Betancourt gives Brewers win over A's in 10th inning
Substitute caps late rally; Segura hits two-run triple, scores in eighth
MILWAUKEE -- On any other day, the Brewers' 10-inning walk-off win over the A's would have been a big one for a struggling team.
On Tuesday, it became huge, momentarily distracting minds from the resurfacing news that Ryan Braun could be facing a suspension.
Kyle Lohse's gutsy quality start, the Brewers' eighth-inning rally to tie the game and Yuniesky Betancourt's RBI double in the 10th sealed a 4-3 Brewers win that helped ease the pain of the gloomy news that hit almost simultaneously with the start of the game.
The win snapped a two-game Milwaukee skid and ended Oakland's four-game winning streak.
"That was a fun ballgame," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I know we didn't do much offensively until the end there, but a fun game. Some guys did come through, some good relief pitching." The final play of the game was the most exciting, as Betancourt, who entered the game in the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter, strolled to the plate in the 10th with Carlos Gomez on first and two outs.
Gomez took off on A's reliever Pat Neshek's second pitch on what was supposed to be a straight steal. The free-swinging Betancourt got a slider over the plate, and he split the right-center-field gap, allowing Gomez to round the bases without breaking stride.
Gomez slid headfirst into home plate with the winning run just before the relay throw, allowing Brewers players to celebrate for the first time in a while.
"The only thing I had in my mind was to score," Gomez said. "If it's a hit, I go forward. I'm not even looking at my third base coach. I put my head down and tried to go as fast as I can to score."
Gomez saw the on-deck hitter, Martin Maldonado, signal for him to slide.
"I'm done. My legs started to fall down," Gomez said. "I said, 'I'm going to hit the catcher.' But he gave me a little break and I see Maldonado, and I could slide easily."
Gomez loves any chance to pump energy into his team. He once scored the winning run against the D-backs by stealing second and taking the next two bases on a pair of throwing errors.
"It's fun to wake everybody up and feel everybody excited to come tomorrow with more energy and more enthusiasm," Gomez said. "When we play fun, and we enjoy it, and we relax, we're a little bit better.
"The last few weeks have been a tough situation, and everybody tried to push too much. A lot of stress. When we had men on base, we tried to overdo it, and things don't work like that. The last few games we're playing a little bit better. We're enjoying it better."
There wouldn't have been a 10th inning if not for an eighth-inning Brewers' rally. Trailing 3-0, Milwaukee's half of the eighth started with singles from Rickie Weeks, who replaced rookie Scooter Gennett in the top of the inning, and Norichika Aoki. Jean Segura brought them both in with a triple to right against left-handed reliever Sean Doolittle to make it 3-2.
After Ryan Cook came on and got Braun to tap out to a pulled-in third baseman, Aramis Ramirez muscled a 1-0 fastball off the handle of his bat into center field to bring in Segura and tie the game. Ramirez's bat broke on the hit.
"They were aggressive," Doolittle said. "The word is out that I fill up the zone with my fastball. The one to Weeks came back in a little. It was supposed to be on the outside corner. The one to Aoki was down, he just shot it right back the middle, and Segura did what he's been doing all season, coming up big for them, on a ball that was on the outside corner, just shooting it down the line. I don't know how many things I would've done differently."
Yoenis Cespedes helped the A's to an early lead with two homers off Brewers starter Kyle Lohse.
Cespedes sent a first-pitch sinker over the left-field fence in the first inning and a 3-1 slider to left-center field in the sixth. They were his 10th and 11th home runs of the season, and it was his first career multi-homer game.
Lohse made the two mistakes to Cespedes but delivered a quality start in his second appearance since missing a turn in the rotation with right elbow irritation. Lohse pitched six innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs with three strikeouts and no walks.
The right-hander said his arm felt good, but he tweaked his left hamstring while running the bases in the third inning.
"I couldn't come out and leave the bullpen six innings to pitch," said Lohse, who had his left leg wrapped for his final two innings. "I just tried to get through it and did the best I could. It wasn't real bad, but I had to make some adjustments mechanically to get through it.
"You're always going to have something. I was just doing what I could to keep us in the game."
The Brewers' rally spoiled a seven-inning scoreless performance from A's starter A.J. Griffin. The right-hander allowed four hits and struck out five while walking one.
Juan Francisco and Gennett made their first starts with the Brewers, at first and second base, respectively, and combined to go 0-for-5 with a walk. Gennett, making his first Major League start, struck out in all three of his at-bats.
Francisco, making his first career start at first base, made a leaping catch to snag a liner in the fourth, and ranged to his right to field a ground ball in the seventh. Gennett made a diving grab to rob Josh Reddick of a hit in the sixth, and ranged up the middle to field a ground ball and make a leaping throw to first in the fifth.
"Scooter, he had a rough day offensively, but he sure helped us defensively," Roenicke said.