Brewers want fast starts to continue vs. D-backs

Field Level Media

August 24, 2019 at 8:02 am.

The Milwaukee Brewers have delivered first-inning barrages in each of their past two games and that is something manager Craig Counsell could get used to seeing.

The Brewers look to build on the back-to-back victories and aim for their third straight strong start on Saturday when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks in the middle contest of a three-game set.

Milwaukee used a four-run first inning to jump-start a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday and followed up with a three-run opening frame in Friday’s 6-1 triumph over Arizona.

“It is such a difference playing with a lead and having a little bit of space in the game, which we have done the past two games,” Counsell told reporters in his postgame press conference Friday. “Nice job by the offense. That was a really good inning.”

Mike Moustakas has been the key cog in both games. He belted a three-run homer in the first-inning uprising against St. Louis and delivered a two-run double during the opening salvo against the Diamondbacks.

Moustakas has been lava-hot with four homers and 13 RBIs over the past five games. He is 8-for-20 with four walks during the stretch to raise his season average to .264 with 31 homers and 76 RBIs.

His hot hitting has helped the Brewers move within three games of the Chicago Cubs for the National League’s second wild-card spot. Milwaukee is 3 1/2 games behind the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals.

Arizona has lost back-to-back games and is 5 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the wild-card derby.

The Diamondbacks had just two hits in Friday’s game as Milwaukee starter Jordan Lyles tossed six no-hit innings before exiting. Counsell said he pulled Lyles because “he was tired.”

“He was awesome,” Counsell said of the 99-pitch effort. “He pitched a heck of a game.”

Arizona manager Torey Lovullo was disappointed with the results but not with his team’s approach.

“It definitely wasn’t what we thought about happening or prepared to have happen,” Lovullo said in his postgame press conference. “I thought our guys had a good game plan walking into the game.

“But you wait several innings before you get your first hit, it didn’t go the way we wanted it to. We got to figure that out. We have to do a little bit better than we did today. I say that because I believe in these guys and I believe they are a lot better than the two hits we got tonight.”

Ketel Marte had an RBI single in the ninth to break up the shutout and Christian Walker reached base three times on a single and two walks. Walker’s bloop hit with two outs in the seventh broke up the Milwaukee no-hit bid.

On Saturday, Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson (5-3, 4.54 ERA) will face his former franchise for the sixth time. The 31-year-old is 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA against the Diamondbacks.

Anderson, who spent 2014-15 with Arizona, hasn’t faced the Diamondbacks this season.

Anderson lost for the first time since June 21 in his last turn as the Washington Nationals torched him for a career-worst 10 runs in 2 1/3 innings in a 16-8 victory over the Brewers. Three of the nine hits off Anderson were homers.

Arizona’s Jake Lamb is 1-for-13 with six strikeouts against Anderson but the one hit was a homer.

Right-hander Zac Gallen (2-3, 2.45) will get the call for the Diamondbacks.

The 24-year-old rookie is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts since Arizona acquired him from the Miami Marlins at the trade deadline.

Gallen received a no-decision against the Colorado Rockies in his last turn, allowing one run and five hits over six innings. He struck out eight but walked a season-worst six.