Crew wins in 14 despite 'weird baseball things'

Brewers K 24 times, but Yelich, Moose key breakthrough in extras

June 13th, 2019

HOUSTON -- The Brewers struck out 24 times, had three runners in scoring position all night and had one stretch where they whiffed six times in a row against a former Cy Young Award winner who was dealing all night.

And they still won the game.

There was little that was conventional about the Brewers' 6-3 win over the Astros in 14 innings Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park. They scored all but one of their runs on homers. They emptied their bullpen and found a way to silence one of the American League's best offenses for nearly seven straight innings. Only one of their 24 strikeouts didn't happen via a swing and a miss.

And save for three solo homers, they barely touched Justin Verlander.

And still -- after four hours and 15 minutes -- the Brewers were the ones celebrating this unusual victory.

"All those weird baseball things happen," said. "That's another example of it.”

Yelich, whose two-hit night extended his hitting streak to 10 games, said the 24-strikeout total was "kind of awesome," given the outcome.

"I bet you there's not too many times that teams struck out 24 times and won the game," he said.

This is actually the second time this season a team struck out 20-plus times and won. The Rockies did it first, on May 14, striking out 24 times against the Red Sox and winning, 5-4, in 11 innings.

"Twenty-four punchouts isn't what we were looking for, but we got a W," said. "We turned a negative into a positive and found a way to win against a good ballclub over there."

After surviving such unconventional circumstances for 13 innings, it was probably fitting that the two players that have carried this offense for much of the season were responsible for the Brewers breaking through in the final frame.

Yelich and Moustakas are accustomed to performing heroic acts. It just usually doesn’t take this long to get it done.

Yelich led off the inning with a base hit off Houston lefty Cionel Perez, and after Ryan Braun lined out to right, Moustakas connected with a 95 mph first-pitch fastball and sent it 435 feet to the seats in right-center, breaking the 3-3 tie.

Manager Craig Counsell commended Yelich for fighting through the at-bat after quickly finding himself in an 0-2 hole.

"In the 14th inning, that's a special at-bat," Counsell said. "It's tough when you're out there for four hours, and Yeli still made that at-bat important after getting down 0-2 to get on base and start something. And then Moose, my god … again, off a lefty. He hit that ball really well."

The homer was Moustakas' seventh off a left-hander this season. He has 21 long balls on the year.

"All night, you just have to get in there and know you have to get the job done," Moustakas said. "Their pitchers did a phenomenal job. I just got a good pitch to hit and didn't miss it."

Fifteen of the Brewers' 24 strikeouts were against Verlander, which took some of the shine off the three solo homers they managed off the ace right-hander. Braun hit a two-out shot on the first pitch in the first inning, and Yasmani Grandal led off the second with a homer to right on an 0-2 slider, the first Verlander slider to leave the park this season.

Verlander had struck out six Brewers hitters in a row when Eric Thames poked an opposite-field homer into the Crawford Boxes in left field, a 358-foot solo shot on a 1-2 fastball that tied the game at 3.

“We didn't have any scoring opportunities,” Counsell said. “The [solo] home runs -- well struck balls -- just helped us out.”

The last one by Moustakas, obviously, had a more lasting impact.

“We didn't really care who did it; we were rooting for anybody to get the job done,” Yelich said. “That's just how it worked out. It's a good win, a hard-fought win and I'm really happy for the guys. They stepped up.”