MILWAUKEE — After a miserable two-week stretch for the Milwaukee Brewers, seemingly everything went just right Saturday night.
Chase Anderson labored through a 45-pitch first inning, but escaped after allowing just two runs. He and the bullpen bore down thereafter and the Brewers rallied to beat Clayton Kershaw and the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 at Miller Park.
“To get through that shows a lot. To leave it at two (runs) I thought he did an outstanding job,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Anderson.
Ryan Braun returned from the disabled list and scored twice — reaching base on one error and scoring the go-ahead run on another. Christian Yelich stayed hot with a game-tying home run, and rookie Corbin Burnes extinguished a no-out, bases-loaded jam in his home debut.
And relief ace Josh Hader, a day after he tearfully apologized for offensive tweets he sent as a teenager, returned to active duty in front of a forgiving home crowd. The left-hander pitched two scoreless innings, striking out four batters, including all three he faced in the eighth.
It added up to the end of a seven-game losing streak prolonged by the All-Star break. The Brewers remained 2½ games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.
The night began poorly for the Brewers and Anderson, whose first inning was extended by seven extra pitches when Braun strayed too far from first base on a routine grounder to second. But the Dodgers stranded the bases loaded.
Rookie right-hander Burnes showed moxie when he took over from Anderson with the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth inning and authored an escape in his first appearance at Miller Park.
“It was just a brilliant inning. It was only his third major league outing,” Counsell said.
Counsell said the Brewers wanted to see how Burnes would fare in a pressure situation.
“We don’t know a ton about him .. but he’s a guy who’s gone fast through the minor leagues and has shown a lot already. There’s a trust there,” Counsell said.
Burnes stayed in the game to pitch a scoreless sixth and was rewarded with his first career win when the Brewers rallied against Kershaw for three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Yelich led off the sixth with his 12th home run for a 2-2 tie, and Braun kept it going with a one-out double. He scored the go-ahead run when pinch hitter Manny Pina’s two-out bouncer dipped below third baseman Max Muncy’s glove for the second of three Dodgers errors. Keon Broxton made Muncy and the Dodgers further pay with an RBI triple.
“Keon’s hit probably gets lost a bit but it’s a big hit for sure,” Counsell said.
The Brewers activated Braun from the 10-day disabled list after he dealt with a back/rib-cage injury and slotted him into the cleanup spot.
The team optioned rookie catcher Jacob Nottingham to Class AAA Colorado Springs to make room.
Braun, who came in hitting just .235 with 10 homers and 35 RBI, went 1-for-3 with two runs scored.
“He didn’t have a great first half and I think he’d tell you that,” Counsell said. “I think his ‘expected’ (numbers) based on how he hit the ball was better than his surface line shows. I expect him to be better this half just because I think his luck will even out, first of all, but I think he’ll play better.
“He’s important for us. He’s an important option and I’d like to get him in there on a semi-regular basis, for sure.”
• First baseman/outfielder Eric Thames (right hamstring) was on the field for batting practice for a third straight day. Thames is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday.
Ovation for Hader
Hader received an ovation from many of the 36,000 fans.
The left-hander jogged in from the bullpen in the top of the seventh.
Hader struck out pinch hitter Logan Forsythe for the first out in the seventh. He allowed a two-out double to Matt Kemp before getting out of the inning when cleanup hitter Muncy lined out to first.
On Sunday, the Dodgers will start a left-hander for the third straight game, with Alex Wood (5-5) taking the hill for the first time after the All-Star break. Milwaukee's Brent Suter (8-6) will make his first career start against the Dodgers.