MILWAUKEE — Adrian Houser pitched effectively into the sixth inning and hit his first career home run, leading the Milwaukee Brewers over the Miami Marlins 5-4 on Tuesday night at American Family Field.
Houser began the day 2-for-28 (.071) with 21 strikeouts in his career at the plate. With two outs and no one on base in the second, he lined the first pitch from Daniel Castano over the wall in center field.
“It was pretty awesome,” Houser said. “To be honest, I didn’t know where it went off the bat. I know I hit it really hard. It felt really good and felt like a good swing, just didn’t know where it went. When I looked up, the lights started going out and so it was, ‘Oh, home run.’”
Tyrone Taylor followed with a homer. Taylor finished with three RBIs.
“I was pretty shocked, because he hits the low ball well,” Castano said of Taylor’s home run on a high pitch. “I tried to go up and in, I think I just left it up middle, so he was able to get the barrel to it.”
Houser (2-2) allowed three runs on five hits in 5⅔ innings, striking out seven and walking one.
Josh Hader pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save in five chances. He has not allowed a run this season in eight appearances.
Milwaukee took a 4-3 in the lead in the fifth on a triple by Keston Hiura and RBI double by Luis Urias off John Curtiss (2-1).
The Brewers added an unearned run in the sixth when Pablo Reyes reached on an error and later scored on Taylor’s single.
“It feels really good to be able to contribute for the team the way I have recently,” Taylor said. “It feels nice and hopefully I just keep it going. Especially being able to contribute on a game where we win like this, it’s cool.”
Jon Berti opened the seventh with a homer off Brent Suter to pull Miami within 5-4.
J.P. Feyereisen came on for Suter and struck out the only batter he faced in the seventh and Devin Williams pitched a scoreless eighth.
Jesus Aguilar, who hit 35 home runs with Milwaukee in 2018, brought Miami even at 2 when he opened the fourth with his fourth homer.
“Just a slider I didn’t really get all the way out there,” Houser said. “It was a good pitch, but Aggie’s a good hitter and he put a good swing on it and hit it how he should. I thought it was a good pitch, just didn’t get it where I wanted to.”
The Marlins hustled across a run in the first. Jazz Chisholm Jr. beat out an infield single to short, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Aguilar.
Taylor’s groundout scored Jackie Bradley Jr. from third to put Milwaukee up 3-2 in the fourth. Houser’s bunt helped set up the run.
From the infirmary
After scoring in the first, Chisholm was replaced at second base in the bottom half of the inning by Jose Devers. Chisholm left with a strained left hamstring, the team announced.
The Brewers placed catcher Manny Pina on the 10-day injured list with a fractured left big toe and recalled catcher Luke Maile from the alternate training site. Infielder Daniel Robertson was placed on the seven-day concussion IL, and outfielder Corey Ray was recalled.
Manager Craig Counsell announced after the game that right-hander Zack Godley will start the series finale Wednesday. Godley, who was 0-4 with an 8.16 ERA in eight appearances for the Boston Red Sox last season, is not on the Brewers’ 40-man roster, so a move will be necessary.
Right-hander Sandy Alcantara (0-2, 3.34 ERA) is the scheduled starter for Miami.
Brewers by position: Pitching depth will be key as teams readjust with return of 162-game schedule
RHP Corbin Burnes (above)
RHP Brandon Woodruff
RHP Adrian Hauser
RHP Josh Lindblom
LHP Brett Anderson
Not only do the Brewers start camp with the makings of a full rotation, they also have the benefit of continuity as all five projected starters were in the rotation for most of last season. Burnes (4-1, 2.11 ERA, 12 appearances, 9 starts) and Woodruff (3-5, 3.05, 13 starts) will most likely fill the top two spots, giving Milwaukee a formidable 1-2 punch.
The team is hoping Houser (1-6, 5.30, 12/11) can take another step forward in his development, specifically by avoiding the blow-up inning that plagued him in many of his starts last season, and that with a more consistent schedule both during spring training and the regular season, Lindblom (2-4, 5.16, 12/10) will be able to fully adjust to the big leagues after his dominant run through the Korean Baseball Organization while Anderson (4-4, 4.21) — whose signing has not yet been made official — can continue to eat innings while keeping the ball on the ground.
IN THE 'PEN
RHP Freddy Peralta (above)
LHP Eric Lauer
LHP Brent Suter
Peralta (3-1, 3.99 ERA) made one start for Milwaukee in 2020 and will be prepared for a starting role during spring training but is likely to start the season working out of the bullpen, where his ability to cover multiple innings will provide flexibility especially early in the season as Counsell manages his starters' workload. Lauer (0-2, 13.09) did not fare well in limited action last year (four appearances, two starts), but he's expected to benefit from the return to a more normal structure as well as being fully healthy. Suter (2-0. 3.13) was an unsung hero for the Brewers' staff last year, posting a 1.38 ERA over 13 innings in four spot starts to go along with a 4.34 mark in 12 relief appearances, eight of which covered multiple innings. He'll fill a similar 'swingman' role in 2021.
ON THE FARM
LHP Ethan Small
LHP Aaron Ashby
RHP Zack Brown (above)
The Brewers added Small, their first-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, to their 60-man player pool last season after he posted a 2.50 ERA in five appearances for Class A Wisconsin in his first taste of professional action. ... Brown was named the organization's minor league pitcher of the year after going 9-1 with a 2.44 ERA for Class AA Biloxi in 2018 but struggled the next season at Class AAA, where he posted a 5.79 ERA and 1.73 WHIP. He showed flashes of improvement during spring training and the Brewers added him to their player pool when the season restarted to keep him from missing an entire year of development. If he can get back on track this season, he could be in line for his first call-up at some point in 2021. ... A fourth-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Ashby has a 3.53 ERA in 37 minor league appearances (33 starts). He, too, spent last season at the team's alternate training site.
BY THE NUMBERS
BREWERS' 2020 STARTING PITCHING STATS
ERA — 4.18 7th/National League
WHIP — 1.23 6th
K — 310 4th
BB — 92 11th
HR — 33 15th
ER — 134 10th
IP — 288.2 7th
K/9 — 3.4 5th
Individually, Brandon Woodruff (above) finished among the NL leaders in just about every major statistical category last season. His 3.05 ERA was ninth among qualifiers while he was fifth with a 0.991 WHIP and 5.05 strikeout/walk ratio and seventh in total strikeouts (91) and strikeouts/nine innings (11.12).
Corbin Burnes finished ninth in the NL with 88 strikeouts.