MIL – Yovani Gallardo: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 62 GSc (97 pitches, 59 strikes)
LAD – Chad Billingsley: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 66 GSc (83 pitches, 54 strikes)
Mat Gamel: 2-3, HR
Rickie Weeks: 2-4, 2B
George Kottaras: 1-1, (walk-off) 2B
Andre Ethier: 2-4, 2B, HR
James Loney: 2-4, 2B
— Nyjer Morgan, Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, and Corey Hart combined to produce one single, and the club was able to score five runs and scratch out a win anyway. There were plenty of positives to take away from that, even if it wasn’t even necessarily a great day at a plate for the team as a whole. Between Norichika Aoki’s on-base and bunting ability and George Kottaras’ small-sample magic, the Brewers’ bench looks like less of a liability than originally thought, and Mat Gamel has done nothing to contest the idea that he should be in the big leagues.
— Even if the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead, Yovani Gallardo put the Brewers in great position to win the game through seven innings. Gallardo minimized the damage from various defensive miscues, missed bats, and worked efficiently, striking out seven on just 97 pitches. However, Francisco Rodriguez handed the lead right back, allowing a 2-run homer to Matt Kemp to give Los Angeles a 4-3 lead. K-Rod hasn’t had the smoothest start to the year, allowing five hits and five walks in as many innings, but it really is too early to start worrying: At this time last year, John Axford’s ERA stood at 8.53.
— It seems like I end up writing about some idiosyncratic decision made by Ron Roenicke after every game. Today is no exception, even though this one worked out a little bit better than usual. With the game tied in the bottom of the seventh, Mat Gamel led off with a single, and Jonathan Lucroy struck out, giving the Brewers a runner on first with one out. Gamel stole second, and Cesar Izturis hit a single. (You can’t make this stuff up.) With runners on the corners and pinch-hitter Norichika Aoki up, Roenicke turned to his old friend, the suicide squeeze. Aoki executed the bunt perfectly, and the Brewers took the lead, but they were out of the inning soon after, and were behind again by the end of the next frame. The move worked tonight, but sooner or later, I have a bad feeling that the choice to go for one run so often will end up hurting the Brewers down the line.
— The bottom of the ninth was the most exciting half-inning of baseball I’ve seen this year, and there’s nothing I can really do to add to it. The Brewers entered the frame down a run, and put runners on first and third with one out thanks to a single by Corey Hart and 8an eight-pitch walk by Mat Gamel. Pinch-hitter George Kottaras came to the plate, and ended the game with a 2-run double.
I’m pretty sure that, besides Opening Day, this will be the first game from this season I’ll remember next Winter. After Gamel was called safe at home to score the winning run, the Brewers mobbed him at home plate with gusto that I haven’t seen since last summer’s “Beast Mode” heyday. Heck, they looked like a team out there.