MILWAUKEE — Brandon Woodruff was one pitch away from perfection over eight innings, and he didn’t exactly regret the one that went awry.
Woodruff allowed a solo homer but was otherwise perfect before being lifted, Christian Yelich hit his major league-leading 21st home run and the Milwaukee Brewers went deep five times in a 9-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday at Miller Park.
Woodruff (7-1) retired the first 15 batters he faced before Andrew Knapp opened the sixth with his first home run on a low changeup.
“He did a good job on it,” Woodruff said. “Maybe I could have went with a different pitch, a different selection. But I went in and asked where the pitch was, if it was down, and they said it was down. So, he did a really good job with it. Going back, you always can say you (wish you could) take it back, but at that moment I was convicted with throwing a changeup. So, you just tip your cap.”
Ben Gamel had two homers for the Brewers, and Hernan Perez and Yasmani Grandal also homered as Milwaukee salvaged the final game in the three-game series and won the season series 4-3.
Woodruff struck out a career-high 10, fanning the final batter in each of his innings. Woodruff has won six of eight starts since his only loss on April 10. He also pitched a career-high eight innings in his previous start against Atlanta, making him the first Brewers pitcher with consecutive starts of at least eight innings since Taylor Jungmann in 2015.
“Thank goodness for Knappy,” said Bryce Harper, who struck out all three at-bats. “A lot of us thought he had stuff to be perfect today. I thought he went out there and did a good job. Sometimes it’s going to be like that.”
Woodruff also drove in two runs with a single and double, raising his average to .370.
Woodruff, who said his only no-hitter was in high school, wanted to pitch the final inning, but manager Craig Counsell opted for Matt Albers, who finished with a perfect ninth.
“I tried to,” Woodruff said. “It’s a long season. I asked him if I could go back out, and I asked him if he was sure. I pleaded with Craig to try to let me go back out, but I understood the decision.”
Yelich opened a four-run fifth with a drive to left off Vince Velasquez. Perez added his fifth homer, and Woodruff capped the inning with an RBI single to put the Brewers up 7-0.
Velasquez, activated off the injured list Friday and moved to the bullpen, allowed four runs, five hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning.
Gamel hit his third homer to open the third off Zach Eflin (5-5), who allowed three runs and six hits in 3⅔ innings.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas was ejected in the seventh inning by third base umpire Mike Estabrook, who tossed Ryan Braun and Counsell as the home plate umpire Saturday. Moustakas said he was asking about a checked swing call his previous at-bat.
“I used no profanity, just wanted to have a discussion and see what was going on,” Moustakas said. “It was kind of that, and he threw me out of the game.”
From the infirmary
Brewers catcher Manny Pina, who is on the 10-day IL (right hamstring strain), will not accompany the team to Minnesota as originally planned due to a chance of inclement weather. Pina will remain in Milwaukee, then is expected to begin a rehab assignment at Class A Wisconsin on Tuesday. He could rejoin the Brewers later in the week in Pittsburgh.
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 2.39 ERA) opens a two-game series at Minnesota on Monday night. Right-hander Michael Pineda (4-3, 5.43) is slated to start for the Twins.