"I was excited, man," said Lucroy, not talking about his own booming, two-run home run, but Weeks' go-ahead grounder. "Rickie has been struggling all year, and he's gone in there and had some really big hits lately, some really good ABs. He's looking like the Rickie of old. That's the guy we need. Whenever he's right, he hits."
Weeks is 31, earning $11 million in the final year of his contract and finds himself on the short end of a second-base platoon with upstart Scooter Gennett. The Brewers have been looking for ways to work Weeks' warming bat into the lineup, and the left-handed Sabathia provided him a starting opportunity at second base for the first time since April 26.
Weeks made the most of it, singling in the third inning and lining out sharply to right field in the sixth before delivering his go-ahead hit in the seventh past diving Yankees shortstop Yangervis Solarte.
"I didn't know [whether the ball was going to get through the infield]," Weeks said. "He might have dove, but I thought I had a good chance of beating it out. Off the bat, no. I didn't know."
Said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke: "It's nice to have somebody come through with that big hit when we need it."
The Yankees had just tied the game against Brewers relievers Tyler Thornburg and Zach Duke in the top of the seventh on pinch-hitter Alfonso Soriano's spinning, shift-beating single through a big hole at second base. The Brewers answered promptly in the bottom of the inning with a one-out double by Lucroy and a two-out single by Weeks that snuck between the Yankees' shortstop and third baseman.
It was Weeks' first RBI this season in his 43rd plate appearance. The latter number is low because Weeks bats right-handed and Gennett bats lefty. Since the vast majority of pitchers are right-handed, Gennett has dominated the split.
"Rickie is the definition of stoic," Lucroy said. "He is extremely, extremely strong. I've never heard him complain, never heard anything like that. He's just very, very solid and consistent in what he does."
Weeks' go-ahead hit further spoiled the night for his good friend Sabathia, who was welcomed back to the Miller Park mound modestly but warmly by fans who remember the special things he did here in 2008, when the big lefty carried a franchise to its first postseason appearance in a generation. Then the Brewers started swinging the bats, and the welcoming party over.
Gomez's 462-foot homer in the first inning was his fourth leadoff shot this season, and it struck the windows of a restaurant on the ballpark's third deck. In the bottom of the third inning, after Brendan Ryan's two-out error extended the frame, Lucroy hit a 432-foot, two-run homer to center field, and Ramirez hit the very next pitch 427 feet to the left-field bleachers.
Because of the error, only one of the runs was charged to Sabathia, who was out of the game after 5 1/3 innings. He allowed four runs (one earned) on eight hits, with one walk and four strikeouts. The three Brewers homers represented half the total Sabathia allowed in 130 2/3 innings pitching for the Brewers in the '08 regular season.
Asked about Ryan's costly error, Sabathia shifted focus instead to the 0-2 pitch Lucroy hit over the fence.
"You've got to pick your guys up," Sabathia said. "They pick me up all the time. Unfortunately, I just wasn't able to make a pitch right there."
Brewers starter Kyle Lohse was charged with three runs (two earned) on eight hits in six innings. He had only thrown 85 pitches when he was replaced by a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The move didn't work out for Roenicke, who saw Gennett and Gomez strike out against Yankees reliever Dellin Betances -- Gennett on three pitches -- before the Yankees rallied to tie the game against Lohse's replacements in the next half-inning.
Was it a tough call to lift Lohse?
"Absolutely," Roenicke said. "They have such a great offense. I hate not scoring a run there when you have a chance to score. The guy [Betances] came in and threw two great breaking balls to get Scooter -- he chased them, but they were good breaking balls. I looked at his numbers and [Betances] has 17 innings and 30 punchouts, so he's doing that to everybody."
Lohse said he agreed with the move, and jokingly added a jab at Gennett.
"I told Scooter, 'I could have done that,'" Lohse said.
After Weeks delivered a lead one inning later, the Brewers held on. Will Smith pitched a scoreless eighth and Francisco Rodriguez survived a pair of long flyouts in a perfect ninth for his 15th save and his 19th scoreless appearance to start the season.
The only blemish for the Brewers was an injury to Ramirez, who left the game with a strained left hamstring in the fourth inning and may be placed on the disabled list in the coming days.
"That's baseball; sports, period," Weeks said. "The next guy has to step up. We're up for the challenge."