Ryan Braun, wearing injured teammate Christian Yelich’s jersey under his own as a tribute, slugged a go-ahead, two-run homer to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 3-2 win over the host Miami Marlins on Thursday afternoon.
Yelich, the National League’s reigning MVP, was lost for the season on Tuesday with a fractured kneecap. But that hasn’t stopped the Brewers, who have won seven straight contests, including a four-game sweep of the Marlins, who have the worst record in the NL.
The Brewers remained tied with Chicago in second place, four games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis, which defeated Colorado 10-3. Milwaukee stayed tied with the Cubs, 4-1 winners at San Diego, for the second NL wild-card spot.
Braun, a former Miami Hurricanes star, has 19 homers and 62 RBIs this season.
Milwaukee starter Gio Gonzalez, a native of Miami-Dade County, got a no-decision as he was removed after just four innings and 74 pitches. He allowed seven hits, no walks and two runs.
Reliever Freddy Peralta (6-3) earned the win by pitching two scoreless innings and striking out three. Josh Hader picked up his 31st save of the season — his second in roughly 16 hours.
Miami starter Caleb Smith (8-10) took the loss, allowing six hits, two walks and three runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Milwaukee opened the scoring in the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter Lorenzo Cain singled, advanced to second on a Yasmani Grandal walk, went to third on a Braun groundout and scored on Mike Moustakas’ sacrifice fly.
However, Miami tied the score in the bottom of the first. Leadoff batter Jon Berti singled, stole second, went to third on a throwing error by Grandal at catcher and scored on Miguel Rojas’ single.
Later in the inning, Rojas reached third base with one out. Jorge Alfaro hit a one-hopper to second baseman Hernan Perez, who shuffled to his left to make the catch before firing home to nail Rojas at the plate. Rojas likely would’ve scored, but he hesitated before running home.
Gonzalez, who entered the game hitting .000 — 0-for-20 this seasons with 15 strikeouts and just one walk — led off the third inning with a clean, opposite-field single to right on a 1-2 slider. That turned out to be a big play because Braun homered two outs later, an opposite-field shot.
Miami cut its deficit to 3-2 in the fourth. Isan Diaz tripled off the top of the wall in center, missing a homer by a few inches. He scored when the next batter, Lewis Brinson, singled.
But those were all the runs on the day for the Marlins, who lost by two runs or fewer for the third straight game.
—Field Level Media