Brewers break out in 6-run 6th, beat Phillies 8-5
MILWAUKEE (AP) It took a few frustrating innings for the Milwaukee Brewers to get to Philadelphia Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff.
The lineup started teeing off once they figured out how to hit his curveball.
Scooter Gennett and Alex Presley homered in a six-run sixth inning, backing an encouraging outing by struggling starter Wily Peralta in Milwaukee's 8-5 victory on Sunday.
The Brewers also hit four doubles in the sixth, when they chased Eickhoff (1-3). Kirk Nieuwenhuis' hard smash off Eickhoff deflected off first baseman Ryan Howard's glove for a double that drove in two runs.
''We did a nice job as the game went on, knowing what he was going to do and getting pitches to hit,'' manager Craig Counsell said.
The six-run inning was a season high for Milwaukee and helped the Brewers avoid a three-game sweep.
Just as important for the Brewers was getting a solid start Peralta (1-3). The team's opening day starter allowed three earned runs and seven hits in six innings while not walking a batter for the first time in five appearances this season.
It has been such a dismal month that Sunday's outing only lowered Peralta's ERA from 8.35 to 7.40.
But it was an encouraging enough afternoon nonetheless for a pitching staff struggling to get quality starts.
''With each start I'm feeling better and better,'' Peralta said. ''Locating pretty good today, mixing my pitches well. Pretty good down in the zone today.''
Closer Jeremy Jeffress threw a scoreless ninth for his sixth save.
The game started well enough for the Phillies after taking a 2-0 lead into the fourth. Eickhoff chipped in at the plate with a two-out, RBI single in the second.
Eickhoff retired 10 of the first 11 hitters before Ryan Braun's solo shot to right in the fourth, setting up a productive few innings for the Brewers.
''I don't know what happened to Eickhoff. They just kind of all together seemed to know what was coming,'' manager Pete Mackanin said. ''And they hit him pretty hard. It's just hard to figure.''
Eickhoff gave up a career-high seven runs in 5 1/3 innings. The outing snapped an impressive seven-start stretch for the young right-hander dating back to last season, with a 1.34 ERA during that span.
''Pitch choice, I was OK with. I get beat on my curveball, I'll live with that. The location,'' he said. ''They've got to be a little lower, out of the zone.''
Braun finished 2 of 4 to raise his average to .364 and extend his hitting streak to seven games. The slugger, who had back surgery in the offseason, said his swing was ''in a good place.
''But more than that, I'm healthy,'' he added, ''healthiest I've been in a while. I feel good.''
Gennett went to the opposite field with his solo homer to left-center to lead off the sixth. Presley followed later in the inning with a pinch-hit, two-run shot off reliever Hector Neris. Jonathan Villar also doubled and scored in the inning to extend his on-base streak to 11 games.
Phillies: Starting pitcher Charlie Morton will be out at least two weeks with a strained left hamstring. The right-hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list before Sunday's game. Philadelphia called up right-hander Luis Garcia from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace Morton. ... C Jorge Alfaro, a top prospect, is hitting .500 (18 for 36) with a .750 slugging percentage at Double-A Reading. He is due to return this week from a stint on the seven-day disabled list (oblique).
Brewers: C Jonathan Lucroy got a day off behind the plate, with Martin Maldonado getting the start.
Phillies: Following a day off on Monday, Philadelphia returns to NL East action with a trip to Washington. Vince Velasquez (2-1) is likely to get the start on Tuesday against the Nationals.
Brewers: Milwaukee starts a three-game series Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs after a day off Monday. Jimmy Nelson (3-1) will start in the opener at Wrigley Field.