MILWAUKEE -- It wasn't just runs that Brewers manager Craig Counsell was waiting for. It was pressure. Put pressure on an opponent inning after inning, Counsell kept saying, and the runs will come.On Thursday, Brewers hitters finally delivered a bunch of both.In a 12-3 win over the Marlins at Miller
MILWAUKEE -- It wasn't just runs that Brewers manager Craig Counsell was waiting for. It was pressure. Put pressure on an opponent inning after inning, Counsell kept saying, and the runs will come.
On Thursday, Brewers hitters finally delivered a bunch of both.
In a 12-3 win over the Marlins at Miller Park punctuated by a seven-run sixth inning, Lorenzo Cain reached safely four times and scored four runs, Jesus Aguilar drove in three runs and Ryan Braun came off the bench to hit a three-run home run for 1,000 career RBIs, giving the Brewers their best offensive night at home since September 2016.
The Brewers have won three straight games for the first time since sweeping the Padres in the opening series.
"For me, [pressure] is always the key. If you can keep doing that, you'll break through eventually," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We finally broke through in that sixth inning pretty good."
Milwaukee overcame a huge homecoming for their former top prospect, outfielder Lewis Brinson, who homered off winning pitcher Chase Anderson in each of his first two at-bats. Brinson, traded to Miami with three other premium prospects in January for Christian Yelich, had a .131 average and no extra-base hits entering the night, but he tied the game at 1 to lead off the third inning and gave Miami a 3-2 lead with a two-run shot in the fifth.
The Brewers had answers, mostly bunched in a 10-run outburst between a go-ahead fifth inning and a seven-run sixth, which was interrupted by Marlins reliever Odrisamer Despaigne's forearm injury. Junichi Tazawa took over with a 2-2 count on Cain and surrendered a run-scoring double that extended Milwaukee's lead to 6-3. Four batters later, with two outs, Aguilar hit a two-run double, and Braun followed with a three-run home run. The next batter, Orlando Arcia, made it back-to-back homers.
In the sixth inning alone, the Brewers scored more runs than in all but one of their first 19 games -- an 8-6 win over the Padres on March 30 in which Braun's go-ahead, three-run homer capped a five-run ninth inning.
Entering Thursday, the Brewers were 26th in the Majors with 3.37 runs per game.
"Sometimes you just need one day like this to get everybody going," Braun said. "We know that we're a better offense than we've shown to this point. It's a matter of going out there and doing it."
The Brewers' 12 runs were the most they'd scored in a home game since a Sept. 6, 2016, win over the Cubs. Along the way, Milwaukee set season highs with 13 hits and seven walks.
"The walks are a lot of times, to me, what defines the pressure," Counsell said. "The walks, he's throwing pitches. We're not chasing. It's disciplined. It's tough innings. The walks are a huge part of it, and they've been a bigger part of our offense the last few days."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Aguilar's two-out knocks: Aguilar began the season as the Brewers' third-string first baseman, but he's making the most out of limited at-bats for the second straight season. He matched his career high with three hits, all with two outs. They included a go-ahead double in the fifth inning and his two-run single in the big sixth, which extended the Brewers' lead to a comfortable 8-3.
"I thought [Aguilar's] two-out hit there was the one that really broke it open," Counsell said.
Said Aguilar: "I just have to wait for my turn, and whenever I've gotten my turn, I've been able to do my job. … [Two-out hits] definitely help an offense. We've all felt that eventually it was going to come."
Grand milestone: Braun, limited to bench duty by a sore right calf, delivered the dagger with his second career pinch-hit home run. It made him the 284th player in Major League history to reach 1,000 career RBIs.
"It was definitely a cool way to accomplish a pretty special number," Braun said. More >
HE SAID IT
"I hadn't hit a ball hard like that in a while. Everybody knew it and so did I. It felt good." -- Brinson, who had one hit in his last 36 at-bats before his consecutive home runs
"I feel like if I'm rolling, I'm kind of getting the team going. I had a good night. I'm trying to set the tone. -- Cain, after he followed a first-inning walk by hitting two doubles and a home run for his first extra-base hits since April 6 against the Cubs
Jhoulys Chacin will make attempt No. 5 at victory No. 1 when he starts Friday's 7:10 p.m. CT game against the Marlins at Miller Park. Chacin says his slider, his key pitch, has gotten better in recent starts, but he has pitched past the fifth inning only once in his first four outings. The Marlins' starter is right-hander Trevor Richards, an Illinois native who worked in guest relations at the nearby Miller Brewery in Milwaukee as recently as February 2017.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.