Tellez's 2 HRs a birthday gift for young Canadian fan

"I don’t know how we can top this birthday," said the mother of Xander Brown, 5

June 26th, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- All Xander Brown wanted for his fifth birthday was to meet his favorite former Blue Jay.

gave him so much more than that.

There was a meeting, a signed jersey and two home runs from Tellez in the Brewers’ 10-3 win over the Blue Jays on Sunday at American Family Field, giving Milwaukee a winning homestand and the Brown family an afternoon of memories they won’t soon forget. It’s safe to say that their long road trip from Ontario was worth it.

“He gave me something special,” Xander said. “I missed him since he left.”

The Blue Jays traded Tellez to the Brewers last July, and he’s since provided the jolt of left-handed power Milwaukee sought. That included home runs No. 12 and 13 this season on Sunday, as the Brewers hit their way out of a hole created by Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk’s three-run homer in the top of the first inning.

Tellez hit a two-run shot in Milwaukee’s three-run counterpunch in the bottom of the inning, and then another two-run blast in a go-ahead, five-run second as the Brewers roughed-up right-hander José Berríos, who has long given them trouble. Tellez added a walk in another late rally as Milwaukee scored in double digits at home for the first time since May 5 -- all with Xander watching from section 102 in a Brewers cap and shirt.

“He’s always loved Rowdy, and this year when the schedule came out, [the Blue Jays and Brewers] were actually playing on his birthday, so we thought, we have to do it,” said Christina Brown, Xander’s mother. “This is pretty much all he’s asked for since Rowdy got traded.”

Xander got more than he asked for. Tellez delivered his second multi-homer game this season and the seventh by a Brewer. And that was just the first two innings. 

“I’m not a superstar. I’m not a big figure in baseball,” Tellez said. “I have a cool name so people remember that. But I think what I do is I’m super relatable to people. I always tell people, ‘I’m a normal guy with a bad hairline who has a cool job.’ That’s really it.

“For me, it’s about inspiring the next generation. Xander turned 5 today, and who knows? Maybe in 20 years he’s in the big leagues. You always want to have an impact on people. When you understand it’s bigger than the game, it’s pretty cool.”

The Brewers needed a big game after Chi Chi González fell into an early deficit in his second spot start. González rebounded from a three-run first with three more scoreless innings, and four relievers combined to keep Toronto off the scoreboard the rest of the way.

That group included Trevor Gott and Jandel Gustave, making their first appearances since coming off the injured list. The Brewers’ pitching staff will get another arm back Tuesday at Tampa Bay, when starter Brandon Woodruff is scheduled to come off the IL.

“It’s a day where the offense really picked us up and gave us a great cushion,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Obviously, Rowdy had a big day but up and down the lineup a lot of guys did good things. They carried us today. They made pitchers’ jobs much easier.”

The Browns live in Kitchener and Waterloo, twin cities about an hour southwest of the Blue Jays’ home at Rogers Centre. They left at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday and spent about 11 hours on the road to fulfill Xander’s birthday wish, but didn’t know what to expect. Xander’s dad had reached out to the Brewers via Twitter with the request, and his mom said she didn’t make Xander any promises.

A member of the Brewers’ social media team told Tellez about the young boy on Sunday morning and gave him a jersey to sign. It was Tellez who asked to meet Xander.

“As soon as he saw Rowdy walk out, I was crying already,” said Christina.

And Xander?

“I was nervous, because with his autism he doesn’t do well with crowds,” she said. “I thought we’ll try our best. We made a sign and everything. And then when Rowdy came out, it was amazing.

“That just shows the type of person he is. He could have decided to sign the jersey and not come. He has no idea what that did for Xander.”

The home runs were the icing on the birthday cake.

“The first one, we’re in a crowd of Rowdy fans, so he was loving it,” Christina said of her son. “The second one, it was like, ‘Seriously?’

“I don’t know how we can top this birthday.”