This was a weird game, ladies and gentlemen. It was the "Monty Python's description of Camelot in 'The Holy Grail' movie" of games.
Winning Pitcher: Dale Thayer
Losing Pitcher: Zach Duke
HR: Rene Rivera (9)
After yesterday's game the first 3 innings were a welcomed change: Nothing much happened. Yovani Gallardo gave up a walk and a hit but managed to face the minimum thanks to two double plays in back-to-back innings. Odrisamer Despaigne also gave up a walk and a hit but no runs thanks to 5! strikeouts.
After 3 innings of that I was getting tired of seeing the Brewers made to look silly. Unfortunately Despaigne didn't feel like stopping. He struck out Ryan Braun for the second time and after a base hit from Aramis Ramirez he got Scooter Gennett to pop up. Gerardo Parra ended the inning with a lazy flyout to center. After 4 IP and only 39 pitches thrown, Despaigne found himself on pace for a Maddux!
Entering this game Gallardo needed only 4 strikeouts to tie Ben Sheets for the franchise record. Entering the fourth inning he had yet to record a single K. That letter remained elusive as the inning went: ground out, fly out, ground out. Still, Gallardo had yet to give up a run and faced the minimum now through four complete!
The Brewers best chance to this point came on a lucky break. Lyle Overbay sky-ed one to left field just out of the reach of Seth Smith. It happened to bounce out of play and Overbay was awarded second base on a ground-rule double. Elian Herrera followed up with a grounder up the middle that Overbay was only able to advance to third on. Gallardo bunted for an out, and Overbay couldn't score, but Herrera did advance. It seemed a strange decisioin because even a double play likely scores the run. Had Gallardo flied out that would likely have scored the run. With Overbay's (lack of) speed, bunting was probably the least effective way to get the run in. Gomez followed that (non?) effort up with a strikeout. Lucroy would fly out in yet another example of the Brewers beating themselves.
Two back to back hits by the Padres and an error by Braun gave Will Venable runners at the corners with no outs. After 11 pitches Venable flew out, but Grandal chose not to test Gerardo Parra's arm. It was another lucky break for the Brewers. Jed Gyorko did advance from from first to second though. After missing his chance to score on the fly out, Grandal went on contact. Unfortunately for him, the contact was a sharp grounder to Aramis Ramirez at third base who successfully cut down the runner at home plate for the second out. Gallardo was super duper careful to Alexi Amarista resulting in a walk and Odrisamer Despaigne walked to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded having never produced a base hit at the major league level. He hit a grand slam. Nah, just kidding. He grounded out to the shortstop. Harry Houdini tipped his hat to Gallardo and the Brewers after this inning.
Despaigne cruised through the Brewers in the top of the sixth inning. I'm not sure if he threw a single strike, but the Brewers swung away nonetheless. It was like some kind of weird performance art that no one gets but the *ahem* 'artist'.
Gallardo led the bottom of the sixth inning off with a walk despite getting ahead of the batter early. The next batter bunted it right back to Yo and he was able to get the lead out. Gallardo then induce a picture perfect double play opportunity but Scooter Gennett bobbled it and everyone was safe. The baseball gods were kind tonight and they afforded the Brewers another double play opportunity. This time it was a grounder to the shortstop Herrera who did not bobble and the inning ended with a sigh of relief. Gallardo's night would be over. He did not take a step closer to tie Ben Sheets' franchise strikeout record.
The Brewers offense finally did some right, but still in a hilarious way. Lyle Overbay reached with one out. Then Elian Herrera shot a liner up the right field side. Overbay put on the afterburners and chugged around third. A good throw probably gets him. Venable did not supply the Padres with a good throw. Overbay slide and was safe. It would probably be more apt to say Overbay spiked his leg awkwardly and was safe. Herrera by the way, reached third base. This is important because with Khris Davis at the plate, pinch hitting for Gallardo, Despaigne threw what was later ruled a passed ball. Herrera scored the Brewers second run.
