Brad Miller’s bases-loaded walk leads Brewers past Twins, 6-5
MILWAUKEE — With the bases loaded and the game tied in the 10th inning, Brad Miller plotted his approach as he came to the plate.
“You just look like you’re going to swing and don’t swing,” Miller said.
Miller drew a bases-loaded walk with one out and the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers rallied past the Minnesota Twins, 6-5 on Monday night.
Nate Orf, playing in his first major league game, was hit by a pitch from Zack Littell (0-2) leading off the 10th. Manny Pina followed with a single and Keon Broxton walked.
Pinch-hitter Hernan Perez, hitting against five infielders, hit a grounder to the left side that shortstop Jorge Polanco fielded and fired to the plate to force Orf before Miller got his chance against Littell.
“It’s tough right now,” Littell said, trying to explain his lack of command in the 10th.
Corey Knebel (2-0) pitched a scoreless 10th with a pair of strikeouts for the Brewers, who trailed 5-1 after Robbie Grossman blasted his first career grand slam with two outs in the fifth off Milwaukee starter Brent Suter.
Milwaukee has allowed grand slams in three consecutive games.
Four Brewers relievers combined on five shutout innings.
“Corey had a dynamite inning,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “It was an outing for the bullpen. They kept us alive in that game.”
The Brewers rallied against Twins closer Fernando Rodney in the ninth to tie it. After retiring pinch-hitter Eric Sogard, Rodney gave up three consecutive singles to load the bases for Travis Shaw, who tied it with a sacrifice fly. Rodney blew his fifth save opportunity this season.
The Twins tied it at 1 in the third on a one-out RBI groundout by Brian Dozier, one pitch after Dozier appeared to have struck out swinging. Plate umpire Doug Eddings ruled that Dozier had fouled off the pitch, a call argued by Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell.
Suter gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings.
Pina led off the Brewers’ fifth with a homer off Kyle Gibson to cut the Twins’ lead to three. Milwaukee added another run on Miller’s bloop single and pulled to 5-4 when Twins third baseman Willians Astudillo failed to cleanly field Ryan Braun’s grounder near the bag.
Gibson gave up eight hits and three earned runs over five innings.
Orf’s long journey
The undrafted Orf, 28, started at second base. He has been one of the top-producing players in the Brewers’ farm system for many years and fans have long been clamoring for him to be called up, even launching a #FreeNateOrf campaign on Twitter.
“He is one of the more respected and revered players in our organization because of the way he treats people and because of the way he goes about his business,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said.
Orf, whose parents traveled from St. Louis for the game, narrowly missed hitting a grand slam in the fifth but Max Kepler hauled in the deep drive at the center-field wall.
“After I hit it, I was like this is it. This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done,” Orf said. “Then he caught it.”
Gibson, who had singles in his first two at-bats, entered the game with just a pair of career hits in 16 at-bats. His single leading off the third was his first hit since June 2015.
“I’d rather go 0 for 5 and go eight innings,” Gibson said.
Suter singled in his only at-bat and Milwaukee reliever Taylor Williams got his first career hit with a sixth-inning single.
Twins: Reinstated SS Jorge Polanco following an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. To make room for Polanco, OF Ryan LaMarre was designated for release or assignment. … Recalled RHP Zack Littell from Triple-A Rochester and sent LHP Adalberto Mejia to Rochester.
Brewers: OF Christian Yelich sat out for the fourth consecutive time since leaving Thursday’s game with lower back tightness. ..RHP Aaron Wilkerson was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs when Orf was recalled. …Transferred INF/OF Nick Franklin, who has been out since May with a quadriceps injury, to the 60-day disabled list.
Twins: Jake Odorizzi (3-5, 4.62 ERA) allowed one run and five hits with 10 strikeouts in a May 20 start against the Brewers but didn’t factor into the decision.
Brewers: Junior Guerra (4-5, 3.05) surrendered one run and four hits in 4 1/3 innings and received no decision in a 3-1 loss to the Twins in Minneapolis on May 20.