If it was still too early to begin the #Kottaras4MVP train before Tuesday night, consider that no more.
With one swing of the bat, the Brewers backup catcher gave the Brewers a 5-4 victory over the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as increased the #Kottaras4MVP tweets to a total of four within 15 minutes of the hit.
Following a Corey Hart single, pinch runner Carlos Gomez stole second. Mat Gamel, who homered in the second inning, then put together an incredible at-bat and drew a walk. Jonathan Lucroy then failed to drop a bunt down and struck out on a nasty splitter from Dodgers closer Javy Guerra. Then Kottaras flashed his muscle.
Kottaras drilled a 2-2 slider into the right-center gap, easily plating Gomez. Gamel artfully then avoided the tag from Dodgers catcher AJ Ellis to plate the winning run and commence the celebration.
Los Angeles took a 4-3 lead in the eighth with a two-out, two-run home run off the bat of Andre Ethier against Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez.
Yovani Gallardo went seven strong innings for the Brewers, allowing only two runs and striking out seven. The effort from the Brewers right-hander lowered his era to 4.38, down over ten points from his 14.73 mark after Opening Day. Jose Veras (1-0) picked up the victory–his first in a Brewers uniform–after pitching a scoreless ninth. Guerra (1-1) blew his first save of the season and picked up the loss.
Kottaras’ walk off double keeps his torrid hitting going. Entering the game, the Brewers backup catcher was hitting .364 with three home runs and six RBI. His RBI total is now up to eight, tying Corey Hart for the team lead.
And all of this is from the team’s backup catcher.
Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke pulled all the right strings in the game. This, most definitely, should not go without note.
With Gamel on third and one out in the seventh inning, Roenicke called upon Norichika Aoki to pinch hit for Gallardo. Roenicke then called a suicide squeeze and Aoki executed it perfectly, breaking a 2-2 tie to give the Brewers the lead. The skipper picked the best bunter off the bench, called for the play in the ideal count, and it gave the Brewers a 3-2 advantage.
After the Hart single (no, not “Sunglasses at Night”…bad joke…), Gomez was called in to pinch run. The move may not have won the game directly for Milwaukee, but after the outfielder marginally swiped second base, Guerra was unable to find the strike zone against Gamel and walked him. Throughout the at-bat, Guerra was obviously occupied with Gomez’s speed on the basepaths, thus reducing his effectiveness against Gamel, who would score the winning run.
Kottaras’s double was not only a walk off double, but also a pinch-hit, walk off double. Roenicke lifted shortstop Cesar Izturis, who singled home a run in the second, for the left-handed power bat of Kottaras. The move slightly paid off. Slightly.
Gamel’s second inning homer was his first of the season. YOLO. (There will be more on the YOLO to come soon on RtB).