Ryan Braun solidified his case for NL MVP (if he hadn’t already) with a two home run performance during a Friday night win in Cincinnati. The two blasts made Braun the second Brewer to accumulate 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season, the first being Tommy Harper in 1970. “I’m really proud,” said Braun. “There’s a reason it’s only been done one other time in franchise history. It’s a hard thing to do.” The Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-3, eliminating them from playoff contention, while the Brewers shrunk their Magic Number to 7.
Oh yeah, Wolf got the win to improve to 13-9, Prince went deep for his 33rd, Kotsay and Kottaras also went yard, and Axford picked up his 43rd save (40th in a row).
Here are Braun’s numbers and National League rank in each category.
AVG: .330 (2nd)
OBP: .396 (4th)
SLG: .590 (1st)
OPS: .986 (1st)
HR: 30 (T-8th)
RBI: 99 (5th)
R: 100 (T-1st)
SB: 31 (T-7th)
Milwaukee southpaw Randy Wolf cruised into the seventh inning with a 7-1 lead over the New York Mets Saturday afternoon at Citi Field. Then things began to unravel. The Mets scored five runs in the seventh and three in the eighth to take a 9-7 lead into the ninth inning. However, Milwaukee wasn’t ready to pack it in quite yet. The final act of the game began when Jason Isringhausen took the hill, the rest as they say, is history.
Lucroy walked, Morgan walked, Hart singled.
Then Kotsay walked, scoring Lucroy. 9-8, Mets.
Isringhausen exited, Acosta entered. Braun flew out.
With 1 out, Fielder singled on an 0-2 pitch, scoring Morgan. 9-9.
McGehee then took the first pitch he saw and pushed a grounder through the hole scoring Hart and Kotsay to give the Brewers a 11-9 lead. Then, as is usual, the Ax Man locked it down 1-2-3, earning his 34th straight save and 37th overall.
Milwaukee picked up K-Rod, who got roughed up in his return to the Big Apple. But as good teams — championship caliber teams — do, the Brewers never gave up and stunned Citi Field. Prince Fielder was in full beast mode, going 2-for-5 with a single, home run (28), and four RBI, pushing his season total to a National League-leading 96. Yuniesky Betancourt cranked out his 10th long ball. Ryan Braun went 1-for-3 with a homer (24), two walks and three runs scored. His season batting average sits at .327.
The Brewers have now won 21 of 24 and extended their division lead to 8.5 games, the largest in franchise history.
Yovani Gallardo pitched eight superb innings, allowing only one run and one walk while fanning nine as the Milwaukee Brewers won yet again Tuesday night at Miller Park. The Brewers defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 to improve to 21 games over .500 overall (72-51) and 31 games over .500 at home (46-15), a major league best. The Crew got an RBI from Corey Hart in the second inning and Mark Kotsay sent the fans home happy with a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth, adding another chapter to Milwaukee’s storybook season. Ryan Braun was 2-for-4, raising his batting average to .329. With the Pirates win over the Cardinals, the Brewers increased their National League Central division lead to 7 games. Milwaukee has won 18 of 20 and looks for a series sweep tomorrow with Zack Greinke on the hill.
2B: Braun (21).
HR: Braun (18).
RBI: Braun 2 (66); Lucroy (37); Morgan (22); Weeks (43).
Outfield Assist: Braun (Drew at home).
SB: Weeks (8).
CS: Betancourt (3).
What a thriller in the desert. Milwaukee starter Chris Narveson pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing only four base hits while striking out four and walking none in a no-decision. He was staked an early 1-0 lead thanks to Ryan Braun’s first inning solo shot, his second in the past two games. Jonathan Lucroy added an RBI double in the seventh, however Arizona would rally to score twice and tie the game in the bottom of the eighth thanks to Willie Bloomquist’s double off of Francisco Rodriguez. Milwaukee reliever Takashi Saito entered the game in the bottom of the ninth looking to push the Brewers into extra innings. After a lead off double and wild pitch, Arizona found themselves with the winning run – Justin Upton – on third base with no outs. Saito escaped the jam with two groundouts to Casey McGehee and a flyout to Nyjer Morgan. Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson decided to go with Ryan Cook in the top of the tenth, a 24-year-old making his major league debut. Veteran Mark Kotsay started Cook’s career off with a single which was followed by a Corey Hart walk and a balk. Nyjer Morgan promptly sliced a single into right field giving Milwaukee a 3-2 lead. With runners on first and third and nobody out, Ryan Braun slapped a sharp single into right scoring Hart and putting the Crew up 4-2. Cook was lifted in favor of Alberto Castillo who got Prince Fielder to ground into a double play. D-backs reliever Sam Demel then gave up an RBI-single to Rickie Weeks, scoring Morgan and giving Milwaukee a three-run cushion in the tenth. McGehee was called out on strikes for the third out but the damage was done. Brewers’ closer John Axford secured the win, earning his 26th save in the process. Overall, an improbable win for the Brew Crew who moved into sole possession of first place and once again showed why they are the NL Central favorites. Milwaukee won their second consecutive game without a hit from Prince Fielder. Ryan Braun, with three base knocks, pushed his batting average to .320. Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew left in the fourth inning with a fractured right ankle. Carlos Gomez also left in the fourth with a broken collarbone and could miss the remainder of the year. Regardless, the Brewers look to be serious contenders who could make a deep postseason run. Zack Greinke will start game four of the series as Milwaukee looks to take 3 of 4 at Chase Field.
20. Craig Counsell, SS/3B
The two-time World Series champion has bounced around the majors throughout his career. After a one year stint with Milwaukee in 2004, Counsell has been with the Brewers since 2007. The Whitefish Bay native is a solid contributor in spot starts in the infield and is a great asset for Ron Roenicke off the bench. He seems to always put together good at-bats and is sure-handed on defense.
19. Mark Kotsay, OF
Kotsay and Counsell could swap spots on this list, but I give the edge to the veteran lefty outfielder due to the number of at-bats he’s accumulated so far in 2011. Kotsay started many games for the Crew during Corey Hart’s absence early in the season. He’s got a strong arm and still shows some pop at the plate.
18. Kameron Loe, RP
The 6’8″ Loe certainly has an intimidating presence on the mound. He was a major contributor out the bullpen for the Brewers last season, posting a 2.78 ERA in 58.1 innings. His 4.18 ERA so far this year may seem a bit alarming, but his 1.18 WHIP is the same as it was in 2010. His opponent batting average is actually lower this season (.229) than it was last (.245).
17. Marco Estrada, RP
After a horrendous 2010 with the Brewers when he posted a whopping 9.53 ERA (12 earned runs in 11.1 innings), Estrada has turned it around in 2011. He’s a valuable piece of the roster, already having made 4 spot starts and 14 appearances all together in 2011. This season he’s 1-2 with a much improved 3.68 ERA to go along with a 1.12 WHIP (compared to a 1.76 WHIP last year).
16. LaTroy Hawkins, RP
The 38-year-old veteran has been stellar so far this year for Milwaukee, boasting a sparkling 0.64 ERA in 14 innings. He was injured to start the season but has looked unhittable since his return from the DL. He struggled with the Crew in 2010 (8.44 ERA in 16 innings), but looks to have put those woes behind him. He continues to be a reliable option in the late innings for the contending Brewers.