MILWAUKEE -- It was a daring dash from Hernan Perez, but, like the Brewers' comeback attempt, his effort to score the game's tying run starting from 180 feet out fell short in the Crew's 6-5 loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday night.
Trailing, 6-2, entering the bottom of the eighth, Milwaukee scored three runs and put the go-ahead run on base, but two defensive plays by Los Angeles kept the Brewers from drawing any closer as they dropped the series opener.
Sitting at second base with two outs, Perez got a good jump on Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton and took off to try to steal third base. The Brewers' right fielder had the base stolen when the Blanton's 2-1 delivery to Ramon Flores got away from catcher Yasmani Grandal.
Perez didn't hesitate rounding third, darting toward home plate as Grandal scrambled to the backstop. Perez reached a top speed of 19.7 mph, according to Statcast™, but both Blanton and Grandal's throw beat him to home plate.
"I felt like I knew where I was at, although it happened quick," Blanton said. "Maybe I had enough time because he was coming from second. Yas made a great throw, especially with the batter pretty much in the way. Yas said he could hardly see me when he made the throw, an unbelievable throw."
An attempt to dodge Blanton's glove didn't work as Perez was out -- a call which video review would confirm after a challenge by Brewers manager Craig Counsell.
"I thought Grandal did a nice job," Counsell said. "You get a lot of catchers on that play when you hear the crowd and you know he's running on the play, but he took his time, he didn't panic. He kind of turned, picked up his target and made a good throw. I thought how he played it was really good.
"[It was the] right play. It's an aggressive play. You're taking a shot. I don't have any problem with it."
Getting Perez out required a sound play by Grandal, who had to locate the ball and make an accurate throw to Blanton, who was on the move.
"Most of the time, the throw goes somewhere, but that one was right on the chest, so he had a chance to put his glove down," Perez said.
Had Perez been safe, it would have been Milwaukee's second run to score from second base unconventionally in the inning.
Four batters prior to Flores, with the score 6-4 and Jonathan Lucroy standing on second after a two-run double, Chris Carter lined a ball deep into the left-center gap. Off the bat, it appeared to have a chance to get over the fence, but Carter knew he didn't hit it well enough.
"I knew it was going to be one of those plays close to the wall," Carter said. "I didn't get it as good as I have been."
The next question was whether or not it would get down for extra bases. Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson held the answer, and it was a resounding "No." Pederson sprinted across center field to make the running grab at the warning track, but paid a heavy price by colliding with the wall.
"At first, I was like, 'How did he catch that?'" Carter said. "But then it was more so making sure that he was OK, because I saw him go down after that."
Heady baserunning by Lucroy allowed him to score on a rare two-base sacrifice fly to draw the Brewers within a run as Pederson went to the ground with the ball -- and would exit the game after the play with a bruised A/C joint in his right shoulder. But the spectacular catch played a pivotal role in cutting Milwaukee's rally short.
"He doesn't catch that ball, we have nobody out, a man on third base and we're looking pretty good," Counsell said. "If he runs into the wall and doesn't make a play, it's a triple. More than anything, that was the play of the game, without a doubt. More than getting thrown out at the plate, that was the play that changed the game."
Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based
in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.