Right-hander goes 4 2/3, yields pair of homers in loss to D-backs
By Curt Hogg
MILWAUKEE -- You probably won't see very many innings like the first two of the Brewers' 8-1 loss to the D-backs on Wednesday night at Miller Park.
Milwaukee committed a season-high five errors within the game's first 12 batters as Arizona jumped out to an 8-0 lead. So unusual were the defensive woes that Brewers manager Craig Counsell said that the innings were "out of 'The Twilight Zone.'"
"It is not something I've ever seen," Counsell said. "It was just strange, the first two innings really. It was a tough night. It was a strange night. You just put it in the rear-view mirror and move on."
Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson didn't have much of a chance to settle in early on with three errors being committed over a span of two batters in the first inning. After a groundout to open the game, shortstop Jonathan Villar bobbled Phil Gosselin's grounder and then committed a second error on the next batter by throwing Jean Segura's chopper into right field. The errant throw allowed Gosselin to advance to third, and then he came around to score as right fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis couldn't corral the bounding ball.
"I was just trying to control what I can control and go onto the next pitch," Nelson said. "I've just got to keep trying to make quality pitches."
Yasmany Tomas' three-run homer put the Brewers in a 5-0 deficit before Nelson could record his second out of the game. Nieuwenhuis added two more errors in the second, leading to an unearned run for Nelson. Tomas would add another homer, a two-run shot in the fifth, to cap the scoring against Nelson, whose final line was 4 2/3 innings, nine hits, eight runs (six earned), two walks and seven strikeouts.
"When you get that many errors behind you, your outing is not going to look good," Counsell said.
Nelson pitched much better than his line would indicate, however. The right-hander regularly got ahead of hitters with first-pitch strikes and flashed effective put-away breaking pitches, striking out the side in the second and third innings.
"There were some really good things," Counsell said. "I think he threw strike one to the first 15 hitters. I thought stuff-wise, he was in the top end of the stuff he's had this year. Obviously, he made some mistakes to Tomas, but I thought his curveball was excellent tonight and he got ahead. He probably got ahead of 20, 22, 23 hitters."
A fierce competitor, Nelson still managed to take positives away from his outing.
"I've said before many times, I hate losing, no matter who it's to or what we're playing," Nelson said. "But I'm proud of the adjustments I've made up to this point. There is a silver lining in that outing, and I know what it felt like with my delivery to be consistent and filling the zone."
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.