Adames ties Crew record, then Mitchell walks it off

September 17th, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- On Robin Yount’s 67th birthday, Willy Adames joined “The Kid” in the Brewers’ record books and sparked Milwaukee’s biggest comeback all season. In the end, it took a kid to win it.

Adames matched Yount’s single-season franchise record for home runs as a shortstop with a three-run shot for his 29th that started a comeback from a five-run deficit in a 7-6 walk-off win over the Yankees at American Family Field. More than records right now, the Brewers need victories, and for that, Garrett Mitchell delivered a two-out, two-strike single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to end a marathon game that see-sawed over the final two innings.

“I was standing on deck with a helmet on and no bat or batting gloves, just in case I had to direct traffic at the plate or something,” Christian Yelich said. “I had a front row seat for his walk-off. A huge hit and a huge win for us.”

The Brewers needed it to keep pace in the National League Wild Card race. They are 1 1/2 games behind the Padres for the final berth with 18 games to play.

Like Yelich nine years ago in Miami, Mitchell is a former first-round Draft pick who arrived in the Majors with much fanfare and learned how difficult the game can be. Yelich started his big-league career 6-for-33. Mitchell was 4-for-31 in the big leagues through his first three plate appearances on Friday before knocking an infield single to aid the Brewers’ first go-ahead rally in the eighth inning, then lining a 1-2 breaking ball over the head of Yankees closer Clay Holmes to win the game in the ninth.

It was the first walk-off RBI for a Brewers rookie since Keston Hiura homered to beat the Cubs on July 27, 2019.

“For me, going up there, I really don’t have anything to lose,” Mitchell said. “Yeah, you can look back at what’s happened to this point and the at-bats that I’ve had. For me, going up there and thinking about those or worrying about those is not going to help me in that situation. You just have to continue to look forward and look for those opportunities.”

Said Brewers manager Craig Counsell: “We’ve put him in the middle of really big games, and you have to just keep learning and you have to keep using every experience to make you a little bit better, to take something from it. Then, you just have to stay in the fight.”

The Brewers had to fight all night after starter Adrian Houser fell into a 5-0 deficit by the second inning and required 85 pitches to get through three innings, allowing seven hits and four walks while inducing only three swings and misses. That put the Brewers in a tough spot. Before Friday, their biggest comeback in a victory was four runs on May 18 in this ballpark, where they erased a 4-0 deficit to beat the Braves.

Adames led this comeback by driving in five of the Brewers’ first six runs. He hit a three-run home run off Yankees starter Frankie Montas in the second inning, an RBI double that chased Montas in Milwaukee’s two-run fourth, then hit a ground ball in the eighth that New York shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa booted for a go-ahead error.

The home run was good for some franchise history. Yount hit 29 home runs as the Brewers’ shortstop in 1982, the year he won his first American League MVP Award. Adames has 29 home runs this season, all while playing shortstop, with 18 team games to go. Bill Hall holds the club record for most home runs as a primary shortstop with 35 in 2006, but Hall hit eight of them while playing other positions.

“I think shortstop has morphed more into a power position now than it had been in the past, so Robin hitting 29 homers then is a huge deal. For Willy to be able to match him, I’m sure it’s pretty special for him,” Yelich said.

Adames gave the Brewers the lead in the eighth by simply putting a ball in play, but it was short-lived. Counsell had deployed closer Devin Williams against the top of the Yankees’ order -- right-handed hitters Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres -- and instead of sending Williams back for Josh Donaldson in the ninth, he called for Taylor Rogers, a lefty. Donaldson promptly homered off the left-field foul pole.

Rogers kept the score at 6, however, and Mitchell & Co. pushed ahead again in the ninth.

“You’re down 5-0 quickly and you have a lot of game left,” Counsell said. “We knew we were going to have to use a lot of bullpen tonight the way the game started for Adrian, so just to come back from that, any time of the year, it takes a big effort from a lot of people and a lot of people doing a great job the rest of the game.

“That’s what we got. We got a whole bunch of people doing really good stuff, and it led to a really good win.”