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Maldonado's run as starter ends in style

Catcher hits walk-off homer in final game filling in for Lucroy

MILWAUKEE -- Martin Maldonado's disappointing five-week run as the Brewers' starting catcher had a grand finale. Maldonado delivered the game-winning home run in the bottom of the 17th inning, collected three other hits, scored two runs and drove in another in a 7-6 win over the D-backs.

Maldonado caught all 17 innings and hit his first walk-off home run in the same game.

"I thought he was a different guy today. He needed to be a different guy," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I know Luc [Jonathan Lucroy] is coming back, but it was time for him to be a better version of himself."

Maldonado is expected back on the bench when Lucroy comes off the disabled list for a series opener in St. Louis on Monday.

At the same time, Maldonado expressed disappointment about his performance after Lucroy suffered a fractured left big toe on April 20. There was the Mother's Day walk-off hit, but Maldonado entered Sunday batting .168/.231/.224 during Lucroy's absence.

He also had two passed balls and five errors, including a drop on a play at the plate Saturday that cost the Brewers a run.

Video: [email protected]: Ahmed plates Owings with a double

Sunday was more like it for Maldonado. Other than the game-winning blast, he doubled and scored in the third inning, singled home a run in the fourth, and doubled and scored in the sixth inning as part of a go-ahead rally. In his 33rd start with Lucroy on the DL, it marked Maldonado's fourth multi-hit game.

"He had a heck of a game today," Counsell said. "He needed it."

Maldonado also delivered a defensive gem. With the teams tied again in the eighth following a Mark Trumbo home run, Maldonado dove out of his crouch to catch Jarrod Saltalamacchia's foul tip, completing a strikeout for Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress. All of this coming while catching all 17 innings.

Video: [email protected]: Maldonado dives to snag foul tip, secures K

"I am tired. I'm glad Luc is coming back tomorrow," Maldonado said. "I was just grinding it out for 17 innings."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
Read More: Milwaukee Brewers, Martin Maldonado