Right-hander Evan Marshall throwing at Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun on Tuesday night probably had more to do with his Arizona Diamondbacks teammates getting hit earlier in the game than it did for Braun's history of performance-enhancing drug involvement.
It still was suspicious, given that D-backs manager Kirk Gibson and some of his players have complained about the unfairness of facing Braun in the 2011 playoffs after he failed a drug test, only to see him wriggle out of punishment until late in the 2013 season when the Biogenesis scandal came to light.
Marshall, who had thrown behind Braun's back on the previous pitch in the seventh inning and appeared to receive a warning by umpire Ted Barrett, plunked Braun on the hip and immediately was ejected. Not only did the partisan crowd at Chase Field give Marshall a standing ovation, but so did his teammates in the dugout. The support for Marshall was fine, but it was a little too obvious and, perhaps, tacky.
The Brewers sarcastically applauded too:
Regardless of why Arizona was seeking revenge at that moment, it did them little good: Side-winding right-hander Brad Ziegler came on and served up a grand slam to Jonathan Lucroy on the next pitch that turned a one-run deficit into a 7-4 Brewers lead. Behind Lucroy's two homers, MIlwaukee won 7-5.
''They won the tough-guy points, but I don't know what the stats are for those,'' Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse said. ''We won the game because of that.''
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke called Lucroy's at-bat ''probably the best I've ever seen.''
''After they smoke our guy, they bring in their closer, the first pitch he sees he hits a grand slam. There's no way an at-bat can get bigger than that,'' he said.
Lohse had hit three batters all season coming into his start, but hit two D-backs, although one was just a graze to Didi Gregorius. The other was a scary pitch just below the helmet of Chris Owings. Lohse also threw a pitch over the head of pitcher Mike Bolsinger. Taking the sore feelings about Braun out of the equation, it figured — based on baseball's unwritten rules about revenge — that someone in a Milwaukee uniform was going to get hit. But then? To load the bases for Lucroy, one of the hottest hitters in the league?
''I am not going to comment on that,'' Gibson said. ''You have been around the game long enough.''
With a slight smile on his face, Marshall said he didn't hit Braun on purpose.
It also figures that no matter what the D-backs did, it would backfire. They have a record of 30-44.
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