Crew sweep doesn’t come easily
Slumping J.J. Hardy homered early and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the 11th inning as the Milwaukee Brewers completed a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians with a 9-8 victory Wednesday night.
Milwaukee closer Trevor Hoffman blew an 8-4 lead in the ninth, but the NL Central leaders earned their eighth straight interleague win over Cleveland. Milwaukee also swept three in 2006 and won the final two of a three-game set in 2001.
Prince Fielder singled with one out in the 11th off Greg Aquino (1-2), who then walked Corey Hart. The runners advanced on a wild pitch that made the count 1-1 on Mike Cameron. The Indians intentionally walked Cameron to load the bases before Hardy lifted a fly to center, scoring Fielder.
Mark DiFelice (4-0) worked 13 innings for the win. Mitch Stetter struck out two with two runners on to earn his first career save.
Ryan Garko’s three-run double with one out in the ninth tied it at 8. Hoffman, baseball’s career saves leader with 570, blew one for the first time in 17 chances since signing with Milwaukee as a free agent.
Hoffman entered with runners on second and third and yielded a one-out RBI single to Victor Martinez before walking Shin-Soo Choo to load the bases. Garko followed with a drive to left-center. He overran second base, however, and was tagged out while sprawled on the ground after twisting his right ankle. He walked off and was replaced in left field by Ben Francisco to start the 10th.
Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun had two hits and scored twice before leaving in the eighth with lower back tightness.
After the start was delayed 34 minutes by rain, Hart drove in three runs and hit one of Milwaukee’s three homers as the Brewers took an 8-4 lead.
Bill Hall, in a 7-for-77 (.091) slide, broke a 3-all tie in the seventh with his fifth homer—and first since May 14.
Hardy hit his sixth homer—his first since May 8—in the second for a 2-0 lead. He came to bat in a 7-for-63 (.111) skid.
The Indians, last in the AL Central, lost for the fourth time in five games.
Their bullpen was battered by the Brewers for 21 hits, 14 walks and 18 runs in 14 combined innings in the series.
When Cleveland fell behind 1-0 in the first, it brought out the boo birds to replace sea gulls that have pestered patrons at Progressive Field in recent games.
Cleveland tied it with a three-run fourth. Consecutive one-out doubles by Martinez, Choo and Garko made it 3-2. Garko scored on Luis Valbuena’s single to tie it.
Milwaukee starter Jeff Suppan allowed three runs over seven innings. Cleveland’s David Huff gave up three runs in five innings—failing to get past the fifth for the sixth time in seven career starts since May 17.
Cleveland last beat Milwaukee on June 13, 2001, a 5-2 win in 10 innings.
Last updated: 10:40 am Thursday, December 13, 2012