Late power surge for the Brewers
“I was anxiously anticipating the clock to get past 6
o’clock,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “And it just seemed to happen right there at the sixth inning.”
Ryan Braun hit a two-run home run to jump-start a six-run sixth inning that helped Milwaukee beat the Washington Nationals, 7-1, Monday in a game that started at 4:35 p.m.
“That inning we took advantage of the pitches we did get to hit,” Braun said. “It was a good inning. Everybody contributed. It’s kind of how we’ve been offensively of late.”
The Brewers improved to 15-25 in day games, compared to a 46-38 mark at night. The big sixth inning in which 11 batters came to the plate helped them take three of four from the Nationals after being swept by Pittsburgh to start the trip.
Jody Gerut also homered and had three RBIs for Milwaukee. It was the first home run for Gerut since joining the Brewers in a trade from the Padres May 21. He had gone 90 at-bats without a home run before his solo shot in the eighth.
Yovani Gallardo (12-10) gave up one run on four hits and four walks in five innings. He struck out eight, and had thrown 108 pitches when Gerut came on to pinch-hit for him in the sixth.
“I kind of struggled there for the first couple innings,” Gallardo said. “We all knew my pitch count was up, I was going to go as deep as I could. Brauny hit that two-run home run and it opened the gates for us.”
Nationals starter Collin Balester (1-4) lasted just 1 1/3 innings in his last start Tuesday against the Rockies, the shortest stint of his career. He started off strong against the Brewers and had a career-high six strikeouts, but the end result was his third loss in as many starts.
The right-hander held the Brewers hitless until Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee hit back-to-back singles with one out in the fourth.
He took the mound for the sixth inning holding a 1-0 lead, but things changed in a hurry.
“Things tend to happen that way,” Gerut. “When you’ve got a quite a few bats in the order, the game can turn on a dime.”
Frank Catalanatto led off with a double, then Braun crushed a first-pitch fastball deep into the left-field seats.
“I kind of lost the rhythm a little bit,” Balester said. “I should have stepped back and recouped, but by that point I was out of the game.”
Balester gave way to Jason Bergmann after giving up another single to Fielder and walking McGehee. Bergmann walked Mike Cameron and gave up an RBI single to Jason Kendall before being pulled in favor of Ron Villone, who promptly allowed a two-run single to Gerut.
Milwaukee sent nine batters to the plate before Washington got an out, and even then Felipe Lopez drove in a run when he hit into a fielder’s choice.
The Nationals’ lone run was scored in the second. Willie Harris led off with a double. Alberto Gonzalez followed with a strikeout, but a wild pitch allowed him to reach first and Harris went to third. Harris then scored on a fielder’s choice by Wil Nieves.
Gallardo got out of several jams after giving up the run.
“We were definitely looking for that big hit,” Nationals outfielder Willie Harris said. “We couldn’t get it because he pitched well. That’s all there is to it.”
We ran into a monster today, tip your hat to him.”
-- Brewers manager Ken Macha gave infielder Craig Counsell the day off. Counsell is in an 0-for-11 slump and is hitting .214 (12 for 56) in August.
-- Braun is now 3-for-9 with two home runs when facing Balester.