Homer-happy Brewers hang on to beat Padres 8-4
MILWAUKEE — Welcome to the big leagues, Brett Kennedy.
Jesus Aguilar, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames hit consecutive first-inning homers to spoil Kennedy’s San Diego debut and propel the Milwaukee Brewers to an 8-4 victory over the Padres on Wednesday night.
Kennedy, who was 10-0 in 16 starts at Triple-A El Paso before being called up Monday, was tagged for six runs on 11 hits in four innings.
“We were trying to be aggressive within the strike zone, kind of go after him right away,” Aguilar said through a translator. “He even surprised us because he was throwing a little harder than all the reports said. We knew he had a really good record down below in Triple-A, but it’s a little different up here. We were just trying to be aggressive with everything he threw in the zone.”
Orlando Arcia and Christian Yelich also homered for the Brewers, giving them a season-high five. Hunter Renfroe had a two-run shot for San Diego.
Jhoulys Chacin (11-4) allowed three runs on six hits in six innings to win for the fifth time in six decisions.
“We got the early lead and then he put up a bunch of zeroes, which just takes a little wind out of the sails of the opponent, obviously, and we tacked on a couple more runs as well,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He pitched a good game. It was kind of what we’ve seen from Jhoulys all year.”
Kennedy (0-1) retired Yelich on a groundout to open the game, but the next seven hitters reached. Lorenzo Cain singled to right and advanced to third on Mike Moustakas’ opposite-field bloop single down the left-field line.
Aguilar then drove a 3-2 pitch the other way over the right-field wall for his team-leading 28th home run. Shaw followed with his 23rd homer and Thames added his 16th to put the Brewers up 5-0.
Kennedy, who had allowed just six homers in 89 1/3 innings in the Pacific Coast League, then allowed singles to Erik Kratz and Orlando Arcia before retiring the next two hitters.
“Not too many butterflies but I was amped up,” Kennedy said. “The ball was coming out pretty good. I didn’t locate some pitches. I threw a good pitch to Aguilar but he put a good swinging on it and hit a home run. I think I tried doing a little too much after that on those next two home runs. After that, I kind of settled down a little bit and started making some pitches.”
The Brewers made it 6-0 in the second on singles by Cain and Aguilar and Shaw’s sacrifice fly.
San Diego pushed across run in the fifth. Austin Hedges singled and Freddy Galvis walked. Chacin then snagged Franmil Reyes’ scorching liner and doubled Galvis off first. Hedges came around on Cory Spangenberg’s single under the glove of first baseman Aguilar.
Arcia answered in the bottom half with his third homer, a two-out solo shot to center. It was his first homer since April 19, spanning 55 games and 182 plate appearances for a career-long homerless streak.
Renfroe’s two-run homer in the sixth, his 11th, cut the lead to 7-3, but Yelich countered with his 18th homer to open the bottom half.
Padres manager Andy Green said he was encouraged by the way Kennedy responded after the first inning.
“He was probably a little ampled up and a little less command than he’s had than he’s had over the course of the season,” Green said. “He’s been so pinpoint for most of the season. I actually thought the pitch to Aguilar was a tip-your-cap swings a guy just makes from time to time. Then missed over the middle to some good left-handed hitters. But we saw who he was over the last couple innings. We saw a guy settled in, dialed in, locating his fastball very well. He pitched effectively.”
Kennedy became the third pitcher to allow three straight home runs in his debut, according to STATS, Inc., joining the Yankees Bill Fulton (Sept. 12, 1987 at Toronto) and the Brewers Tyler Thornburg (June 19, 2012 vs. Toronto). Kennedy is the only one to do so in the first inning of his debut.
Five homers by five different players tied a franchise record. It was the first time the Brewers hit three consecutive homers since May 9, 2015 at Detroit (Ryan Braun, Adam Lind, Aramis Ramirez). According to Stats, Inc, it was the first time the Brewers had three consecutive home runs at home.
Padres: LHP Robbi Erlin (2-3, 3.34) will make his fourth start of the season, along with 27 relief appearances. He made one start in May and another in June, before starting Aug. 2 against the Cubs, allowing one run in five innings for his ninth career victory as a starter.
Brewers: RHP Junior Guerra (6-7, 3.42) has not won in four starts since July 8. He has allowed 15 earned runs in 22 innings over that span. Guerra has a 2.55 ERA in 13 starts at Miller Park, compared with 4.97 on the road.