Brewers not quite satisfied with 5-4 homestand
By ANDREW GRUMAN
MILWAUKEE -- Fresh off a four-game sweep of the team with the best record in baseball, the Brewers had a nine-game homestand looming with two of three opponents coming to Milwaukee carrying the two worst records in baseball.
It was a chance for Milwaukee to surge ahead and get back into the race.
In the end, the Brewers escaped with a 5-4 record and left many feeling that it could have gone better.
"It is definitely not successful enough for us," Brewers closer John Axford said. "We wanted to win more than that. Obviously, coming away with more wins than losses is fantastic, but we played some teams that we felt we could have picked up some more games against and we wish we could have."
However, there was also the feeling that it could have been a lot worse, especially with how the ninth inning went Sunday against the Padres.
Leading, 6-2, heading into the ninth with Axford on the mound, things got interesting in a hurry, as a couple of unlucky breaks and walks chased Axford from the game.
When Jose Veras walked in another run, the Brewers' lead was suddenly just one and the bases were still loaded.
Then with the count full, on his 14th curveball of the inning, Veras punched out John Baker looking to end the game.
Had the Brewers blown the game, the homestand would have been looked at a lot differently.
"I think should have won one more game, but I'm okay with it," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I liked the game until the ninth inning today. It was a good ballgame."
Now the Brewers head out on the road and will face the two worst teams in the American League. It's yet another great chance for the Brewers to make up some ground.
"I don't care who you play against, you have to go out there and win," Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks said. "I don't care if they are below .500 or not below .500, we expect to win. It is important to go out there and win every game right now."
Despite all the injuries and adversity Milwaukee has faced thus far, it will only be 4-1/2 or 5-1/2 games out of first place, depending on how first-place Cincinnati fares Sunday night.
"That's baseball," Weeks said. "Some crazy things happen. We are still in it."
Veras thought he had Baker rung up on a check swing, but third base umpire Mike DiMuro disagreed. He then knew he needed to throw an even better pitch.
He went back to his curveball, and it froze Baker.
That just might have been the biggest pitch of the season thus far for the Brewers.
"It is a good day for us because we won the series," Veras said. "That's all we care about. We have to find a way to win the ballgames. That's it."