PHILADELPHIA — The Milwaukee Brewers hung on for dear life to snap their season-high six-game losing streak Saturday
Milwaukee will hope to get a less stressful win Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizen’s Bank Park.
Domingo Santana hit the tiebreaking single in the ninth inning of a 9-8 victory after Milwaukee blew a seven-run lead and nearly wasted another big night by Ryan Braun in Philadelphia.
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“I told the guys the other day, it’s not going to be easy,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I wasn’t referring to this game, but it wasn’t easy. The guys, they picked each other up and that’s what it came down to. Sometimes that’s the way it has to work.”
Braun returned after missing three games with a sore wrist and drove in four runs for Milwaukee by going 3-for-3 and finishing a triple shy of the cycle. He was removed from the game when the Brewers nearly collapsed.
“It’s very nerve-racking,” Braun said. “It’s a lot scarier watching a game like that than being able to be a part of it and knowing you have an opportunity to hopefully influence the outcome.”
Braun will look to influence the outcome of another win in Philadelphia, where is hitting .398 for his career.
“As a competitor, this is certainly a fun place to play,” Braun said. “I think this place and Wrigley are two of the more challenging places to play. Fans are always loud, they’re into it. As a competitor, it’s an atmosphere and an environment that you look forward to having an opportunity to compete when you do get a chance to play here. Fond memories of this place.”
Counsell said Braun will be in the lineup and that’s bad news for Jerad Eickhoff, who will be the latest Philadelphia pitcher to attempt to keep the left fielder’s bat quiet.
Eickhoff will duel against Brewers starter Junior Guerra, both of whom have struggled on the mound lately.
Eickhoff is looking to rebound after giving up five earned runs in six innings in his last start against the Miami Marlins, but hasn’t had much in the way of luck this season, winning one decision.
For the Brewers, Guerra hasn’t won since May 31 against the New York Mets when he threw six shutout innings in a 7-1 Brewers win. The right-hander has had trouble going deep into games and hasn’t made it through six innings since June 21.
While Braun’s bat was the story for the Brewers, outfielder Odubel Herrera collected four hits of his own for the Phillies including a pair of doubles and a home run Saturday.
After some inconsistencies early on this season, Herrera has been heating up in July by batting .350 in his last 16 games.
“He’s swinging the bat real well,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He’s hard to figure out. He goes into those spells where he doesn’t have the plate discipline and then all of a sudden he comes out of it and he’s just kind of an up and down kind of guy. When he’s hot, he’s really hot like tonight. He’s hard to figure out, but I’m glad that he’s pushing that average up.”
Herrera’s average is up to .270 for the season. He crossed the 30-double plateau for the second consecutive season, something only he, Jimmy Rollins and Scott Rolen have done on the Phillies in the last 30 years before turning 26.
Herrera isn’t the only Phillies outfielder turning it on this month. Rookie outfielder Nick Williams has hit safely in seven consecutive games and has reached base safely in 14 of his first 16 career starts in right field.