Arrieta after gem: That's what 'best teams do'
MILWAUKEE -- Jake Arrieta knew the situation.
The Phillies' bullpen was running on fumes and missing a key piece after Pat Neshek landed on the injured list with a strained right shoulder. So when the veteran right-hander took the mound Saturday afternoon at Miller Park, Arrietta knew exactly what he had to do.
And oh, did he deliver.
Arrieta allowed just two runs while striking out eight batters over eight innings, as the Phillies extended their winning streak to three games with a 7-2 victory over the Brewers.
"He understands how much we depend on him," manager Gabe Kapler said. "He understood how the club was depending on him today, and he stepped right up and met the challenge."
Ten days after he gave up five runs (four earned) over six innings in a 5-2 loss to the Brewers in Philadelphia, Arrietta came out firing, facing just one batter over the minimum through his first 6 2/3 innings of work Saturday.
Andrew McCutchen staked him to an early lead, sending the second pitch of the day from Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin over the wall in center for his eighth homer of the season, extending his hitting streak to seven games.
Like a day earlier, when they scored exactly one run in six of nine innings, the Phillies again took a a slow-and-steady approach on offense, putting a run on the board in four of the first five innings, including a solo shot rom Cesar Hernandez in the third.
It looked to be more than enough of a cushion for Arrieta, who retired 16 straight batters before missing his mark on a 3-1 sinker that Mike Moustakas hit to center for his 13th home run of the season.
Arrieta got out of the inning without any further damage and was sitting on 82 pitches when he came back out for the eighth, which would turn out to be his most challenging inning. Eric Thames led off with a single and moved to third on a one-out double by Orlando Arcia. Thames then scored on Hernan Perez's groundout to make it 4-2, bringing up the potential tying run in Lorenzo Cain -- with Christian Yelich waiting on deck.
Arrieta escaped by getting Cain to bounce out to second, and the Phillies rewarded him in the ninth with a pair of home runs -- a two-run shot by Rhys Hoskins followed immediately by a solo homer from J.T. Realmuto -- to make it a five-run game.
Kapler said he would have gone out to talk to Arrieta had Cain reached, but couldn't say whether or not he would have turned to his bullpen had the inning continued.
He also had no concern whatsoever that Arrieta wouldn't be able to handle the challenge.
"He was in control the entire game, from start to finish," Kapler said. "I never felt like he didn't have his stuff. I never felt like he didn't have his delivery. In fact, it was the opposite. I think he recognized the moment, and I think the bigger the moment, the more Jake elevates his game."
Kapler handed the ninth inning to José Álvarez, who retired the Brewers in order to shut the door.
"Preserving the bullpen is what the best teams do," said Arrieta, who has a 3.30 ERA in 19 career starts against the Brewers. "You reap the rewards of that late in the season in July, August and September. Doing it on the road, winning the series, with a chance to sweep them tomorrow is really good for our ball club."