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Feliz flashes 100-plus-mph heat vs. Blue Jays

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

TORONTO -- Brewers closer Neftali Feliz reached back, quite literally, for a little extra on the way to saving a 4-3 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday at Rogers Centre in Toronto's home opener.

Feliz fired a 100.9-mph fastball to former American League MVP Award winner Josh Donaldson, who didn't start because of a calf injury but came off the bench to face Feliz during a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 inning. More than once, Feliz twisted his torso before delivering a pitch, a move made famous by Luis Tiant and more recently practiced by the Giants' Johnny Cueto.

Full Game Coverage

TORONTO -- Brewers closer Neftali Feliz reached back, quite literally, for a little extra on the way to saving a 4-3 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday at Rogers Centre in Toronto's home opener.

Feliz fired a 100.9-mph fastball to former American League MVP Award winner Josh Donaldson, who didn't start because of a calf injury but came off the bench to face Feliz during a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 inning. More than once, Feliz twisted his torso before delivering a pitch, a move made famous by Luis Tiant and more recently practiced by the Giants' Johnny Cueto.

Full Game Coverage

"It's something different," said Feliz, who first tried it last year with the Pirates. "Just trying to give the hitter a different view. Try to change his timing since he sees the same thing every time."

Donaldson had already fouled off a 99.8-mph pitch and was in a 2-2 count when Feliz threw his 100.9 fastball for Ball 3. It was his fastest pitch of the Statcast™ Era, and his fastest by pitch tracking data since Sept. 1, 2010, when he was a young flamethrower with the Rangers.

With the count full, Feliz channeled his inner Cueto. Twice in a row, he twisted his torso and threw a slider. Donaldson fouled the first one off, then fanned at the second for the second out of the inning.

"When you're in the bullpen, you know he's one of the best hitters in the league and you know they still have him in there," Feliz said. "You have to mentally prepare for that.

"You just try to keep the ball low and make him hit my pitch, not his pitch. Thankfully, it worked out."

Devon Travis followed Donaldson's strikeout with a game-ending flyout, giving Feliz his second save.

"He was outstanding tonight. There was another gear in him tonight," manager Craig Counsell said.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Milwaukee Brewers, Neftali Feliz