Fielder, Braun combine for 11 RBIs
Refusing to cave after falling down by five runs in the sixth inning, the Milwaukee Brewers roared from behind to overcome the Cleveland Indians, 14-12, in an interleague slugfest at Progressive Field.
As they have done so often for the Brewers, first baseman Prince Fielder and leftfielder Ryan Braun led the way, combining for 11 runs batted in. Fielder knocked in a career-high six runs, including his first career grand slam to highlight a six-run rally in the eighth inning.
Fielder even got the ball back from his first career grand slam when a fan at Progressive Field threw it into Milwaukee’s bullpen.
Everything just seemed to work out for the Brewers slugger on Monday night.
Fielder hit his 16th homer after two Indians relievers combined to walk the bases loaded.
“Good timing,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “We were pretty much out of it a couple of times, but the guys
Braun hit a homer, triple and single, drew a walk, scored four times and drove in five.
Craig Counsell, Casey McGehee and Braun, the first three batters in Milwaukee’s order, went a combined 7-for-13 and scored 10 times.
Todd Coffey (2-1) pitched 13 scoreless innings to pick up the win and Trevor Hoffman got three outs for his 16th save. Milwaukee has won five straight against the Indians in interleague play.
“Everybody feels better about themselves after a game like this,” Braun said. “It’s a special night, one of those nights you have to enjoy. They don’t come around very often.“
Victor Martinez, Shin-Soo Choo, Mark DeRosa and Travis Hafner homered for Cleveland. Hafner’s three-run shot in the sixth gave the Indians a 12-8 lead.
Milwaukee sent 11 batters to the plate in the eighth, taking advantage when Luis Vizcaino and Matt Herges walked the bases loaded for Braun and Fielder.
“It’s a situation where you come in and throw strikes,“” Herges said. “I didn’t do that. Period. That was on me. I’m better than coming in in the eighth inning with the lead and walking the first guy. That’s why I’ll have trouble sleeping tonight.“
The Brewers were aided by a Cleveland bullpen that had trouble throwing strikes. The quartet of Greg Aquino, Luis Vizcaino, Herges and Rafael Perez combined to allow six hits, six walks and eight runs in only 23 innings combined. Cleveland pitchers lead the majors with 261 walks allowed this season.
“Overall, we had a very bad night on the mound,” manager Eric Wedge said. “e continually put ourselves in tough situations. They kept coming and we kept making it all the tougher on ourselves. Eventually, they got us.”
Down, 12-7, after six innings, the Brewers took advantage of a Cleveland bullpen that had trouble throwing strikes. And when those relievers did throw strikes, they were blasted.
The Brewers’ six-run rally in the eighth was fueled by three consecutive one-out walks, the first two by Vizcaino and the third by Herges. After an infield RBI hit by Braun, Perez was summoned to face Fielder.
Fielder lined the first pitch he saw out to right-center for his first career grand slam and suddenly the Brewers had the lead. Mat Gamel later singled in a run and the Brewers turned a four-run deficit that frame into a two-run lead.
Brewers starter Dave Bush continued his recent slide with a dismal outing in which he allowed eight runs in 33 innings. Given a 2-0 lead in the first on Braun’s two-run homer and a 3-2 lead in the third on Fielder’s RBI single, Bush quickly wasted both.
Bush was tagged for a two-run homer by Choo in the second inning and a two-run shot by Marinez in the third. He was knocked out of the game during a four-run rally in the fourth in which four consecutive batters reached base with one out.
d ninth hitter Kelly Shoppach getting hit with a pitch.
After turning in quality starts in seven of his first eight appearances, Bush has been in steady decline over his last five outings. Over that span, he is 0-4 with an 8.64 earned run average, with 30 hits and 24 earned runs allowed in 25 innings.
“omehow mechanically I’m out of sync,”Bush said. “I can’t seem to get my arm and body on the same page.”
Added Macha: “He’s fighting himself with his delivery. He’s getting ahead of his arm.”
The two homers boosted the total surrendered by Bush to 17, tied with Philadelphia’s Brett Myers (now out for the season) for most among National League pitchers.
Cleveland starter Carl Pavano was nearly as bad. Given an 8-3 lead through four innings, he allowed the Brewers to climb back in the game with three runs in the fifth. Braun continued his big night with a two-run triple and Fielder followed with a sacrifice fly.
“My job is to set the tempo and pace of the game,” Pavano said. “The offense got me some runs. My job is to put up zeros. I didn’t do that.”
The Brewers pulled within a run at 8-7 on Craig Counsell’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. That rally was short-circuited, however, when Mike Rivera was caught off second when the throw home was cut off, giving the Indians a gift-wrapped out.
“It was cool, a good feeling. I’m happy we came out on top,” Fielder said. “I was just trying to get a pitch I could drive up the middle.”
Milwaukee bounced back from a 1-5 homestand during which it scored two runs or less in three of the six games.
“That’s how it is, you don’t score at home and then we get 14 tonight,” Fielder said. “That’s why this game is so fun and challenging. You never know what’s going to happen.”