Brewers Can’t Catapult Streak to Six

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 If you hit a double to left-center, drive in your pitcher and your leadoff man who was just walked, then slide head-first into home plate thanks to an error by the opposing pitcher, you must be none other than Corey Hart.

“I’m still tired,” said Hart.  “I wish there wouldn’t have been that many mistakes so I could have stayed there.”

A throwing error by pitcher Doug Fister accounted for Hart being able to dive home slip-and-slide-style after batting-in Randy Wolf and Rickie Weeks to make it 3-2 Crew. Good thing it was the Brewers’ sixth sellout crowd of the season, so fans could stand and cheer in sheer disbelief of the spectacle. 

By: Melissa S. Wollering, TSB Brewers Beat Writer & Fox Sports Wisconsin Guest Writer

“I think my legs were giving out so I was going to fall down no matter what,” says Hart. “I just tried to make it look a little better than it would have.  [The ball] kicked back but I think the third baseman was looking back for the outfielder. So I took off, because it looked like he was just in la-la land.”

Unfortunately, action from the Brewers offense may currently be floating in la-la land, too. The runs in the fourth inning were all batters could muster on a muggy Saturday afternoon. Randy Wolf surrendered two home runs as part of eight hits, five runs (four earned), four walks (one intentional), four strikeouts and a hit-by-pitch.

“I didn’t locate my fastball as well as I had my previous two starts,” said Wolf.  “Pretty much everything rides off your fastball, and when you don’t have good fastball command, it’s hard to be successful.”

Milton Bradley solo-homered off Wolf on a change-up in the second inning to end his 0-23 drought. Jose Lopez got a piece of one of Wolf’s fastballs, that just hovered too tight to the plate. Lopez hit it for a 2-RBI homer to left, extending his own ten-game hitting streak, making it 5-4 Mariners.

While Wolf struggled on the mound, he got the job done at the plate. Wolf hit the ball clear to the right corner abyss in the third for a double. Wolf also hit a single over the head of shortstop Jack Wilson in the fourth.  Those are now the 29th and the 30th hits by a Brewers’ pitcher this season.

“That was pretty much the only positive part of the day for me,” said Wolf.

“We appeared to turn the game around in that third inning, similar to last night, all of a sudden an outburst,” said Manager Ken Macha.  “But I would have liked to come back and get a shut down inning and that didn’t happen.”

Prince Fielder went 2 for 4 Saturday, collecting a double to right-center in the first and home run number 15 in the third.  That homer came on a 2-1 pitch after Corey Hart’s base-clearing party, giving Milwaukee a two-run advantage. But the advantage wasn’t enough to extend the Brewers recent win streak to six.

“Anytime you throw up a four-spot, you’re obviously hoping to keep up the momentum,” said Hart. “But we weren’t able to do much after they scored and it kind of took the air out of us a little bit.”

Mariners’ middle-reliever Mike Sweeney sang the Crew’s bats to sleep for four solid innings and earned his first win of the season. It happened to be his first major-league outing of the season.

“When they brought him in, I checked the number that he had,” said Macha.  “Left-handed hitters were hitting .118 off him in AAA.  This guy must have a great change-up to get lefties out.  You want to have a lesson on learning the value of a good changeup, that was today.  He got us off balance pretty good.”

“He threw the ball well,” says Hart.  “Obviously, we haven’t seen him, but the visuals at the end of the game were also kind of tough. In those 3-o-clock starts you know its going to be rough late so you always hope you get going early.”

Just like that, the Brewers bats seemed to feed off the early-game sun and fade with the shadows.  In the fourth, Miller Park’s familiar afternoon shadows darkened portions of the field at odd angles. Macha did not feel as though that contributed to the Mariners’ rally from behind, but players acknowledged it.

“This is tough, there’s a lot of shade and sun throughout,” said Hart.  “You kind of lose depth perception but I don’t know if it would have mattered. [Sweeney] threw the ball well.”

The Brewers bullpen also threw the ball well Saturday.  David Riske pitched a scoreless sixth inning. Todd Coffey bobbled a throw from Fielder that would have tagged Rob Johnson out at first in the seventh. However, after pitcher Brian Sweeney sacrifice bunted to advance Johnson, Zach Braddock caught Ichiro Suzuki with a strikeout looking to end that inning.

Kameron Loe pitched a scoreless eighth, striking out Franklin Gutierrez. Trevor Hoffman was brought in for the ninth and held the inning scoreless, three up, three down.

Also worth noting, Mariners’ Chone Figgins gave the Brewers’ pitching and catching staff more trouble again Saturday.  Figgins stole yet another base in the first inning, his 20th of the season, after tying his career high for three stolen bases in one game Friday night.

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