Brewers 5, Marlins 4
MILWAUKEE (AP)—Eddie Perez made a perfect throw when the Brewers needed it most.
Perez threw out Juan Pierre trying to steal in the ninth inning, and John Vander Wal made up for a baserunning mistake by hitting the go-ahead homer in the seventh on Sunday as Milwaukee defeated the Florida Marlins 5-4 and snapped a four-game losing streak.
“Eddie saved that game,” said Brewers closer Danny Kolb, who got his sixth save. “I didn’t save it, I’ll give it to him. He’s the one that’s got to make that throw.”
Pierre singled off Kolb with one out in the ninth and with the count 2-1 to Luis Castillo, the major league steals leader took off for second.
Perez’s throw to second baseman Bill Hall was right on line and Pierre slid right into the tag.
“As a base stealer, that’s supposed to be my job,” Pierre said. “You have to tip your hat to him (Perez).
“If the throw is up or down, I’m safe. It was right there.”
Vander Wal’s 14th home run, the most he’s had since he hit 24 for Pittsburgh in 2000, made up for his base-running error in the fourth when he was doubled off first on Perez’s fly to center.
“We’ve had problems scoring runs,” said Vander Wal, who was running with the pitch. “Sometimes you need to take chances when you’re not scoring runs. Eddie hit it right on the button. You’ve got a lot of speed out there, I realize that. I took a gamble and was hoping it was over (Pierre’s) his head.”
It wasn’t, and he was caught around second when Pierre caught it. Vander Wal was easily out.
The Brewers were outscored in the six-game homestand 36-16 and won only the first and last game.
Penny allowed eight hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked one. He retired 15 of 18 batters after Sexson’s homer in the first before surrendering Vander Wal’s homer.
“It was one bad inning,” Penny said. “I threw good otherwise.”
The Marlins, fighting Philadelphia for the NL wild card spot, tried to rally in the ninth.
Valerio De Los Santos (2-3) pitched a scoreless seventh for the victory.
Ivan Rodriguez had an RBI single in third. In the fourth, Miguel Cabrera doubled home Encarnacion who led off with a double. In the sixth, Encarnacion hit a 385-foot homer on a 3-2 count to tie it at 3.
Kinney allowed seven hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked three in his third start against the Marlins this season.
The Brewers took the lead with three runs in the first.
RHP David Manning’s stay in the majors lasted two starts. Before the game, the Brewers outrighted the 30-year-old pitcher to Triple-A Indianapolis. He was 0-2 with an 16.19 ERA. A veteran of 12 seasons in the minors, his chance finally came when he was called up to fill in for injured starter Glendon Rusch. … A Paul Molitor bobblehead giveaway helped the Brewers draw 37,521 fans, the second largest crowd this season. A crowd of 42,570 attended openingday.