The Milwaukee Brewers kicked off a new era today as brand new Manager Craig Counsell opened his managerial career with a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. It seemed a tall task from the beginning as the Brewers squared off against 3 time Cy Young Award Winner and reigning National League MVP Clayton Kershaw.
The first batter to face the Brewers under the new manager deposited a long fly ball into the right field bleachers to put the Dodgers ahead 1-0. Joc Pederson took Kyle Lohse deep on a 1-1 pitch for his 7th home run of the season.
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The Dodgers would add two more in their half of the 4th. Lohse hit the first batter of the inning and struck out the next. The next two hitters would hit singles, highlighted by Yasmani Grandal knocking in Adrian Gonzalez. Next batter up, Juan Uribe hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Andre Ethier, and putting the Dodgers ahead 3-0.
The Brewers finally got on the board in the bottom of the 6th. Hector Gomez opened the inning by hitting a line drive down the right field line and legging out a triple, the first of his young career. Gerardo Parra was up next, pinch-hitting for Neal Cotts. The first pitch from Kershaw was lined over the center fielders head and off the wall. Parra legged out a triple of his own and brought the Brewers to within 2, 3-1. Carlos Gomez was next up and lined a one-hopper right at the third baseman, who threw home cutting down Parra, and hurting the Brewers chances of cutting into the lead further.
The Brewers rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the 8th with Hector Gomez hitting the first home run of his career; a solo shot off of Kershaw with one out, cutting the lead to 1. Adam Lind pinch hit for Michael Blazek and ripped a double into the right field gap, ending Kershaw’s night. Carlos Gomez welcomed in Dodgers reliever Chris Hatcher with a ringing double into the left-center field gap, scoring Lind and tying the game at 3. Ryan Braun came up with 2 outs and Carlos Gomez standing on 3rd base. His bat exploded as he swung, producing a slow roller to the third baseman. Braun was ruled safe at first, a call which was promptly challenged by the Dodgers. The call was upheld however, and the Brewers took a 4-3 advantage on the RBI single.
Kershaw was sharp for most of the night, surrendering just 3 hits through the first 7 innings of the game. He struck out 8 Brewers batters and didn’t allow a walk on the night. It seemed that he was on cruise control and poised to go the distance until the Brewers got to him in the 8th. He failed to pick up his 100th career victory, as he ended with a no-decision. His final line was 7 1/3 innings pitched, 3 runs, all earned, and 5 hits surrendered, 4 for extra bases.
Lohse worked his way through 5 innings and picked up a no-decision. He surrendered 3 runs, all earned, while striking out 4. He allowed just 4 hits but also walked 3 batters on the game. Lohse has struggled mightily so far this season after being pegged as the opening day starter. His ERA dropped to 7.01 on the season, which still stands as the highest ERA on the team.
Blazek was solid once again for the Brewers as he pitched the 7th and 8th innings. He struck out 3 and walked 2, while lowering his ERA to 0.69 and improving to 2-0 on the season. Francisco Rodriguez picked up the save for the second game in a row, his 5th of the season and the 353rd of his career. He is now just 5 behind Troy Percival for 9th on the all-time list. Rodriguez retired the side in order, recording 2 strikeouts.