MILWAUKEE — Jesús Aguilar’s hot bat helped the injury-riddled Miami Marlins win a series against his former team.
Aguilar homered for the fifth time in six games in a 6-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday at American Family Field. His tiebreaking three-run shot off Eric Yardley with two outs in the fourth inning put Miami ahead for good.
“He’s amazing,” Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara said.
Aguilar, who played for the Brewers from 2017-19, went 4-for-11 with two homers, four runs and five RBIs in Milwaukee this week to help the Marlins win two of three.
His three-run homer increased his RBI total to an NL-leading 22.
The Marlins have needed Aguilar’s power to carry them at a time when injuries have decimated their lineup. Marlins second baseman Jazz Chisholm joined outfielder Starling Marte, catcher Jorge Alfaro and third baseman Brian Anderson on the injured list Wednesday.
“He swung the bat good all spring and started off the season good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He had a little spell there where I think he got a little twisted and got a little turned in. He got himself straightened out, and since then he’s just been homering it feels like on a daily basis.”
With the score 2-2, Miami had runners on first and second when Miguel Rojas hit a comebacker to Yardley, who attempted to start an inning-ending double play. The Brewers got the out at second, but second baseman Kolten Wong lost control of the ball before he could attempt to throw to first.
Miami capitalized when Aguilar drove a 2-1 pitch over the left-field wall.
Alcantara (1-2) struck out four and gave up five hits and two runs in seven innings. Wong’s two-run homer in the third accounted for the Brewers’ scoring.
Milwaukee called up Zack Godley from its alternate site to make the start in place of left-hander Brett Anderson, who went on the injured list Saturday with a strained right hamstring.
Godley (0-1) walked five, threw two wild pitches, committed a balk and hit a batter in an eventful Brewers debut. He was charged with four runs, three earned.
He walked the bases loaded but got out of the jam in the third. He appeared to hurt himself on a bunt attempt in the bottom of the third but returned to pitch the fourth, only to leave the game with a bruised right index finger after walking the leadoff batter and hitting the next one.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after the game that Godley is heading to the injured list.
“Trying to see if it was something I could still pitch through, and at the time I felt like I could,” Godley said. “So, nothing was said. Then, once I got on the mound and started actually trying to feel the baseball and throw it, it was a different story.”
Godley also was at the center of a bizarre play in the second inning.
Miami had runners at the corners with one out when Isan Díaz hit a slow roller up the first-base line. As Corey Dickerson scored from third, Godley easily threw out Díaz at first.
But Díaz was awarded first base when first base umpire Marty Foster called Godley for obstruction on the play, a decision that brought Counsell out of the dugout to argue.
“There was no interference that ever happened,” Counsell said. “Zack never got to the dirt. He was on the grass the whole time, and, like, clearly on the grass.”
Foster told the pool reporter after the game that it was “clear-cut obstruction.”
Milwaukee bench coach Pat Murphy was ejected two innings later as the Brewers argued a ball-strike call.
Making room for Godley
The Brewers created a spot on the 40-man roster for Godley by designating right-hander Phil Bickford for assignment. They also optioned OF Corey Ray to their alternate site.
From the infirmary
Counsell didn’t have a timetable on a potential return for Anderson. … Counsell said before the game that outfielder Christian Yelich hit in the batting cage Tuesday and would do so again Wednesday. Yelich hasn’t played since April 11 due to a lower back strain. ... Miami placed second baseman Jazz Chisholm on the injured list with a strained left hamstring and recalled Díaz. ... Miami outfielders Garrett Cooper and Corey Dickerson left Wednesday’s game early. Cooper had a sore left foot and underwent an X-ray that was negative. Dickerson had mild discomfort in his right groin.
Milwaukee begins a four-game home series Thursday with the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, who swept a first-round playoff series with Milwaukee last year. Scheduled starters are 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer (3-0, 2.53) for the Dodgers and Eric Lauer (0-0, 0.00) for the Brewers.
Watch now: 5 of the Brewers' most eye-popping defensive plays so far this season
April 1: Luis Urias' debut
The Brewers wanted to see what Luis Urias could do at shortstop this season and he didn't make them wait long to find out. Three pitches into the first inning of the season, Urias made a leaping grab to rob Twins leadoff hitter Luis Arraez of a base hit.
Urias, 23, was expected to share time at shortstop with Orlando Arcia, but now the job is his after the Brewers dealt Arcia to Atlanta for a pair of right-handed pitchers.
"He has earned this and it's an important time for him," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's going to get a great opportunity here."
April 6: Kolten Wong's double play
Kolten Wong's two Gold Glove Awards were a primary reason the Brewers signed him to a two-year, $18 million contract ahead of Spring Training and while he hasn't made much of an impact at the plate, his defense has already lived up to expectations.
Wong put his elite glove work on display late in the April 6 game against the Cubs. The Brewers led, 4-0, when Brad Boxberger drilled Cubs catcher Willson Contreras to lead off the ninth. With left-handed hitting Anthony Rizzo up, Milwaukee's infield went into a full shift with Wong lined a up a few steps over and behind first baseman Travis Shaw — perfectly positioned to scoop up Rizzo's grounder.
But instead of just tossing to Shaw for the easy out, Wong was able to turn around, get a throw off to third baseman Daniel Robertson who charged the bag for the force then got the relay to first in time to retire Rizzo.
At first glance, the play looked to be a routine double play, but Counsell said Wong's skill disguised its difficulty.
"It’s a hard play that he made look very easy, that’s the best way I can describe it," Counsell said. "The degree of difficulty was much more than Kolten made it seem. That’s what great defenders do: they make hard plays look fairly routine.
"Once he put it in his glove, the double play looked fairly routine."
April 7: Avisail Garcia saves the shutout
Brandon Woodruff's no-hit bid had just been spoiled by an Ian Happ single and the Cubs were threatening to break a scoreless tie when Kris Bryant sent a 3-2 fastball to shallow right field.
Avisail Garcia charged, slid and hauled it in to rob Bryant of a single, snuff out a potential rally and close out a sparkling effort for Woodruff.
"Honestly, when Bryant hit that I did not think that there was going to be a shot to catch it," Woodruff said. "Then the ball just kind of hung up there at the last second and he kind of closed in on it and made a heck of a catch. That was huge."
It turned out to be even bigger when Lorenzo Cain hit the first of his two go-ahead home runs in the eighth inning as the Brewers clinched the series with a 4-1, 10-inning victory.
April 10: Travis Shaw's diving stop
Most of the discussion when Shaw returned to the Brewers on a minor league deal this spring focused on his bat, and while he's been one of the team's best offensive performers so far, he's also provided steady defense at third base.
Shaw made a number of important plays April 10 against the Cardinals, including a diving stop to rob Austin Dean of a game-tying single with two out in the fourth inning and a nice backhanded grab to start a double play later in the game.
"Just play after play," Counsell said. "He had a big day and impacted the game in many ways."
April 10: Jackie Bradley Jr. robs Justin Williams
Moments after Dean cut the Brewers' lead to four with a three-run homer in the eighth off Josh Lindblom, Jackie Bradley Jr. charged to the wall in center to pull back what would have been a solo home run by Justin Williams for the first out of the inning.
"Jackie hasn’t gotten hot with the bat yet but I think he’s shown us defensively why he’s got such a great reputation," Counsell said.