MILWAUKEE -- After a miserable stretch for the Brewers in which everything imaginable went wrong, this was a night when everything went just right.In a come-from-behind, 4-2 win over Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Saturday at Miller Park, Ryan Braun returned from the disabled list and scored twice --
MILWAUKEE -- After a miserable stretch for the Brewers in which everything imaginable went wrong, this was a night when everything went just right.
In a come-from-behind, 4-2 win over Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Saturday at Miller Park, Ryan Braun returned from the disabled list and scored twice -- reaching base on one Dodgers error and scoring the go-ahead run on another. Christian Yelich stayed hot with a tying home run. Rookie Corbin Burnes extinguished a bases-loaded, no-out jam on the way to his first Major League win in his home debut.
And relief ace Josh Hader, a day after he tearfully apologized for the offensive tweets he sent as a teenager, returned to the hill in front of a forgiving home crowd. Hader pitched two scoreless innings, striking out four batters, including all three Dodgers he faced in the eighth.
It added up to the end of a seven-game losing streak for the Brewers, who are now 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs, who split a doubleheader with the Cardinals on Saturday, in the National League Central.
"I feel like you just need one, just to get some positive vibe back on the team," Yelich said. "You break through, you can take a deep breath and be like, 'All right, we got back on the right side of things and now we can just try and build off that.'"
The night began poorly for the Brewers and right-hander Chase Anderson, who slogged through a 43-pitch first inning extended by seven extra pitches when Braun strayed too far from first base on a routine grounder to second. But the Dodgers mustered only two runs in the inning and stranded the bases loaded, positioning Milwaukee for a comeback against Kershaw.
Rookie right-hander Burnes showed moxie when he took over from Anderson with the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth inning and authored an escape in his first appearance at Miller Park. He stayed in the game to pitch a scoreless sixth and was rewarded with the victory when the Brewers rallied against Kershaw for three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Yelich led off the sixth with his 12th home run for a 2-2 tie, and Braun kept it going with a one-out double. He scored the go-ahead run when pinch-hitter Manny Pina's two-out bouncer dipped below third baseman Player Page for Max Muncy's glove for the second of three Dodgers errors. Keon Broxton made Muncy and the Dodgers further pay with an RBI triple.
"The sixth inning just spun out of control," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "All night long, we just didn't play a clean game or the type of baseball we're capable of."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Milwaukee's three-run sixth inning decided the game, but the Brewers pointed to Burnes' impressive escape in the previous inning as the game's turning point.
Anderson had recovered nicely from his long first inning and the Brewers had halved the deficit to 2-1 before a four-pitch walk to Kershaw to lead off the fifth produced trouble. When the Dodgers loaded the bases with nobody out, Brewers manager Craig Counsell called for 23-year-old Burnes, Milwaukee's top pitching prospect who only recently started dabbling in relief and had pitched only twice previously in the Major Leagues.
"His first outing, he pitched the eighth inning of a game we were up by two runs," Counsell said. "We decided a while ago that he was going to have to pitch these innings. We don't know a ton about him, but as a player who's been drafted not long ago and has gone fast through the Minor Leagues, he's experienced a lot already, and he's shown he can handle a lot. There's a little trust there."
Burnes rewarded that trust. He got one big out when Kershaw tried to score on a pitch that got away from catcher Erik Kratz, but he was out at home with Burnes covering.
Burnes then struck out Matt Kemp and retired Muncy on a flyout to end the inning with no runs scored.
"The key was getting the first [out]," Burnes said. "Kratz knew exactly how we were going to attack Kemp and Muncy. Getting that first one out of the way, knowing I had to face Kemp and then Muncy ... we were able to get to get out of that with a momentum shift and turn the game around."
Said Yelich: "Burnes was huge. He came in in a tough spot for us. That could have got away from us fast if he didn't come in and do what he did for us there."
Braun and Yelich are two of Kershaw's toughest outs in the Majors. Braun is now 11-for-35 against Kershaw, a .314 average that ranks fifth among players with at least 30 at-bats. Yelich, who homered in Tuesday's All-Star Game and delivered three extra-base hits on Friday night, added two hits Saturday against Kershaw, including the home run, and is 7-for-14 lifetime against the left-hander.
"Yeah, I don't want to talk about it," Yelich said with a laugh. "He's definitely a great pitcher, and if you look up some of those hits, they're not exactly lasers all over the yard. It's a lot of some infield lucky ones."
HADER BACK TO WORK
Hader's appearance came four days after he first apologized at the All-Star Game for his offensive tweets in 2011 and '12, and a day after he apologized again in front of teammates and local media. He was greeted with cheers from a crowd of 36,242.
"I'm not expecting that everybody's going to forgive me early," Hader said, "but I just hope that people see my true character today. I hope that I can show them that's not who I was."
Of getting back on the mound, Hader said, "This is what I love to do. It helps me clear my mind and that's really what I did today."
Hader struck out John Forsythe to open the seventh inning before working around a Kemp double. In the eighth, Hader struck out Justin Turner, Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger in order. Corey Knebel then worked the ninth for save No. 12.
"We had all the confidence in the world that Josh is going to pitch well," Counsell said. "He's a really good pitcher, and coming into the second half, he's going to be really important for us. He's made for spots like tonight. There were no questions there for me."
It's another matchup of left-handers on Sunday, as Brent Suter works for Milwaukee against the Dodgers' Alex Wood at 1:10 p.m. CT. Suter was on the 10-day disabled list earlier this month with forearm tightness, but he returned to pitch against the Pirates just before the All-Star break.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.