> The Braves are known for having one of the better bullpens and defenses in baseball. But neither were present tonight, as the Brewers handily took advantage of both of those absences to run away with a 4-1 win.
Mike Minor was on his game, but pitch count got him. He needed 115 pitches to get through just 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball. But it’s a good thing he needed all those pitches; there’s no telling what would have happened had he remained in the game.
The first run of the game came in the fifth inning on an Andrelton Simmons double play; you know it’s a pitchers’ duel when the first run of the game scores in that way that late. The Braves put in Jonny Venters to start the seventh inning, but he would hand the Brewers the game on a silver platter. He gave up a single to Martin Maldonado and a walk to Jean Segura to start the inning. Jeff Bianchi then put down a bunt that was only meant to advance the runners, but Venters foolishly went for the runner at third base (who he wouldn’t have gotten anyway), and ended up throwing the ball away. That allowed pinch-runner Eric Farris to score and tie up the game.
The Braves removed Venters for Chad Durbin, who let the floodgates open even more. After walking Jonathan Lucroy, he gave up a go-ahead two-run double to Norichika Aoki, who continues to show off his power stroke. Carlos Gomez tacked on the final run with a sacrifice fly.
The bullpen was solid, with Jim Henderson and John Axford putting up scoreless innings to finish off the game.
> Aoki has come out of nowhere lately as another power threat in the lineup. After putting up a few extra-base hits in yesterday’s game- including a game-tying home run in the ninth- he hit two more doubles today.
> Wily Peralta was solid, going six innings while giving up a run on seven hits. He walked one and struck out four.
Peralta actually looked pretty wild, at least early on. He threw close to half of his pitches for balls and worked behind in the count for the most part. But, with as good of stuff as he has, I suppose it isn’t that huge of a factor.
> Corey Hart was out of the lineup tonight with an apparent injury to the arch of his left foot. He’s considered day-to-day for now.
> In Ben Sheets’ first return to Milwaukee since he left in 2008, he talked to the media about his injuries and doubters since then.
> The Astros released former Brewers closer Francisco Cordero. I’m guessing he’ll just retire now; after the year he’s had, I can’t imagine any team being even remotely interested in him.
> The Braves got caught on the basepaths four- yes, four– times. Martin Prado got caught trying to take an extra base twice, Martin Maldonado picked off Freddie Freeman at first base on a snap-throw, and Maldonado threw out Jason Heyward attempting to steal second base.
> I forgot that the Braves signed former Brewer Lyle Overbay to a Minor League deal awhile back. He hit a single in the seventh inning.
> Tomorrow’s match-up:
Tim Hudson (14-5, 3.59 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (2-6, 3.99 ERA)
The Brewers haven’t faced Hudson since May of 2011, and it wasn’t pretty. Hudson threw a one-hit shutout that day. In fact, that was the same day Zack Greinke made his Brewers debut.