Santana, Broxton emerge from slow starts

Santana, Broxton emerge from slow starts

TORONTO -- Keon Broxton had as many hits -- one -- as he absorbed fastballs to the face during the first week of the regular season. Domingo Santana did not fare much better. His ninth-inning home run against the Cubs on Sunday was his second hit in his 18th at-bat.

Between them, the two Brewers outfielders were 3-for-39 on Milwaukee's opening homestand. They bested that in one night on the road Tuesday, a 4-3 win at Rogers Centre in which both players homered and combined for four hits, three runs scored and three RBIs to spoil the Blue Jays' home opener.

"It's really good to see some success on what you've been working on since Spring Training," said Santana, whose opposite-field solo home run in the fifth inning provided the winning margin.

For Santana, the productive night was a few games in the making. According to Statcast™, his balls in play were leaving the bat at an average of 89.4 mph, sixth best of the 12 Brewers with at least five batted-ball events entering play Tuesday. Among them was his 101.8 mph home run on Sunday.

Santana's solo home run

Santana singled home a run in the first inning Tuesday on an infield hit, then homered with two outs in the fifth.

"I thought Saturday's at-bats kind of flipped it," manager Craig Counsell said. "His at-bats have been quality, he just hasn't had much to show for it."

Statcast™ did not offer any similar clues about Broxton, who was limited to 11 at-bats on the Brewers' homestand. He still had two black eyes from the fastball from Rockies rookie Antonio Senzatela that struck Broxton on Thursday, forcing him to miss two starts before he returned to the lineup Sunday.

Broxton hit in the face by pitch

On Tuesday, he homered off Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ for the first of the Brewers' two first-inning runs, then singled, stole second and scored in the third.

His home run left Broxton's bat at 96.3 mph with a launch angle of 33 degrees. Similar batted balls have gone for hits only 25 percent of the time, per Statcast™. But it counted the same as if it sailed 500 feet.

Broxton's solo shot

"That's probably the 'guy' tonight offensively," Counsell said. "Getting him on track is important. He was a big part of us being good against left-handed pitching last year."

Broxton characterized his eventful few days as business as usual.

"I haven't really thought too much about me being on the field," Broxton said. "I just take it as a normal day. … To come into an away game and play well, that means a lot for me and for the team. Get that first home run out of the way and get a point on the board for the team, that's huge. Especially with that atmosphere. That was awesome. That was crazy."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com 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.