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Fiers does enough in win to hold spot in rotation

Brewers starter allows 1 earned run, strikes out 6 in 4 innings

MILWAUKEE -- Mike Fiers remains the only member of the Brewers' five-man rotation without a quality start. But he made the big pitches in a four-inning outing against the Cardinals on Sunday to avoid another blow-up, and, for now, the Brewers have no plan to alter their pitching rotation after the win.

"We talk about things all the time but Fiers has proven for a couple different years that he deserves the opportunity," manager Ron Roenicke said. "How far that opportunity takes you, I'm not sure, but the conversations haven't been there yet."

Five days after becoming the first Major Leaguer in five seasons to surrender multiple grand slams in the same game during a loss to the Reds, Fiers allowed only two Cardinals runs (one earned) despite nine hits and two walks in four innings. He escaped a pair of bases-loaded jams and stranded eight baserunners over the first three frames, allowed an unearned run in the fourth inning but stranded another runner, then grooved a fastball to former Brewer Mark Reynolds for a home run leading off the fifth.

Because Reynolds' long blast cut the Brewers' lead to 3-2, Roenicke made an early call to the bullpen. Fiers was finished after 89 pitches.

"I made some big pitches when it really mattered and got out of some tough innings," Fiers said, dressed in a bright orange tuxedo from the film 'Dumb and Dumber.'" Fiers said it was an inside joke in the clubhouse.

Because of those escapes, he was pleased.

"I just got back to being me, using my fastball," Fiers said. "I think early on, I was messing around too much, trying to fool them and trick them instead of going right after them. They had a couple hits that I didn't think were solid hits, but that's baseball. I was going back to being me, challenging these guys and trusting my fastball and trusting it in the zone."

His ERA after four starts is 5.79, and Fiers is winless in his last seven starts dating back to last season. The victory Sunday went to reliever Michael Blazek, the first of Blazek's Major League career, after two scoreless innings lowered the right-handed long reliever's ERA to 0.90 in eight appearances.

With Blazek pitching so well, all the way back to Spring Training, might the Brewers consider giving him a start?

Not yet, Roenicke said.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy.
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