In the rubber match of the series between the Brewers and White Sox, it was hard to tell what to make of the game before the first pitch.
Two rookie pitchers faced off today – Michael Fiers for Milwaukee and the hard-throwing Jose Quintana for the Sox – and the young guns did not disappoint in a match-up that required extra innings. Both pitchers went deep into the game with no run support.
In the end, however, Chicago’s bullpen was able to go one step further and a walk-off hit to center field sealed the series loss for the Brewers with a heartbreaking final score of 1-0.
Though the one-run score might make you think it was a lazy Sunday at the ballpark, there was more than enough excitement packed in to warrant extra innings. Michael Fiers got his fourth start of the season today against a hard-hitting Chicago line-up, and he managed to shut down nearly all of them. Fiers pitched seven and one-thirds innings and struck out seven, while only giving up five hits and one walk in a masterful performance – one he needed with the Brewers facing questions over their line-up and rotation in the coming days. He was in perfect command of his pitches the whole way through, and only two White Sox managed to reach second base until his exit.
It was a definitive statement about the pitcher Fiers is – aggressive, fearless, and extremely talented. He managed to shut down two of the best hitters in the American League at every outset, both average leader Paul Konerko and home run leader Adam Dunn both put up zeroes against the rookie.
Milwaukee’s offense could not support Fiers, however, thanks to a brilliant performance by Chicago rookie Jose Quintana. Quintana pushed his start into the 8th inning, With six hits and four K’s of his own on his way to a no decision. Several times Milwaukee threatened, but as usual it was simple lapses in judgement that caused the game to continue in a hotly-contested fashion. In the fourth inning Aoki was gunned down trying to stretch a two-out double into a triple, and later in the game with relief pitcher Addison Reed struggling, Nyjer Morgan was caught dead to rights on a late steal attempt. Corey Hart was on first, and Reed delivered a 2-2 breaking ball to Kottaras. Nyjer got a late jump, and for the second time in the game the third Milwaukee out was made at third base.
Milwaukee’s bullpen started out beautifully, with Francisco Rodriguez securing a Mike Fiers no decision
with two consecutive strikeouts after Fiers left the game with runners on second and third. Jose Veras would come in with the score tied at zero in the ninth. He would load the bases after inducing a double play, only to see a pop-out end the inning and send the game to extra frames. With the Brewers failing to score off Brian Bruney – who would walk two and strike out two on his way to his first victory of 2012 – it was up Manny Parra to help the game continue.
Parra failed to find him command, falling behind White Sox hitters. Parra gave up a lead-off double to begin the at-bat, and Gomez would keep the runner at second after securing the first out. Adam Dunn would walk to set up a double play. Konerko was replaced by Brandon Lillibridge earlier in the game, so pinch hitter Eduardo Escobar stepped to the plate. He would drive a Manny Parra fastball to deep center field to end the second extra-inning game of the series, this time in favor of the White Sox.
The Brewers drop to 33-39 on the year, but with Cincinnati losing earlier today should remain near six and a half games out of the lead. The Crew’s record continues to disappoint, especially in one-run and extra inning games where they sit at 12-15 and 4-6, respectively. It was another close game filled missed opportunities and left Brewers fans saying “what if?”