Pina adds winning homer to Mother's Day lore

Pina adds winning homer to Mother's Day lore

MILWAUKEE -- Bill Hall and Martin Maldonado, meet Manny Pina.

Pina added a new chapter to Mother's Day lore at Miller Park, smashing a three-run home run in the eighth inning of the Brewers' crazy 11-9 win over the Mets on Sunday. Capping a comeback from a six-run deficit, Pina's shot conjured memories of Hall's walk-off blast in 2006, when pink bats were a novelty, and Maldonado's winning homer in 2015.

Hall walks off on Mother's Day

Now it was Pina's turn to go deep to honor his mother.

Maldonado, mom share moment

"She told me right now she was screaming, so happy," said Pina, whose mother, Minda, was watching at home in Venezuela.

Pina also had a postgame moment with wife Leny, five-year-old son Enmanuel and the couple's eight-month-old daughter, Jimena, all of whom were on hand at Miller Park to watch the Brewers improve to 32-19 all-time on Mother's Day, a .627 winning percentage that ranks best in the Majors. They found their way into Pina's thoughts after he hit Addison Reed's slider and threw his bat to the dirt in celebration. So was Pina's mom, a mother of six whose husband worked long hours building funeral caskets, so she took young Manny in a taxi to his baseball practices. When Pina, at 29, made his first Opening Day roster this spring, he called Minda and they cried together on the phone.

Manny Pina with his mother, Minda.

Pina was also thinking of his previous at-bat. He came to the plate with runners at second and third with no outs in the seventh after Jesus Aguilar's long double made it a two-run game. But Pina grounded back to Mets reliever Fernando Salas for a critical first out, and the Brewers' rally fizzled from there.

An inning later, Pina got another shot. This time, he connected.

"This is my biggest hit that I've had in my career," said Pina. "So when I hit the ball, wow, everything came into my mind."

Pina offered an assist to Hernan Perez, whose two-run single two batters earlier made it a 9-8 game. In the seventh, after Pina bounced back to the pitcher, Perez walked over, patted Pina on the backside and predicted he would get another chance.

"I told him, 'We're going to win this game,'" Perez said. "He missed that opportunity, but in the eighth he had that great at-bat. Baseball is crazy. ... A 3-2 slider and he hit it out. He forgot about that other AB and focused, and hit a homer."

Said Pina: "Perez came to me and said 'Hey, when you come up, you've got to make something happen, make something good happen.' And now we have some fun."

The Brewers are having a lot of fun of late. A sweep of the Mets gave Milwaukee six wins in seven games, and pushed the Brewers four games over .500 for the first time this season.

They completed the comeback Sunday without their RBI leader, Travis Shaw, who drove in a run with a first-inning groundout but left the game in the seventh after jamming his right index finger. He is day to day. Meanwhile, left fielder Ryan Braun is on the disabled list with a left calf strain.

But the Brewers just keep hitting. They have scored 11 runs in consecutive games for the first time since May 2010, and with three more home runs Sunday, they lead the Majors with 63 homers this season.

"That's why stuff like this happens. They have that feeling," manager Craig Counsell said. "It's different guys in there. It's Manny Pina. It's Jesus Aguilar. It's not the same guy. Travis had to leave the game. Braun wasn't in there. It's different guys, and they're all stepping up in their spots."

When the celebration died down, Pina headed home to celebrate Mother's Day with wife Leny.

"She's kind of like my partner," Pina said. "When I had a tough year like two years ago, she's always with me. In 2014, I almost ended my career because I had a tough year. She told me 'Don't quit. You're a good player.'

"When I hit the ball I pointed to her. I had that feeling."

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.