your butt and convinces you, and persuades you to do a little bit extra.” 

As a fellow former first-round Draft pick who was called up to give the Brewers a spark, what is Hiura’s impression of Mitchell? 

“It's excitement on the field when he's out there,” Hiura said. “Something can happen at any point in time. It's two games so far and he's had some pretty big hits for us. I'm excited to see what he does for the rest of the season.”

“What a crazy experience,” Mitchell said, his voice trailing off. “I'm losing words.”