MILWAUKEE -- Lewis Brinson continues to refine his mechanics at the plate, but the rookie center fielder has found his home run swing. Brinson crushed a three-run home run in the second inning on Saturday, but there was an all-too-familiar result for the Marlins.Jesus Aguilar capped a 13-pitch at-bat in
MILWAUKEE -- Lewis Brinson continues to refine his mechanics at the plate, but the rookie center fielder has found his home run swing. Brinson crushed a three-run home run in the second inning on Saturday, but there was an all-too-familiar result for the Marlins.
Jesus Aguilar capped a 13-pitch at-bat in the ninth inning against reliever Junichi Tazawa with a walk-off home run that gave the Marlins a 6-5 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park.
Leading off the ninth against Tazawa, Aguilar fouled off three straight full-count pitches before driving the ball over the center-field wall.
"That's a tough loss," Brinson said. "We can't put our heads down. That's when it's going to snowball, and the next thing you know, we're deeper in a hole. We've just got to keep going, keep fighting and keep going out there and playing hard and playing for each other. I think that's the biggest thing. … I think we still have a lot of fight on this team."
Aguilar called it his best-ever at-bat, saying it was his first walk-off ever: "Not even in Nintendo. I feel like a superstar right now."
"That was just a really good at-bat on his end," Marlins catcher John Holaday said. "He battled off some really tough pitches, and he got the best of us."
The Marlins have dropped three straight in the four-game series at Milwaukee, but Brinson has shown glimpses of why he's a touted rookie. That was evident by his third home run of the series. He also showed he's a work in progress, though, by striking out three times.
Acquired by the Marlins from the Brewers in January as part of the Christian Yelich trade, Brinson entered the series mired in a 1-for-36 slump. But after sitting out Miami's two games prior to its four-game set in Milwaukee, he responded with two homers in the opener on Thursday, a 12-3 loss.
There was not much doubt on Brinson's homer in the second inning. The 23-year-old blistered a drive that Statcast™ projected at 406 feet with an exit velocity of 111.3 mph. It was a laser with a launch angle of 19 degrees and came on an 80.4-mph changeup from Brent Suter.
"The homer was good," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "There's ways to go with him and his swing. Obviously, we're seeing some success with the home runs. I think for him, it's about experience and improvement and continuing to work and continuing to get better, but obviously, we're seeing some success, which is a good thing."
The Marlins opened the scoring in the first inning on Derek Dietrich's one-out home run, and Brinson's three-run shot made it 4-0 before the Brewers began chipping back.
After the homer, Brinson acknowledged he got a little overly aggressive in his three strikeouts. In the sixth inning, he chased a pitch out of the zone after being ahead, 3-1, in the count.
"Getting antsy, trying to make something happen, trying to get on base, besides just taking my walk," Brinson said. "But I like where my swing is at. I'm seeing the ball. I want to stay right here."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Protecting a 5-4 lead in the eighth inning, Kyle Barraclough put himself in a bind with two outs by walking Travis Shaw, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. The inning intensified when Eric Thames walked, putting runners on first and second.
Eric Sogard hit a fly ball to left field, where Dietrich and shortstop Yadiel Rivera converged, but the ball fell in despite Dietrich's final lunging effort. Shaw scored to tie the game, but Rivera prevented the go-ahead run from scoring by making a one-hop throw to the plate. Holaday fielded the ball up the third-base line and applied the tag on Thames' leg, keeping the score even at 5.
"I just caught it, tried to dive and get him if I could," Holaday said. "Luckily, we were able to get him."
Initially ruled an error on Dietrich, the official scorer changed it to an RBI double. Still, Dietrich accepted blame on a ball that should have been caught.
"I called the ball and I dropped it," Dietrich said. "That one's on me. Unfortunately, that [stinks] because Jose [Urena] pitched well and [Barraclough] did his job so that one's on me."
Rookie Brian Anderson recorded his fifth multi-hit game of the season, and his RBI single in the fifth inning was his first in five games. Anderson had been 1-for-16 in his previous five games.
HE SAID IT
"You gotta do the little things right and that's everything from baserunning to defense in those situations. We did that other than catching the ball that should've been caught." -- Dietrich, on his misplay in the eighth inning
The Marlins close out their four-game series at Miller Park on Sunday at 2:10 p.m. ET with left-hander Caleb Smith (0-2, 6.89 ERA) seeking his first win. Smith is off to an up-and-down start thus far depending on where he's pitched. His road ERA is 13.50, compared to 3.48 at Marlins Park. Milwaukee counters with right-hander Junior Guerra (1-0, 0.82).
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.