Davies tagged for six runs
After using eight relief pitchers the previous night to cover nine innings of a “bullpen game,” the Milwaukee Brewers felt good about having their top winner, Zach Davies, take the mound Saturday night against Miami.
Nothing is guaranteed in baseball, however, and Davies turned in one of his worst outings of the season at an inopportune time.
With Davies allowing six runs over four innings — his shortest outing of the season — the Brewers never recovered and lost to the Marlins, 7-4, at Miller Park in the second game of the relocated series from hurricane-stricken Miami.
Every loss hurts this time of year when you’re chasing teams for playoff berths. The Brewers fell four games behind Chicago
in the NL Central with 14 to play, and 31⁄2 games behind Colorado for the second wild-card berth.
Earlier in the season, Davies was having so much trouble in the first inning at home, he altered his routine to give him more time on the bench before taking the mound. That was not an issue in this game because as the “road” team, the Brewers batted first.
Nevertheless, Davies found immediate trouble as the first four batters collected hits and scored runs. Dee Gordon got it started with a bunt hit and Giancarlo Stanton followed with a chopper over first baseman Jesús Aguilar, an unusual hit for the slugger.
Christian Yelich lined a 3-2 changeup to center for a RBI single that tied the score, 1-1. Marcell Ozuna then ripped an opposite-field hit to right, sending home Stanton. Justin Bour lined out to deep center for a sacrifice fly, and J.T. Realmuto lined out to third, Derek Dietrich singled to make it 4-1.
Davies’ command issues continued in the second as Bour doubled with one down and Dietrich hammered a first-pitch changeup out to right with two outs for a tworun homer that put the Marlins on top, 6-1. Miami entered the game with six consecutive losses and 16 in their last 18 games.
The Brewers chiseled a couple of runs off that lead with two swings of the bat in the sixth. Ryan Braun led off with an opposite-field homer to right and Travis Shaw followed with one to almost the same spot, his 30th of the season. Both shots came off sliders from Conley, who didn’t make it through the inning.
The Brewers went on to load the bases with two down before reliever Junichi Tazawa retired Hernán Pérez on a pop fly to shallow right to allow Miami to escape with a 6-3 lead.
The Marlins tacked a run onto that lead in the seventh. With two on and one out, former starter Matt Garza replaced Oliver Drake to make his first relief outing since 2015 and only the fifth of his 12-year career.
Garza retired Ozuna on a fly to center but Bour lined a RBI single to right to make it 7-3. BEHIND THE BOX SCORE
■ Davies was given an extra day of rest before his start, which conveniently lines up his next outing against the Cubs in a huge four-game series at home. Manager Craig Counsell said the matchup against Chicago was not the No. 1 priority, however.
“He had pitched four or five in a row on the standard four days of rest,” Counsell said. “So, I thought it was better to give him the extra day now, then make three more starts on regular rest.
“That does put him in the Cubs series but I thought this was the time to give him the extra day. The No. 1 thing is that Zach is effective for the next four starts. That’s what’s most important.” STAT SHEET
■ With the Marlins pitching a lefty, Counsell had his hottest bat on the bench: left-handed hitting Eric Thames, who had homered in three consecutive games and was batting .467 (7 for 15) over a five-game hitting streak. Thames was smoked on the right hand Friday night by a fastball from Jarlin García and was wearing a compression bandage but said he was ready to play.
“He’s gotten hot,” Counsell said. “He’s putting
good swings on the pitches he gets to hit. It sounds simple but we don’t know when that’s going to happen. That’s why you stay consistent with hard work and put yourself in a position to let it happen. And it’s happening at a big time of year for us. With his power, he can impact games really fast, and we’ve seen him do it.”
Thames pinch hit in the ninth with no one on base and the Brewers trailing, 7-3, and struck out.
■ Friday was only the fourth time in franchise history the Brewers “homered for the cycle” (bases empty, two-run, threerun, grand slam) with exactly four home runs. TAKEAWAY
Having burned through eight relief pitchers Friday on a “bullpen day,” the Brewers were looking for a long, productive outing from their top winner, Zach Davies. Instead, he gave them a short, unproductive outing and the Brewers never recovered. RECORD
This year: 78-70 (42-34 home; 36-36 away)
Last year: 66-82 ATTENDANCE
Saturday: 25,079 NEXT GAME
Sunday: Brewers vs. Marlins, 1:10 p.m. Milwaukee RHP Brandon Woodruff (1-2, 3.14) vs. Miami LHP Dillon Peters (0-1, 2.50). TV: FS Wisconsin. Radio: AM-630.