Thursday, June 30, 2016

Guerra shuts down Dodgers as Braun surges

Junior Guerra pitched eight scoreless innings and Ryan Braun homered on a four-RBI night in the Brewers' 7-0 win over the Dodgers on Wednesday at Miller Park.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a three-run home run and Braun added a two-run double as the Brewers spoiled Dodgers right-hander Brock Stewart's Major League debut with a five-run, 11-batter second inning. Stewart, a 24-year-old who began the season at Class A Rancho Cucamonga, rebounded to pitch through the fifth, but Guerra, another rookie, albeit a 31-year-old one, remained in control all night. After Corey Seager's double with one out in the first inning, no Dodger reached second base.
"That's our best start of the year, and certainly his best game of the year," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "As the game went on, he seemed to get better and better."
The Brewers improved to 9-2 in Guerra's starts. He lowered his ERA to 3.25 while allowing two hits in a career-high eight innings. He walked two and struck out seven before Michael Blazek finished the shutout with a perfect ninth.
Stewart took the loss, charged with five earned runs on eight hits in five innings. He struck out seven, including the first two batters of his big league career.
"I thought he did a nice job," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Stewart. "He pitched better than the linescore."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Shift unhinges MLB debut:
 Except for the second inning, Stewart faced the minimum batters in five innings. And the rocky inning began with what should have been a routine broken-bat grounder to second base by Chris Carter, except second baseman Chase Utleywas shifted over toward shortstop. Seven of the next eight batters reached base.
"Self-admitted, but the game might have sped up on him a little," Roberts said. "His first inning was clean with electric stuff. The second inning started with a couple seeing-eye hits and ... things happened quickly." More >
Big night for Braun: Braun's double off Stewart in the second inning extended the Brewers' lead to 5-0, and his homer in the seventh off Chris Hatcher made it 7-0. Both hits came with two outs, and both went to the opposite field. Braun's four RBIs matched his season high.
"Usually when I'm going my best, I'm definitely driving a lot of balls the other way," Braun said. "The goal is to hit it where it's pitched, so it's nice that I'm starting to get that true backspin on the ball again." More >
Offensive outage: Stewart would have needed to throw a shutout just to break even, as the Dodgers' offense had no answer for Guerra. The Dodgers had two hits, none after Yasiel Puig's single leading off the fifth inning. The last 14 Dodgers batters were retired.
Home cooking: Like Braun, Nieuwenhuis did his damage to the opposite field, sneaking his three-run home run over the fence in left. Nieuwenhuis is batting .314 (27-for-86) in 34 home games with eight doubles, a triple, four home runs, 15 RBIs and nine walks. He is a .131/.291/.214 hitter on the road.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
By "game score," a metric developed by Bill James to measure the effectiveness of starts, Guerra delivered the Brewers' best outing all season, and the team's 10th-best start of the Miller Park era (since 2001). Guerra scored an 87, topping Zach Davies' 85 on June 1 against the Cardinals. More >
A-GONE
Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was ejected by third-base umpire Dan Bellino after striking out in the fourth inning. Gonzalez, who disagreed with a called check swing, waved at Bellino, who responded with Gonzalez's fifth career ejection. More >
WHAT'S NEXT
Dodgers: Kenta Maeda held Milwaukee to one run in 6 1/3 innings on June 19. But in Thursday's getaway game, starting at 11:10 a.m. PT, he will be coming off his worst road start of the year, allowing four runs and a pair of Andrew McCutchen home runs in Pittsburgh.
Brewers: Coming off a no-decision against the Nationals in which he matched a career high with nine strikeouts, Davies will start for the Brewers in Thursday's 1:10 p.m. CT finale. Davies surrendered one earned run in seven innings of a no-decision at Dodger Stadium on June 17.

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