In the Brewers' 3-2 win over Corey Kluber and the Indians on Tuesday at Miller Park, Suter took over in emergency relief for injured starter Wade Miley with one out in the first inning, made a highlight-reel defensive play in the second and crushed his first career home run off the Tribe's ace in the third, a projected 433-footer, according to Statcast™, off the batter's eye in center field for what would prove the game's decisive run.
Travis Shaw also homered off Kluber before Suter, Jeremy Jeffress, Dan Jennings and Josh Hader covered the final 8 2/3 innings for Milwaukee following Miley's abrupt exit with a right oblique injury. Hader earned his fifth multi-inning save.
Suter, the 28-year-old, soft-tossing Harvard product known as "The Raptor" because of his trademark running style, earned the win with 4 2/3 innings of effective emergency relief. He surrendered two earned runs on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts, hurt only by solo home runs by Jose Ramirez in the third inning and Francisco Lindor in the fifth. Suter got back one of those runs with his first career home run and was mobbed by his teammates in the Brewers' dugout.
"I see [Kluber] pitch on TV all the time, because he's kind of must-see TV," Suter said. "So I went up there, saw the ball up a little bit, kind of put the bat on the ball, and after that, it was just Cloud Nine, like 'Angels in the Outfield.' It was fun. Man, it was a good time."
Suter's home run is the fifth-longest home run by a pitcher recorded by Statcast™. It was the first home run for a Milwaukee pitcher since Tyler Cravy connected against the Pirates on Aug. 27, 2016. Like Suter, Cravy was working in relief that day.
The last left-handed-hitting pitcher to homer for the Brewers was CC Sabathia, against the Reds on July 13, 2008. It was Sabathia's second start for Milwaukee after a trade from Cleveland.
"You just have to tip your hat," said Kluber. "He went out there and got it, put a good swing on it and hit a home run."
Suter's contributions were not limited to the batter's box. In the first inning, he inherited a pair of baserunners from Miley with one out and Cleveland cleanup hitter Michael Brantley in a 1-0 count. Suter escaped without allowing a run to score.
In the second, the Indians again put a pair of runners on base with one out before Suter dove off the mound to catch Kluber's bunt attempt. From his backside, Suter threw to second base to double up Brandon Guyer and end the threat.
"It's sometimes a little awkward-looking and different-looking, as that dive showed you in the [second] inning, but he's a strong man," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I don't think anybody expected [the home run], but he put a good swing on the ball."
Of Suter's pitching, Counsell said, "The first inning, he walks into a jam. There's runners on base, tough hitters, the middle of their lineup, and he gets out of that inning. He just did a nice job. He pitched out of a couple of jams and got us through the fifth inning, which is as much as I could have expected."
Suter began the season in Milwaukee's rotation before shifting to the bullpen when Miley returned from a groin injury. With Miley injured after parts of two starts, Suter is a candidate to reclaim that spot.
"Crazy night, but at the same time, that's what I'm there for," Suter said. "It was a lot of fun tonight. I'll never forget it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Shaw smash: Shaw was in a 4-for-42 funk as he stepped to the plate against Kluber with two outs and Ryan Braun aboard in a scoreless first inning. Kluber hung a curveball right down the middle and Shaw didn't miss it, sending his seventh home run to the right-field seats to tie injured first baseman Eric Thames' team lead.
"It's just nice to make contact," Shaw said. "[Kluber] was battling a little bit. I don't think he had his 'A' stuff tonight."
SOUND SMART According to Stats, Inc., Suter is only the third relief pitcher to homer off a reigning Cy Young Award winner. The others were the Phillies' Turk Farrell off Don Newcombe in 1957, and the Reds' Clay Carroll off Bob Gibson in 1969.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS It didn't have the same ending as Jesus Aguilar's 13-pitch, walk-off home run last month against the Marlins, but Manny Pina's battle with Indians reliever Zach McAllister in the eighth was just as epic. It spanned 15 pitches, including 12 foul balls, one of which was catchable but dropped by Cleveland first baseman Edwin Encarnacion for an error. McAllister finally ended it with a curveball for a called third strike.
It was the longest at-bat by a Brewer since Jeromy Burnitz battled Phillies right-hander Steve Montgomery for 15 pitches on July 7, 1999. Burnitz struck out swinging.
HE SAID IT "I think [Indians outfielder Rajai] Davis tossed it into the stands. He didn't know it was my first home run, but the fan gave it back to me. I met them in the back tunnel. It was really cool to give it back to me. I thank them a lot." -- Suter, on getting his home run ball
UP NEXT Junior Guerra will try to bounce back from a poor start against the Pirates when he takes the mound for Wednesday's two-game Interleague series finale against the Indians at 12:10 p.m. CT at Miller Park. Guerra had surrendered two earned runs in 22 innings over his first four starts before struggling with fastball command to the tune of five earned runs on six hits in five innings against Pittsburgh. He'll work opposite Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco.