MLB: Brewers edge the Diamondbacks
MILWAUKEE -- Another victory at home. Another one-run decision. It was business as usual Tuesday night for the Milwaukee Brewers. Continuing their trend of winning the close ones, especially at home, the Brewers nipped the Arizona Diamondbacks, 3...
MILWAUKEE -- Another victory at home. Another one-run decision. It was business as usual Tuesday night for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Continuing their trend of winning the close ones, especially at home, the Brewers nipped the Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-2, at Miller Park to claim their fourth consecutive victory.
All four victories have come by one run, tying a club record. And with the Chicago Cubs finally losing a game after their own four-game winning streak, the Brewers moved to 4 1/2 games on top of the NL Central.
"That's the name of the game -- score one more run than the opposition," said manager Ned Yost, whose club boosted its home record to 34-14, tying Cleveland for the tops in the majors.
"That's all that matters."
Closer Francisco Cordero has pitched in all four games of the white-knuckle streak, saving three of them. He notched his major league-high 30th save against the Diamondbacks, working around a two-out single by Orlando Hudson.
"It's a sign that we're pitching well and playing well," Cordero said. "The way we're playing, there's going to be a lot of save situations."
Following his season-long pattern, Brewers starter Claudio Vargas allowed his pitch count to climb too high to go deep into the game. He threw 100 pitches (60 strikes) in five innings, allowing five hits and three walks but only two runs while constantly working in and out of trouble.
The Diamondbacks scored both runs off Vargas in the first inning. Jeff DaVanon led off with an infield hit, moved up on a groundout and scored on Eric Byrnes' single to center.
Byrnes swiped second -- his first of two steals, moved to third on a grounder and scored on Chad Tracy's single up the middle.
Vargas kept things interesting by stranding runners in scoring position in each of his next four innings before departing. His biggest out came in the third, when he struck out Chris Young with two on and two out.
The Brewers trimmed a run off that lead in the second. After Yusmeiro Petit walked Prince Fielder, Arizona catcher Miguel Montero was charged with an error for not getting to Johnny Estrada's foul pop. Estrada then smashed a double over centerfielder Chris Young, scoring Fielder.
Graffanino followed with a walk but Petit defused that rally by getting Geoff Jenkins to ground into a double play.
Petit worked around a single by J.J. Hardy and double by Fielder in the third inning but wasn't as fortunate in the fourth. Graffanino led off with a homer to left, his seventh of the season, to tie the score, 2-2.
With one down, Tony Gwynn Jr. laced a double into the right field corner and Vargas helped his cause by punching a single past first baseman Tony Clark to put runners on the corners. Corey Hart followed with a sacrifice fly to shallow right.
The Brewers let a prime opportunity to add to their lead slip away in the sixth against Arizona reliever Juan Cruz. Gwynn drew a leadoff walk and Craig Counsell, batting for reliever Brian Shouse, punched a double down the left field line.
After Hart struck out on a curveball, Hardy drew a walk to load the bases. But Ryan Braun struck out on a 94-mph fastball.
Left-hander Doug Slaten then came on and retired Fielder on a fly to left, leaving the bases loaded.
After Shouse worked a 1-2-3 sixth in relief of Vargas, right-hander Carlos Villanueva took over. He worked a trouble-free seventh but found himself in quite a mess in the eighth.
It started with a leadoff double to left by Byrnes. Villanueva then alternated strikeouts and walks, whiffing Tony Clark, walking Tracy, whiffing Chris Young and walking Stephen Drew to load the bases.
Fortunately for the Villanueva and the Brewers, that pattern continued as he struck out Montero to leave the bases jammed.
CREW CUTS: Byrnes stole two bases, giving him 22 for the season. It was the third time this season that he has stolen two in a game and the eighth time in his career.
-- Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune