The second half of the 2022 MLB season is officially underway. The Milwaukee Brewers started the second half at home against the Colorado Rockies. The Brew Crew won the first three games, but two of those games were two of their most signature wins this season. Let’s take a look at what made these two games so special.
Brewers Fearless Friday
The first game of the series put both teams through the gauntlet.
The pitching matchup featured Antonio Senzatela for the Rockies and Corbin Burnes for the Brewers. Despite dealing with major traffic on the basepaths, both pitchers put up zeroes in the first two innings.
The third inning was a different story for both pitchers. Burnes was the first to crack as he gave up a two-run homer to Charlie Blackmon to put the Rockies up 2-0.
The Brewers aimed to respond. With two outs and nobody on Willy Adames cut into the lead with a solo homer. After a double by Rowdy Tellez, a big moment arose for Andrew McCutchen who blistered a two-run homer to put the Crew up 3-2.
After five solid innings for Burnes, he was replaced by Trevor Gott for the sixth inning. Gott retired the first two batters with ease. He then walked Jose Iglesias which brought up Elias Diaz who made Gott pay with a game-tying RBI double.
Burnes was taken out after the fifth inning while Senzatela was removed after allowing the first two batters to reach in the sixth. This meant it was up to the bullpens to keep the game tight for a long time and they did just that.
For the Brewers, after Gott allowed the run in the sixth, the rest of the bullpen shut down the Rockies. Brad Boxberger, Devin Williams and Josh Hader each went an inning. In those three innings, they allowed a total of one base runner and struck out five.
It was a much tougher time for the Rockies. After Senzatela was taken out Lucas Gilbreath came in for two innings where he only allowed one base runner with a walk. In the eighth and ninth Alex Colome and Daniel Bard allowed a combined two doubles and a walk, but kept the Brewers off the board.
The Brewers put their trust in Jandel Gustave to keep the Rockies from scoring in the top of the 10th. The Rockies however were able to jump into the lead with an RBI single from Blackmon and added on with a sacrifice fly from Brendan Rodgers. The Rockies took a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the 10th.
After Robert Stephenson recorded two quick outs he had to face Hunter Renfroe. In one of the biggest moments of the season, Renfroe obliterated a two-strike pitch for a game-tying two-run homer.
Even with the automatic runner on second neither team was able to bring home a run for the next two and a half innings.
In the bottom of the 13th, the Rockies decided to intentionally walk Kolten Wong to bring up Luis Urias. Coming into the at-bat Urias was 0-5 with six left on base. This time he finally made his mark on the game. In a two-strike count, Urias hit a bloop single to bring home Jonathan Davis to win the game.
After a game that went 4:44, the Brewers walked away with a much-earned 6-5 victory.
It was a good thing both teams just had four days off because this was an exhausting game. Both teams did everything in their power to try and win.
Outside of the third inning power surge the Brewers had trouble doing anything on offense. It is days like these that show why the Crew’s pitching staff is so highly respected. On a day where the Brewers had to use eight pitchers it is extremely impressive that Burnes, Gott and Gustave were the only ones to give up hits and runs. The other five went a combined 6.1 innings allowing only one walk and had nine strikeouts.
The Crew is now 4-3 in extra innings game and on a three game win streak after snapping a three game losing streak.
They are going to have their fair share of close games in the second half. If they hope to win most of them they will be required to produce this kind of wonderful pitching and timely hitting.
Sunday Scoring Marathon
The Brewers came into Sunday’s game having won the first two games of the series. The first game showcased the Brewers perseverance when their pitching stepped up but the offense struggled. Sunday’s game was the opposite, pitching struggled mightily while the offense went wild.
Brewers Start Hot
The Brewers got the scoring started immediately. Christian Yelich led off the game with a triple and was brought home on a sacrifice fly by Adames to snag the early 1-0 lead. After Tellez singled McCutchen grounded out and then it got really interesting.
Kolten Wong struck out, but instead of it ending the inning it was a wild pitch which allowed Wong to reach first and continue the inning. Renfroe proceeded to get hit by a pitch to load the bases for Urias. This time he did damage early as he snuck a ball past third baseman Garret Hampson for a two-run double. It was an early 3-0 advantage.