The stupid spilled over to the Brewers defense in the bottom half of the seventh inning. Jeremy Jeffress came in and induced a dribbler right in front of Overbay. Instead of fielding it cleanly, he and Jeffress just kind of walked into each other unable to decide whose ball it was. The next batter line a single to put runners at first and second with no outs. Rene Rivera came to the plate next and desperately tried to give the Brewers an out (by bunting) but instead Jeffress gave him two balls. After two strikes, Jeffress came back with a 97 mph fastball to get the first out by K. Amarista lined one to left center and I was sure the Padres were going to score, but instead Gerardo Parra covered a metric cuss ton of ground and won my heart with a sliding catch. Unfortunately the Padres did score on the next line drive to left. The next batter grounded out but the Padres cut the Brewers lead to 2-1. All things considered it was a solid outing for Jeffress.
Nick Vincent replaced Despaigne in the top of eighth inning and breezed through Braun-Lucroy-Ramirez.
Ron's Eighth Inning Guy (patent pending) Will Smith took the mound for the Brewers in...well, the eighth inning. Abraham Almonte led off with a single. Then Smith scorched one to Lyle Overbay who was able to knock it down. However no one was cover first base and Overbay couldn't get the tag on in time. The umpires went to a review and quickly came back with a decision that remarkably overturned the safe call. So, ONE out! Yasmani Grandal worked a 3-1 count before Will Smith got him to swing, and more importantly miss, on two back-to-back sliders. Lucroy had to throw to first to secure the out because nothing could come easy in this game. It was actually rather routine though. TWO outs! Jedd Gyorko drew a walk and a lot of moves were made. Cameron Maybin was put in to run for Gyorko. Then RHH Tommy Medica pinch hit for the LHH Will Venable. Will Smith, however, stayed in the game. Called strike, ball, foul, ball, SWING AND A MISS (Luc had to secure this one too)!!! THREE OUTS! *Kermit arms*
Kevin Quackenbush pitched the ninth and he too breezed through the Brewers batters.
On to the bottom of the ninth. The important inning. All the stupid things that happened in this game wouldn't matter if only Francisco Rodriguez could deftly handle the back of the Padres lineup. And do you know what happened? With all the insane, funny, frustrating things that happened in this game, do you know what happened. He gave up a lead off home run to tie the damn game. Give an assist to the umpires amazingly inconsistent strike zone though. K-Rod then got a ground out before allowing a base hit. That runner would erase himself on a caught stealing. K-Rod would replace that runner with a walk. Francisco Rodriguez got his 1,000 career strike out to end this horrible inning. To extras we would go...
Dale Thayer pitched the tenth inning for the Padres. Strike out, ground out, ground out. Inning over.
Zach Duke pitched the tenth inning for the Brewers and in what seemed to be the fashion for the Brewers pitchers, allowed a lead off base runner. This particular runner reached on a walk. The next batter reached on a base hit single. Cameron Maybin attempted to advance the runners with a bunt but instead the Brewers get the lead out at third. One out, runners still at first and second. Rookie Rhymer Liriano's first plate appearance of the night resulted in a fly out. The game would have ended right there had Lucroy not secured the earlier force out at third base. As fate would have it, game tying Rene Rivera stepped to the plate with a chance to walk it off. And that's just what he did. A grounder up the middle.
- The Cardinals dropped the second straight game to the Pirates today by a score of 3-1. With the Brewers wild and wacky loss that leaves the Cards 1.5 games back and the Pirates 4 games back.
- Down on the farm Wei-Chung Wang pitched 7.2 strong innings for the A+ Brevard County Manatees. He gave up 7 hits, 0 walks, allowed 2 runs, and struck out 8 batters which is tied for his career high. We already know that Wang will participate in the AFL as a member of the Glendale Desert Dogs, but we still are waiting to see if he'll return to the big league club when he reaches the 30 day limit on his rehab assignment which would be in the first week of September. My guess is he will return. I'm not sure how the Brewers could rationalizing his pitching in rehab, then shutting him down for a month, only to have him return for the AFL. Besides, just because he's on the team in September doesn't mean he'll have to pitch. However, I for one am rooting for the Brewers to lock up the division early enough that Wang can get a start before the regular season ends!
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