Brewers split with Phils
The Brewers returned to Miller Park with their collective tails between their legs after getting swept by the Colorado Rockies. The Philadelphia Phillies came to Miller Park on the heels of winning two out of three games in Miami against the lowly Marlins. Both the Brewers and Phillies have been tremendous disappointments this year. The Brewers feature a bullpen that has a flair for watching the opponent win games in walk-off fashion, while the Phillies were bitten early by the injury bug and have struggled a bit offensively.
The Brewers took the first game of the four game series in dramatic fashion. Cliff Lee dominated the Brewer lineup with one exception: he couldn’t keep Ryan Braun in the ballpark. Braun launched two home runs off of the Phillies’ left hander. The first of which was immediately followed by Aramis Ramirez’s solo home run. However, the Phillies led 4-3 going into the bottom of the eighth inning. That’s when a throwing error by third baseman Kyle Frandsen allowed Rickie Weeks to reach safely. Lee walked Braun intentionally before Ramirez drew a walk to load the bases. Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel’s decision not to remove Lee from the game proved to be costly as the next batter, Corey Hart, hit a grand slam that barely cleared the right field wall. The Brewer’s led 7-4 heading into the ninth inning. Manny Parra came on to pitch the ninth and loaded the bases. Just when it appeared that it would be another Brewer bullpen meltdown, Parra got Erik Kratz to ground out and end the game.
Yovani Gallardo took the mound in the second game and delivered a stellar performance. The Brewer’s ace allowed just one run on four hits through seven strong innings. Ryan Braun continued to tear into Phillies’ pitchers with his third home run in two games. The two-run shot in the sixth inning gave the Brewers a 6-1 lead. Francisco Rodriguez and Livan Hernandez worked the eighth and ninth innings respectively. Although the latter allowed a run in the top of the ninth, the Brewer bullpen came through for Gallardo and the Brewers rolled to victory, 6-2.
Cole Hamels took the mound for the Phillies in game three. The Phillies’ ace, who was coming off of back-to-back complete game shutouts, provided a daunting task for Brewer hitters. After the Phillies grabbed a 3-0 lead off of Brewer’s starter Mike Fiers, Ramirez’s solo home run in the bottom of the second was the first run allowed by Hamels in 19 innings. After the Phillies added a run in the top half of the third, the Brewers looked primed to get to Hamels again in the bottom of third. Jonathon Lucroy’s single with two outs brought the red hot Ryan Braun to the plate. Braun narrowly missed a home run on a line drive that bounced off of the top of the wall in left. However, Lucroy missed second on Braun’s drive had to return to the base. Braun, not realizing that Lucroy was standing on second base, was caught in a rundown that ended the inning. It was a costly mistake by the Brewer’s catcher that would eventually come back to haunt the team. Then, in the sixth, Norichika Aoki was caught trying to steal third with Braun at the plate. Braun would eventually single in that at bat and poor base running would once again plague the Brewers. Braun’s home run in the bottom of the eighth would bring the Brewers to within one run at 4-3. Unfortunately, that’s as close as the Brewers would get. Jonathon Papelbon came on in relief of Hamels and recorded a four-out save to preserve the Phillies’ victory.
The Brewers went down quietly in series finale as Phillies’ starter Kyle Kendrick allowed just three hits in eight innings. By comparison, Brewer’s starter Randy Wolf continued to his season-long struggle and gave up five runs on ten hits. The Brewer’s offense, which had been firing on all cylinders as of late, was finally held in check and could not overcome Wolf’s poor outing. The game was never really in question as the Phillies won 8-0 and secured split in the four-game series. The Brewers will now turn their attention to a home series against the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs trail the Brewers in the Central Division standings, but at this point, both teams are merely playing out the season.
By: Scott Kasten
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