Any questions about when the Brewers offense was going to come alive can be put aside – at least for now.
The Brew Crew’s bats were on full tilt in the final game at Great American Ballpark to pick up a win for Milwaukee starter Zack Greinke.
Greinke did not have his best stuff today, but it was enough to keep the hard-hitting Cincinnati lineup at bay as Milwaukee salvaged one victory from the Reds before heading back to Miller Park.
Perhaps the most surprising part about today’s 8-4 win over the Reds wasn’t the hitting itself, but rather who was doing it. Ryan Braun got a day off today, and Aoki took his spot in left field. It was a bit of different look for Milwaukee – a lineup filled with more contact hitters than power to face off against Cincy’s starter Homer Bailey.
The move paid off.
Aoki knocked two hits on the day and scored two runs. In fact, every Milwaukee Brewer save for Nyjer Morgan managed to collect a total of 11 hits on the day – including a two-run home run by Rickie Weeks that gave Milwaukee the intial lead. Weeks has managed to hit safely now in seven of his last ten games.
The early part of the game was filled with Brewers offense, which picked up a slightly off day from Greinke. While Greinke still managed to go six innings en route to a victory, he gave up two earned runs and only struck out three. It was no consequence, however, as Milwaukee’s bats from the second to the fourth compiled five runs, including an RBI single for Ramirez and two-run home run from Cody Ransom to left-center in the following inning.
The bullpen even played its part in securing the victory. Kameron Loe continued to seem a steadfast member of the bullpen with a shutout seventh inning that included a strikeout. Francisco Rodriguez gave up a run, but worked himself out of a jam to keep Cincinnati out of reach for a win. Livan Hernandez came into finish the game – but by then it was all but of reach, even with the last-ditch home run by Ryan Ludwick in the leadoff spot.
Before Livan was able to strike out the final two batters, the Milwaukee Brewers did what fans had
been waiting for the whole season – they put the game away in the ninth. Martin Maldonado singled to start off the inning, then a break finally went Milwaukee’s way as a sacrifice bunt from Cody Ransom led to a throwing error, allowing both runners to reach safely with no outs. After Gomez grounded into a double play – Ishikawa managed to plate Maldonado with a line-drive single. Three straight walks followed to score two more runners before the inning ended and the Brewers would tally eight total runs after the the three run inning.
It wasn’t a flashy way to bury an opponent, but it was smart baseball played by a team that looked cool under pressure. It was the type of inning that signified everything that could go right for Milwaukee this year – play smart, give the pitchers a chance to do well, and good things can happen.
A few home runs never hurt, either.