Brewers own best record in baseball
MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers would appreciate it if you don't tell anyone else that they have the best record in the major leagues. "Maybe we can stay under the radar a little longer and people will take us lightly and we'll pick up some mo...
MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers would appreciate it if you don't tell anyone else that they have the best record in the major leagues.
"Maybe we can stay under the radar a little longer and people will take us lightly and we'll pick up some more wins," shortstop J.J. Hardy said.
That's not too likely now that the Brewers and their 17-9 record is the best in the majors after their 12-2 whipping of the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday night at Miller Park before an audience of 20,446. This night's bandwagon riders included Marquette basketball coach Tom Crean and Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who were in the Brewers clubhouse to soak in some of the postgame glow.
What was most promising about this victory was not just that Hardy tied a career high with four hits to continue his offensive tear of late, or that Geoff Jenkins contributed to the 17-hit onslaught with four of his own, including a solo home run that capped the season high in runs.
Instead, it was the fact that for all the success the Brewers have had in the early going this season, two players who have been noticeably absent from much of it -- pitcher Ben Sheets and center fielder Bill Hall -- played key roles in their third straight victory.
"Everybody is playing very very well right now," manager Ned Yost said.
Sheets (2-2) picked up his first victory since opening day with a six-inning outing and Hall delivered a key two-run double for his first RBIs in eight games. It was the hit that ignited a four-run fifth inning that carried over to a seven-run sixth that made Cardinals starter Braden Looper (3-2) the victim.
"Billy Hall's at-bat was the one that broke the ice for us and everything fell into place after that," Yost said.
That included Sheets' effort on the mound. The Brewers were 1-4 in Sheets' five prior starts this season. But there is little doubt that if the team's run of success is to continue, Sheets will have to play a major part in it.
"It's been kind of frustrating," Sheets said. "But I've never jumped out to great starts before. ...
"There's still a long season left, and I think I've proven that as long as I'm healthy, I'll figure something out."
Sheets looked very much like himself over his last three innings as he held the Cardinals to just two singles by Albert Pujols. "My curveball got a little bit better," Sheets said. "My command has been brutal all season, but in those last three innings things seemed a little bit normal."
What was not normal was that Sheets singled to open the sixth, which snapped his 0-for- 38 streak that stretched to last May and opened the door to the Brewers biggest inning of the season. Hardy had a two- run double in the inning and Tony Graffanino added a three- run homer.
The only down part of the inning was that Yost didn't let Sheets hit for a second time when the Brewers batted around. "He argued with me," Yost said. "He didn't care about going back out to pitch. He just wanted to hit."
Why not? Hitting was contagious over those final four innings when the Brewers had six singles, three doubles and two home runs. Every Brewers starter but Kevin Mench had at least one hit and one run. But Mench contributed two runs batted in with a sacrifice fly and an infield out.
"That's a lot of fun, everybody doing something positive," Hardy said.
Prior to the game, Yost was saying how pleased he was with his team's overall play.
"If they're not looking at us now," Yost said of other teams, "they'll be looking at us eventually."
That probably starts now.