Monday, June 23, 2014

Game of the Day (6/22/14)

Brewers 6, Rockies 5. Milwaukee's resurgent veteran Kyle Lohse took on Colorado's Tyler Matzek, who was making his third career start.

Matzek was perfect in the top of the first, while Lohse worked around a Charlie Blackmon bunt single and a Justin Morneau walk. The Brewers seized the early lead in the second when Carlos Gomez singled and Aramis Ramirez homered. They went on to load the bases on singles by Khris Davis and Mark Reynolds and a walk to Jean Segura; Lohse hit into an unusual 5-4 double play that scored a run but also defused the rally by leaving Lohse alone at first with two outs.

The Rockies picked up a run in the bottom of the second when Willin Rosario singled, took second on a liner to right (yes, that's a catcher tagging from first to second), and scored on a single by Charlie Culberson. Matzek was perfect in the third, and the team came the rest of the way back in the bottom of the inning when Drew Stubbs singled, Corey Dickerson walked, and Rosario doubled them both home.

Both starters were spotless in the fourth. In the top of the fifth, Matzek retired the first two Brewers, but then allowed a single to Rickie Weeks and walked Ryan Braun. With the hit-and-run on, Jonathan Lucroy singled. Weeks scored easily, Braun took third, and Lucroy tried for second on the throw; he was caught in a rundown and thrown out, but Braun scored in the meantime to make it a 5-3 Milwaukee lead.

Troy Tulowitzki and Morneau started the bottom of the fifth with singles. Dickerson's flyout moved Tulowitkzi to third, but the next two hitters were retired with no scoring. Milwaukee loaded the bases in the sixth on a Gomez walk, a Ramirez double, and a Reynolds walk, leading Rob Scahill to replace Matzek on the mound; he retired the next two hitters (including Scooter Gennett, who was hitting for Lohse) to end the inning. Culberson greeted Brewer reliever Brandon Kintzler with a single in the bottom of the sixth, and was then caught stealing; that decision looks unfortunate in hindsight, because DJ LeMahieu then singled and Blackmon doubled. Stubbs and Tulowitzki were retired, leaving the runners in scoring position.

Weeks opened the seventh by reaching second on an error, and made it as far as third before Scahill stranded him. Zach Duke allowed a two-out Rosario single in the bottom of the inning, but left him on. Nick Masset gave up a single and steal to Reynolds in the eighth, but kept him at second, and in the bottom of the inning, Wil Smith allowed a single to LeMahieu and a triple to Stubbs, cutting the deficit to 5-4; Tulowitzki was intentionally walked and Morneau grounded out to keep the lead intact.

Lyle Overbay led off the ninth with a homer against Adam Ottavino, giving the Brewers some breathing room. Francisco Rodriguez needed all of it. Dickerson led off the bottom of the ninth with a triple; the throw to third escaped, but Dickerson stumbled on the way home and was thrown out. Rosario then homered; had Dickerson either scored or remained on base, the homer would have tied the game. As it was, Rodriguez struck out pinch hitter Ryan Wheeler and got Culberson to ground out, ending the contest with Milwaukee still in front.

There was some fun on the basepaths in this one, wasn't there? Willin Rosario (a catcher) went from first to second on a flyout (as part of one of the best games of his career, 4 for 5 with a double, a homer, two runs and 3 RBI). There were four stolen bases and one runner caught; Charlie Culberson recorded his first two steal attempts of the year, making it successfully once. Mark Reynolds stole a base - which has caused me to learn that he apparently does that far more often than I'd have expected; he has over 50 steals in his career, including 24 in the 2009 season. And all of that was just foreshadowing the ninth-inning craziness of Corey Dickerson's triple-then-out-at-home-after-falling-down. Even with the fact that WPL treats Dickerson's misadventures as a normal out, this game scores very well; account for that play properly, and it'll move even higher up the list.

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