The Brewers have not been good on the road (9-18 prior to Wednesday's game) and they haven't been good against the Reds (2-6 in 2011 prior to Wednesday's game) thus far. It looked like the Brewers might be turning a corner, however, after a 2-2 West Coast road trip, followed by an 8-1 homestand. Milwaukee dropped the first of three to Cincinnati on Monday but took Tuesday's contest.
So, entering Wednesday's game, I felt that if Milwaukee could win on Wednesday and take 2 of 3 from the Reds in Cincinnati, it would signal that that corner had indeed been turned. Milwaukee got out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning and 3-0 after the fourth inning. Shaun Marcum was cruising along. Things looked good. Marcum, as is becoming customary, tired, and he gave up a two-run home run to Jay Bruce in the seventh inning. Still, the Brewers had the lead, 3-2.
Kam Loe came in to pitch the eighth inning and recorded two quick outs. He then hit Brandon Phillips with a pitch and Joey Votto followed by crushing Loe's offering 450 feet. In the blink of an eye, the lead was gone. The Brewers went out with a whimper in the ninth. Game over. Corner unturned. I was devastated. I couldn't sleep.
It is sort of scary to me how much I care about the Brewers. Sometimes it's hard to remember it's just one game out of 162.
After an off-day, Milwaukee was in Florida to take on the Marlins. Friday's game took on an eerily similar feel after the Brewers took leads of 2-0 and 4-1, only to see the Marlins take a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning. The Brewers got two runners on in the eighth but the middle of the line-up failed to plate any runs.
In the ninth, the Marlins sent the league's leader in saves, Leo Nunez, to the mound. He had converted 19 of 20 save opportunities. Things were not looking pretty. Would it be another blown opportunity?
Yuniesky Betancourt led off the inning with a single (although he tried to get picked off after he made too wide of a turn). A glimmer of hope. Ryan Braun, who was sitting out the game with a sore shoulder, came to the plate to hit for the pitcher. Braun was made for moments like this and he didn't disappoint. After working the count to 1-1, Braun tagged one to the blue seats in leftfield. In the blink of an eye, the Brewers went ahead.
Axford closed out the ninth for the win. I was so excited I couldn't sleep.
Reds 4, Brewers 3
Game played 6-1-11
Brewers 6, Marlins 5
Game played 6-3-11