On Wednesday, the Brewers sent a big statement to the rest of the league by sweeping the Padres in San Diego while much of their starting lineup was injured.
Wednesday’s contest itself was a nail-biter after the first couple innings.
For starting pitcher Adrian Houser, the first and second innings were characterized by easy-enough outs. The third, fourth, and fifth innings were marked by leadoff hits, including two leadoff doubles, and pitching through traffic on the basepaths.
Houser pitched well through the traffic, allowing only a run apiece in the third and fourth innings. In the third, Trent Grisham drove in Victor Caratini who led off the inning with a double. Houser then walked Fernando Tatís Jr. and prompted Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer contact-outs to end the inning.
In the fourth, Houser allowed another double to open the inning, walked another batter, and prompted three straight groundouts. Unfortunately, the first two groundouts allowed runners to advance and allowed a run to score.
Each of these innings could have been much worse for Houser and the Crew, especially facing a Padres lineup known for power but also replete with ability to get on base and manufacture runs.
The bottom of the fifth started with a Trent Grisham single. Tatis grounded into a force-out to replace speed for speed at first, but then quickly reached second on a wild pitch. Manny Machado hit an absolute bullet to Billy McKinney in left before Brent Suter came in to replace Adrian Houser.
Suter struck out Eric Hosmer to end the fifth and then struck out the side in the sixth.
Meanwhile, the Brewers offense was able to overcome the two runs the Padres were able to piece together in the third and fourth innings. In the fourth, Jace Peterson knocked in Omar Narváez, who had reached on a single.
Narváez continued to have a day in the sixth, hitting a two-run home run. He got to the homerun pitch after a dubious ball call. A throwing error from Victor Caratini allowed Travis Shaw to reach second, which would prove to not matter when Narvy slammed the homer to right to give the Brewers a 3-2 lead.
Later in the sixth, Jace Peterson came to the plate with two outs, worked a full count, and then hit a 95 MPH fastball to the lower deck in right field.
The Brewers bullpen came up big to hold on to the lead. Devin Williams came on for Brent Suter in the seventh and apart from walking a batter and allowing contact in a single inning, looked like Devin Williams of 2020. He struck out Victor Caratini on a not-a-chance change-up. He felt confident enough to measure his stuff against Fernando Tatis Jr. Williams threw Tatis three straight changeups. The first, Tatis watched go by him for a strike. The second, he took a hack that belied all of his signature coolness. The third, he swung through to end the inning.
A particularly tense moment of the contest came in the eighth. Brad Boxberger walked two batters and allowed a single to load the bases with no outs in the eighth inning. He was able to strike out Tommy Pham before J.P. Feyereisen came on to replace him. Feyereisen struck out the next two batters to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.
Josh Hader came on to preserve the lead in the ninth. Hader got two quick outs before allowing a double to Tatis and walking Manny Machado. That brought Eric Hosmer, representing the winning run, to the plate. Hosmer worked a 3-0 count before Hader threw a strike on a mid-90s fastball for a strike. He fouled off two pitches for a full count before striking out swinging to end the game with the Brewers ahead 4-2.
The Brewers return to action against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday, April 23.