Yuni's slam breaks open laugher for Lohse, Crew
Betancourt provides sizable cushion for righty with fifth-inning blast
SEATTLE -- The Brewers enjoyed their best night at the plate in months, and manager Ron Roenicke was forced to watch most of it on TV.
Ejected amid his team's go-ahead rally, Roenicke was in the clubhouse when Jeff Bianchi's bloop hit gave the Brewers a lead in the fourth inning on Friday, and when Yuniesky Betancourt belted a grand slam against his former team to highlight a five-run fifth. It was the biggest of the Brewers' 11 hits in a 10-5 win over the Mariners at Safeco Field.
"They were giving me a hard time about, 'That's what happens when they take my bat out of the lineup,'" said Brewers starter Kyle Lohse, who happily let Jonathan Lucroy take his spot as the designated hitter. "I didn't take too kindly to that, because my .140 batting average is scary."
He sold himself short. Lohse is hitting .167.
Limited to mound work, Lohse held the Mariners to three runs in seven innings with seven strikeouts for his team-leading 15th quality start, and was backed by the Brewers' first double-digit run output since June 12 in Miami. All but two of those runs scored after Roenicke was ejected for arguing the umpires' process on a fan interference call which temporarily took the Brewers' go-ahead run off the scoreboard.
Roenicke still managed to enjoy the show.
"Any time you score 10 runs, it's a great offensive day," he said.
Roenicke was sent to the showers for the second time this season -- Roenicke's other ejection was April 26 in San Diego -- after home-plate umpire Dan Bellino sent Carlos Gomez back to third base on the interference call in the decisive fourth inning. When play resumed, Bianchi blooped a single for a 3-2 lead and Martin Maldonado added insurance with a two-run double. In the five-run fifth inning that followed, Betancourt hit his second grand slam of the season and the sixth of his career. He owns both of the Brewers' slams this season.
The Brewers played their first regular season game in Seattle since 1997, but for Betancourt. the surroundings were much more familiar. He played his first five Major League seasons for the Mariners before they traded him to the Royals in 2009.
"Always, when you hit a grand slam, you feel great, and especially today when you played here for five years," Betancourt said. "When you get a hit here, it feels a little more exciting."
Roenicke had a feeling Betancourt would say that.
"I think the adrenaline there is different," Roenicke said. "I know Jose Guillen, when he came back and played the Angels, I hated to see him come into the ballpark, because I knew he was going to really concentrate and get some hits. And he always did."
Betancourt's big swing knocked Seattle starter Joe Saunders from the game after 4 1/3 innings and nine runs, only four of which were earned due to three Mariners errors in the span of two innings. Two were charged to third baseman Kyle Seager, including the fielding miscue that led to the interference that led to Roenicke's ejection.
The Mariners have committed 19 errors in 20 games since the All-Star break.
"It's been frustrating. It's more frustrating as we continue on," acting Mariners manager Robby Thompson said. "Joe Saunders didn't pitch that bad, he got ground balls and we didn't make plays behind him. A little careless. [Seager has] had a rough stretch here as of late."
Lohse matched a season high with seven strikeouts and is suddenly swimming in runs. The Brewers have scored at least five runs in each of his last three starts, though Lohse settled for no-decisions in the two outings prior to Friday's win. With seven victories in his last eight decisions, Lohse's record is above .500 (8-7) for the first time this season. Milwaukee has won his last five starts.
"It's been a while, hasn't it, since we score that many early?" Lohse said. "It was kind of nice for myself to be able to relax a little bit on the mound. You don't want to take yourself out of what you do. You try to pitch every inning like it's 0-0, and that's what I was able to do, but in the back of your mind you think, 'One pitch isn't going to kill me here.' It feels nice to have one of those games every once in a while."
Since the beginning of June -- Lohse was bothered in May by elbow soreness -- the right-hander owns a 2.49 ERA and a .226 opponents' batting average in 86 2/3 innings.
"We've been playing some good baseball, and then some not so good," Lohse said. "We just need to be a little more consistent and finish out the year doing some good things."