With how great Brewers pitching has been, some days this would be all they need, but this was not a normal game.
Comning into the third inning the Rockies cut the lead to 3-1 and looked ready for more. After Eric Lauer got the first out of the inning he gave up a double to Kris Bryant. This brought up Blackmon who did more damage to the Brewers with an RBI single to make it a 3-2 lead.
Much like the first game, the Brewers responded quickly. Wong reached base with one out for Renfroe. Coming into this game Renfroe had homered in the first two games of the series. He decided to continue the streak as he launched a two-run homer to extend the lead to 5-2.
The Rockies Comeback
Recenetly Lauer has been prone to giving up a bunch of runs and the Rockies exploited that. In the fifth inning Lauer once again got in trouble after getting the first man out. Connor Joe drew a walk to bring up Bryant. In classic Bryant fashion he contributed in a big way with a two-run homer to cut the lead to 5-4.
Lauer was only able to make it 4.1 inning before Craig Counsell brought in reliever Gustave. He got out of the fifth without any further damage, but had a rough sixth inning. He put the first two men on which allowed Diaz to tie the game with an RBI single. After another walk the Rockies took a 6-5 lead on a groundout from Joe.
The Brewers once again responded. Tyrone Taylor hit a solo home run to tie the game at six, but the Rockies stayed resilient.
After scoring two in each of the last two innings the Rockies got back to business in the seventh. The Crew brought in Boxberger who has been highly inconsistent over the past couple of weeks. Three of the first four batters reached base to load the bases with one out. In another big spot Diaz did damage with a two-run single. This put the Rockies up 8-6.
The Brewers Comeback
The Brewers pitching staff struggled to say the least, but luckily they did so on a day where the Rockies pitchers struggled too.
In the bottom of the seventh the Brewers got back-to-back doubles from McCutchen and Mike Brosseau to make it an 8-7 lead for the Rockies. They had the chance to add on but Renfroe and Urias both flew out to end the inning.
The top of the eighth started with the Rockies putting two men on with nobody out. Brewers reliever Brent Suter stepped up in a tight spot and got the next three men out to keep it a one run game.
With time running low things were not looking good for the Crew. The bottom of the eighth started with two straight outs from Victor Caratini and Taylor.
Wanting to get things going Yelich drew a huge walk which opened the flood gates. Adames followed with a single to put two men on for Tellez. He battled through a long at-bat and on the seventh pitch he laced the game-tying RBI single into right field. McCutchen came up in a big spot too and on the seventh pitch of the at bat smacked a go-ahead two-run double into center field to give the Brew Crew a 10-8 lead.
The Rockies made a little noise in the top of the ninth but ultimately the Brewers reigned supreme as Josh Hader got his 28th save to solidify an incredible 10-9 victory.
This was not a pretty game for either team, but it was highly entertaining.
This is the second straight Sunday where the Brewers have given up nine runs, but this time they came out victorious. It is their first time winning when their pitching staff gave up nine or more this season. Coming into this game they were 0-10. The last time they won when their pitching struggled this much was May 16, 2021 when they beat the Atlanta Braves 10-9.
As mentioned this was the third straight game with a homer for Hunter Renfroe. Uniquely, this is the second time he has done it this season. He also did it against the Cincinnati Reds on June 17-19.
It is not very often the Brewers pitching struggles to this level nor is it common for the Brewers to be this great offensively. Hopefully the Brewers can continue their success at the plate because their fans are way too often aggravated about the Crew losing close, low scoring games where their pitchers don’t get any run support.
Brewers Are Moving Up
This was an important start to the second half for the Brewers who lost the last three prior to the All-Star break. Both of these games showcased the resiliency of this team who continued to fight from start to finish no matter their struggles. It also just so happens to be that on Friday and Sunday the Cincinnati Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals to extend the Brewers lead in the division to 2.5 games. Up next the Crew finishes the series against the Rockies on Monday night and then welcomes in the Minnesota Twins for a two-game series.
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