Hart drives in 3 to lead Brewers to win
If the Milwaukee Brewers plan another postseason run, they'll need all of their right fielder's contributions.
Hart drove in three runs on a double and a triple and saved at least two more with a diving catch for the Brewers, who rallied behind starter Jeff Suppan to beat the Chicago White Sox 7-2 Friday night.
"Obviously, you want to get hits, but to be able to save Soup from a couple of runs like that, he'd been getting out of some situations, any time you can help a pitcher out like that, especially when they're battling for you, it's a good feeling," Hart said.
It was finally a good feeling all around for the Brewers, who snapped a four-game losing streak even though they've stayed in first place in the NL Central through a 4-7 stretch. Four starters sat Thursday due to hitting slumps and the team came in batting .195 with runners in scoring position in the previous 10.
Milwaukee went 6-for-12 against the White Sox in those situations, but it was more of the same early in this one.
The Brewers trailed their former AL Central foes 2-0 after a run-scoring double by A.J. Pierzynski and an RBI single by Chris Getz in the fourth.
But Hart, one of the four starters benched, sparked a rally in the sixth after his diving catch of Getz's liner ended the top of the inning instead of pushing the lead to at least 4-0. Getz thought he would end up with an inside the park homer that would have put the White Sox up five runs.
"That totally changed the game. I was shocked that he caught it," Getz said. "I had an inside-the-park home run in spring training (this year) and I was thinking about it for a second and then he caught it. I said, 'No way.'"
Said Hart: "It was a gamble. If I miss it, everybody's scoring."
Instead, Hart broke out of his 4-for-30 slump at the plate moments later as the White Sox came unraveled to start their nine-game interleague road trip.
White Sox starter Clayton Richard, pitching on three days' rest for the first time, scattered four hits and committed a throwing error on Prince Fielder's dribbler to the mound to start the sixth.
Octavio Dotel came on and struck out Mike Cameron, but Hart hit a liner to left that ricocheted in the corner, allowing Fielder to score from first.
Dotel (1-2) struck out Bill Hall and intentionally walked Jason Kendall to bring up Suppan (5-4), who hit a bloop single to score Hart. Milwaukee made it 3-2 on Casey McGehee's single to left.
"I walked Kendall because I knew they wouldn't pinch hit for Suppan," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "But he blooped one and things went south from there."
The Brewers then blew it open in the seventh with Hart again leading the way.
After singles by Ryan Braun and Mike Cameron, Hart tripled off D.J. Carrasco and Hall, who had been 5 for 66 and also sat Thursday, singled to drive in Hart. McGehee added an RBI single to make it 7-2.
That was more than enough to pick up another solid effort by Suppan, who went 2 for 2 from the plate and got the first two outs of the seventh inning before being pulled for left-hander Mitch Stetter. Suppan gave up two runs off nine hits and did not walk a batter.