Braun's AB sets up memorable third inning

Braun's AB sets up memorable third inning

MILWAUKEE -- The biggest at-bat of the Brewers' best offensive day this season was not Domingo Santana's leadoff home run, either of Chris Carter's two fence-clearing shots or any of the club's nine extra-base hits, for that matter.

As manager Craig Counsell saw it, the sequence that sent the Brewers to a 14-5 win over the Marlins on Sunday was Ryan Braun's RBI single after a 10-pitch at-bat against Miami starter Tom Koehler in the third inning.

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"That was the at-bat that really started it, I felt," Counsell said.

Braun plates Villar

When it was finished, the Brewers had 14 runs for the first time since an Aug. 27, 2012, win over the Cubs, and 18 hits for the first time since July 13, 2014, against the Cardinals. By the end of the fourth, the Brewers had an 11-1 lead and new season highs for runs and hits. The Brewers' seven-run third, which included Braun's critical single followed by Carter's two-run homer, was Milwaukee's biggest inning this season.

It was a team effort. Braun, Carter, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Jonathan Villar each tallied three hits. Carter led the way with three RBIs, while Santana, Braun, Nieuwenhuis and Martin Maldonado recorded two RBIs apiece. The Brewers went 8-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

"They hit everything I threw," said Koehler, who was charged with eight earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. "I didn't have great command. I didn't give the team a chance to win. I expect a lot more from myself. I felt like that was a flat-out embarrassing performance."

"We got innings going and we kept them going with good at-bats," Counsell said. "It does get contagious, certainly. You get that starter out and you get to the end of any team's bullpen, that's what you want to do."

Carter's two long balls

Carter was hitless in his last 13 at-bats, including a loud flyout in the first, before following Braun's critical single with an opposite-field, two-run homer. Carter homered again an inning later, sneaking a line drive over the left-field fence, and added a double in the eighth.

Seventeen of Carter's 22 hits this season have gone for extra bases. His 10 total bases on Sunday were a season high for the Brewers.

"I didn't know it was 0-for-[13], but I knew it had been a few games," Carter said. "You can't let the past get to you. You have to focus on what's forward.

"I think it's big for us after we dropped the last few games. It's good when you can score some runs for your starter and get a win. When you get guys up getting hits like that, it gets more of us up there to get hits, too. I think it's contagious like that."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.