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With quick pace, Davies dominant in 1st win

Brewers rookie gives up one run in seven innings with 4 K's, no walks

MIAMI -- He's six feet tall, weighs 160 pounds, wears a baby face and entered his Labor Day start at Marlins Park with all of 4 1/3 innings on his big league ledger. Yet Brewers rookie Zach Davies was in total control Monday on the way to his first Major League win.

The 22-year-old kept the Marlins in check for seven innings in his second Major League start, allowing only one run and four hits, walking none, striking out four and working with a quick pace that was just as welcomed by his teammates as was the quality pitching. Davies was doused with a celebratory mixture of Gatorade and Muscle Milk following the Brewers' 9-1 win.

"Lots of wins, lots of laughs," Davies said.

And it was the Brewers' seventh victory in eight games, a stretch that spans Davies' first two starts. Unlike his debut against the Pirates five days earlier, when Davies struggled his second time through the batting order, he cruised against Miami, using a better mix of his curveball and cutter in addition to his core fastball-changeup combination.

After allowing a leadoff single to Dee Gordon, Davies didn't allow another hit until the fifth inning, by which time the Brewers owned a 6-0 lead. Thirteen of his 21 outs came via ground balls, including eight in a row from the second inning to the fourth. A Brewers outfielder didn't record a putout until the final batter of Davies' day, when Derek Dietrich flew out to center field to end the seventh inning.

In six of Davies' seven innings, he faced the minimum three batters. Five of those innings went three up, three down.

"His pace is incredible," right fielder Ryan Braun said. "That's the type of guy you love to play defense behind. He works so quickly that as a hitter, you never have a chance to settle in. You see guys taking pitches because they're not prepared, or forcing swings because he works so quickly.

"It makes baseball a lot more enjoyable when guys are working that fast."

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy played a significant role. On Friday in Cincinnati, Lucroy and Davies spent time watching video of former Brewers right-hander Shaun Marcum, who featured a changeup similar to Davies and had the same habit of working quickly.

As batterymates on Monday, they put that study into play.

"I thought Luc did a tremendous job with [Davies] today, really got him into a rhythm," manager Craig Counsell said. "What he was good at today was, especially out of the windup, he was down all day. Everything was down."

The Marlins' only run scored in the fifth inning, when a trio of singles loaded the bases with one out. Davies' induced the ground ball he was looking for, but Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto made a nice take-out slide to prevent Brewers second baseman Elian Herrera from turning a double play.

With a win in the books, where is Davies' confidence level?

"It's through the roof," he said. "Just coming to a team that's welcoming, easy to work with. Any questions I have, they answer. You worry about baseball. It's awesome. There's nothing outside of baseball I feel I need to worry about."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
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