PHOENIX -- With Jimmy Nelson, Chase Anderson and Zach Davies all on the disabled list, the Brewers' top starting pitcher at the moment is veteran journeyman Jhoulys Chacin -- and he happens to be pitching like a No. 1 of late.Chacin matched Anderson's season high for a Milwaukee starter by
PHOENIX -- With Jimmy Nelson, Chase Anderson and Zach Davies all on the disabled list, the Brewers' top starting pitcher at the moment is veteran journeyman Jhoulys Chacin -- and he happens to be pitching like a No. 1 of late.
Chacin matched Anderson's season high for a Milwaukee starter by working seven innings, holding the D-backs to a run on two hits before Arizona scratched out a run in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat the Brewers, 2-1, on Tuesday night at Chase Field.
The only Brewers pitcher to make all of his starts this season, Chacin did his part with a season-high seven strikeouts in a duel with the D-backs' Zack Greinke.
"It seems like every time out, it's pretty much the same start," said Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw in complimenting Chacin, "except tonight it was way better. His pitch count is always low. He pitches to contact. Defensively, it's fun to play behind him."
Chacin, who was brought to Milwaukee last winter on a two-year deal, finds himself atop a starting rotation missing Nelson (shoulder), Anderson (illness) and Davies (shoulder), all of whom are currently on the DL.
After allowing 10 earned runs in the first 13 2/3 innings of his Brewers tenure, Chacin has a 2.58 ERA over his seven most recent starts, the last five of which were Brewers victories before Tuesday's loss.
"We need it right now," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
The key against Arizona was his changeup, a pitch Chacin honed in Spring Training.
"I'm just trying to go deep in games," Chacin said. "Our bullpen has thrown a lot of innings, so I really want to help them. We lost to a good team today."
With reliever Jeremy Jeffress (neck) and hitters Ryan Braun (back) and Hernan Perez (wrist) all down with relatively minor injuries, the D-backs pushed ahead in the eighth against Brewers rookie reliever Taylor Williams, who began by walking light-hitting catcher Jeff Mathis. It led to the go-ahead run when Daniel Descalso snuck a two-out, ground-ball single through the right side of the infield off Boone Logan.
After a Braves loss earlier Tuesday, the Brewers had a chance to be first in the National League to 26 victories. Instead, the D-backs snapped their six-game losing streak to tie the Brewers and Braves at 25.
Shaw drove in the Brewers' only run with a double and finished 1-for-3 with a walk. He is 8-for-23 (.348) to start Milwaukee's three-city road trip after finishing the last homestand in a 5-for-50 funk.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Walks will haunt: Why was Williams used in the eighth inning of a one-run game over other right-handers with more high-leverage experience, such as Jeffress, Matt Albers and Corey Knebel? Largely because Jeffress was unavailable, a fact not known until after the game. Whoever took over in that spot was only going to get one batter or maybe two, depending on whom the D-backs pinch-hit with, and Counsell did not want to burn Albers for that short a stint.
"I was ready to go. I felt prepared," Williams said. "[The pitches to Mathis] were close, but I can't say I was mad at any of the calls. I don't think I should be trying to be too fine with some of my pitches. I have to come in and throw strikes and attack the hitters."
Close call: The Brewers had something cooking in Greinke's final inning in the sixth, after Jesus Aguilar doubled with two outs and Shaw walked. Domingo Santana thought he'd walked, too, but home-plate umpire Alan Porter ruled that Santana's check swing had nicked the baseball for a foul. Santana struck out on the next pitch.
"I felt fine either way," Greinke said. "My thought when there's a really good hitter like that, I don't want to have to make another pitch to him too much sometimes. Like 3-2, you're like, 'Man, if I walked him, he's on first.' Having to make another pitch to him is kind of tough. He could make you pay for it, giving him one more chance. I just tried to make a really good pitch the next time.
"I looked at it awhile. I still haven't been able to tell if it was a foul tip or not. It looks like it in some angles and others not as much. But it was close."
HE SAID IT
"We're stretched. We've got a couple of guys down." -- Counsell, explaining why right-handed hitting backup catcher Jett Bandy was the choice to pinch-hit against D-backs right-hander Archie Bradley leading off the eighth. Counsell was hesitant to burn either of his left-handed options, Tyler Saladino or switch-hitting Jonathan Villar, in that spot, and Bandy popped out.
Brandon Woodruff struggled in his return to the Brewers' rotation earlier on this road trip at Coors Field, where he surrendered seven earned runs on nine hits in three innings of an eventual 11-10 Brewers win over the Rockies. He hopes to fare better in Wednesday's 2:40 p.m. CT game against Arizona right-hander Matt Koch, who has a 2.79 ERA over his last three starts.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.