Brewers spoil Boston’s big day
On what was an emotional day in Boston, the Milwaukee Brewers came into Fenway Park and spoiled the party.
The Brewers watched from the dugout as the Red Sox received their World Series rings in an emotional ceremony as victims of the Boston Marathon bombing helped with the festivities, but a four-run ninth inning had the once-raucous crowd scrambling for the exits.
Released by Boston just prior to the start of last season, Lyle Overbay put the Brewers in front for good with a two-run double in the ninth inning of Milwaukee’s 6-2 victory.
"We want to make sure they are down to our level," Overbay said. "They won a World Series, and we’re jealous, but we want to make sure they know that we are a part of this."
The Brewers were in position to win the game with a big inning because of another strong pitching performance from the starter and the bullpen. Marco Estrada allowed just one earned run with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings, while Will Smith and Brandon Kintzler got Milwaukee to the ninth inning with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Estrada continued where Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse and Matt Garza left off by taming a dangerous Boston lineup. Milwaukee’s starting pitchers have a 1.69 ERA in the first four games of the season with opponents hitting just .165 against them.
"Marco’s changeup today was unbelievable," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He threw nice breaking balls and he spotted his fastball like he always does, but he threw some changeups that were just nasty."
But like Lohse and Garza, Estrada didn’t get a win to show for his efforts. That’s because the Brewers continued to squander scoring opportunities by failing to get timely hits in the first eight innings.
Milwaukee was 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position in the three-game series against Atlanta and started Friday’s game 1-for-11 with a chance to drive in a run. That all changed in the ninth inning when the Brewers jumped on Red Sox reliever Edward Mujica.
Khris Davis led off the inning with a double to left on a first-pitch fastball and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Scooter Gennett. Mujica tried to get Davis at third but his throw was late, allowing Gennett to reach.
"I saw him good," Davis said. "I didn’t want to get to that split finger, so I just went ahead and jumped him."
Overbay saw two splitters from Mujica and ripped the second one into the right-field corner for a two-run double to put the Brewers in front 4-2.
"They had been throwing a lot of changeups to the lefties, me especially," Overbay said. "It was a ‘splitty’, but he left it up on the second pitch, and I was able to get it over Napoli’s head."
Carlos Gomez followed with an RBI single to left center, his fourth hit of the day. Aramis Ramirez added another insurance run to the board later in the inning with a single that scored Jean Segura. After scoring just four runs in the series against Atlanta, Milwaukee plated four in the ninth inning alone Friday.
"We have all these guys that when I write down our lineup I think, ‘That’s a good lineup,’ " Roenicke said. "Then we don’t see much until late in the game there. The last two days we didn’t see it at all."
Not only did the Red Sox have their three World Series trophies on display Friday, but representatives from the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins brought their championship hardware to the party.
Mix in the emotion of honoring the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Brewers were walking into a firestorm Friday.
"When you watch this from an opposing side, this is what you dream of as a kid," Roenicke said. "Every single guy in that locker room dreams of the same thing and that’s being in a World Series and winning it. So the ceremony itself was pretty cool."
Braun battling ailment: Ryan Braun’s thumb problem has returned, as the nagging injury that plagued the right fielder for most of 2013 is bothering him again.
Braun was forced to serve as the designated hitter Friday because of bruises and blisters caused by his inability to tell how hard he is gripping the baseball due to the irritated nerve between the thumb and index finger.
"It’s the same thing," Braun told reporters in Boston prior to Friday’s game. "The nerve is messed up so my whole thumb is numb, so I can’t feel gripping the ball or the bat. So I gripped it too hard and I have crazy bruises and blisters.
"I’m optimistic that eventually we’ll figure something out. You know how it is. Everybody deals with different things. I know what the alternative is and I’m not ready to consider anything like that."
The thumb injury eventually landed Braun on the disabled list last season and limited him to just nine home runs in 225 at-bats before he was suspended for the final 65 games in 2013. Surgery would be the last option Braun would have, but he told reporters the procedure doesn’t guarantee success. It’s not clear if Braun will have to be used as the designated hitter in the final two games of the series, as Roenicke initially intended to use Jonathan Lucroy, Ramirez and Segura at DH this weekend.
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