> Normally, Japanese imports don’t bring extra power to a Major League lineup. And usually, Norichika Aoki doesn’t do that for the Brewers. But, he did today in their 4-3 win over the Cubs in 10 innings. Aoki has had a couple of nice games for the Brewers since coming overseas to the Majors, but today was by far the best one yet. He went 3-for-5 and raised his average to .303 (although it feels like it should be a lot higher than that).
First off, though, we witnessed a very rare sighting today: Randy Wolf actually had a good outing. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up an unearned run on four hits. He walked two and struck out six. Wolf has had a very rough year up to this point, coming into today with a 6.05 ERA, but lowered it to 5.45. Arguably his two bests starts this year have come against the Cubs; he also threw six shutout innings against them back in May. Ironically, though, he hasn’t picked up a win in either of the starts.
The Brewers got in the board in the fourth on Aoki’s first hit of the day, a solo shot to make the score 1-0. Technically, Aoki did have one home run prior to this, which was an inside-the-parker against the Rockies. But this was his first legitimate, into the seats home run. Anyway, the Brewers got another run in the sixth on George Kottaras’ RBI single.
But things got bad in the late innings. Wolf started the seventh inning by walking Jeff Baker, then Joe Mather reached on an error by Cody Ransom, who was manning third base today. It looked like things wouldn’t get too out of hand after Wolf induced an Ian Stewart double play, but he then gave up an RBI double to Koyie Hill. Wolf was removed in favor of Jose Veras, who would get out of the inning and save the Brewers’ lead for the time being.
Then came the eighth inning. Francisco Rodriguez started the inning fine, retiring the first two he faced. But then he gave up a single to Alfonso Soriano, followed by a go-ahead, two-run shot by Bryan LaHair (who is slowly but surely becoming a Brewer-killer). This made the score 3-2.
But the Brewers wouldn’t go down without a fight. Aoki led off the Brewers’ eighth with a single, and, two batters later, Corey Hart tied the game with an RBI ground-rule double. But Rickie Weeks struck out with two men on to kill the rally, leaving it 3-3.
John Axford came on and threw perfect innings in the ninth and tenth. This set the stage for Aoki’s biggest moment as a Brewer, a walk-off shot on the third pitch of the tenth inning. Coming into today, Aoki hadn’t hit a ball out of a Major League park yet this year, but did it twice today.
> But K-Rod got his butt saved thanks to Aoki. Just when Rodriguez finally seemed to be settling down into the consistent setup man he was last year after being acquired by the Mets, he goes out and does this. I just don’t know about him any more. He’s like the first half Kameron Loe of last year.
> Aramis Ramirez missed his fourth consecutive start today, including the entire series against his former team. He did pinch-hit in the eighth inning, but was intentionally walked, and was pinch-run for by Zack Greinke. But hopefully him pinch-hitting a sign that he won’t be out for too much longer.
> Anyway, that’s about it. The Brewers will start a three-game set with the Padres tomorrow at 7:10 PM CT. The Brewers already lost a series to the Padres earlier this year in San Diego, which is pretty embarrassing, considering the Padres have by far the worst offense in the National League. But here’s what the pitching match-ups are looking like:
Edinson Volquez (2-5, 3.42 ERA) vs. Shaun Marcum (4-3, 3.39 ERA)
Eric Stults (1-2, 4.06 ERA) vs. Michael Fiers (1-1, 3.75 ERA)
Anthony Bass (2-5, 4.21 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (4-5, 4.50 ERA)
And that’s about it. I’ll be starting up box scores again over the summer; I should have that up later. But for now, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.
> Box Score
|Norichika Aoki, RF||5||3||3||2||0||0||2||.303|
|Nyjer Morgan, CF||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.228|
|b-Carlos Gomez, PH-CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.261|
|Ryan Braun, LF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.306|
|Corey Hart, 1B||4||1||2||1||0||1||1||.255|
|George Kottaras, C||3||0||1||1||0||1||1||.245|
|c-Aramis Ramirez, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.249|
|Rickie Weeks, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.160|
|Cody Ransom, 3B||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.236|
|Edwin Maysonet, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.200|
|Randy Wolf, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.100|
|a-Martin Maldonado, PH-C||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.192|
a-Struck out for Veras in the 7th.
b-Hit a sacrifice bunt for Morgan in the 8th.
c-Intentionally walked for Rodriguez in the 8th.
2B: Hart 2 (16).
HR: Aoki 2 (3).
TB: Braun, Kottaras, Aoki 9, Hart 4.
RBI: Aoki 2 (9), Kottaras (10), Hart (26).
Team RISP: 2-for-6.
Team LOB: 6.
E: Ransom (3, fielding).
|Jose Veras (H, 6)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||4.28|
|Francisco Rodriguez (BS, 2)||1.0||3||2||2||0||1||1||4.68|
|John Axford (W, 1-2)||2.0||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.22|
Pitches-strikes: Wolf 117-76, Veras 2-2, Rodriguez 27-17, Axford 23-15.
Groundouts-flyouts: Wolf 7-4, Veras 0-1, Rodriguez 1-1, Axford 2-2.
Batters faced: Wolf 27, Veras 1, Rodriguez 6, Axford 6.
Inherited runners-scored: Veras 2-0.