Pair of 9th-inning homers propel Marlins past Milwaukee Brewers


The Milwaukee Brewers showed some fight Tuesday night at Miller Park, twice coming back to tie the game against the Miami Marlins.

It wound up being all for naught as former Brewer Casey McGehee hit the first of back-to-back homers off Brewers’ All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez in the top of the ninth and the Marlins went on to send Milwaukee to its 13th loss in 14 games, 6-3.

The Brewers (74-71) whiffed on a chance to make up ground in the National League wild-card hunt. The Pittsburgh Pirates lost at Philadelphia, but remained 1½ games ahead of the Brewers and the Atlanta Braves, who lost at Washington. The Marlins (71-72) are now 3½ games behind the Pirates.

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  • Rodriguez (4-5) was an out away from getting out of the ninth unscathed, but he walked Giancarlo Stanton and McGehee followed by yanking a changeup over the wall in left-center for his fourth homer of the season and a 5-3 Miami lead.

    On a full-count pitch, Marcell Ozuna hit his second home run in as many nights—his 21st of the year—to left field and the Marlins were up 6-3.

    The Brewers had the tying run at the plate with one out in the ninth after Aramis Ramirez singled and Ryan Braun—who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, walked. Khris Davis hit a ball right on the nose … but right at Stanton in right field and rookie Jason Rogers, who had come into the game as a defensive replacement at first base, flied out to end it.

    But it will be the eighth inning that may haunt Milwaukee.

    Davis singled, Lyle Overbay walked and Jean Segura reached on an error when Miami pitcher Bryan Morris couldn’t field his sacrifice bunt cleanly, loading the bases with no one out.

    Pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks hit a chopper to third that McGehee fielded and underhanded to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia for a force at the plate, on a play where Davis inexplicably retreated toward third before breaking to home.

    Carlos Gomez followed with a one-hopper to McGahee, who again fired home for the force, and Scooter Gennett flied out to end the threat.

    Miami took a 2-0 lead in the third against starter Matt Garza on RBI singles by Donovan Solano and Ozuna.

    The Brewers got the pair back in the bottom of the frame. Gennett and Lucroy stroked back-to-back one-out singles and Ramirez doubled to right to plate Gennett. Gerardo Parra drove in Lucroy with a comebacker to Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler.

    The Fish went back on top against right-hander Jeremy Jeffress in the sixth. Ozuna walked and Garrett Jones doubled to center for the RBI.

    In the bottom of the seventh against right-hander Chris Hatcher, the Brewers struck back. Gennett lined a double down the left field line and Ramirez lined a single to center to tie the game.

    Garza worked four innings in his second start back from a left oblique strain that sidelined him for a month. He allowed two runs, one earned, on six hits and a walk with seven strikeouts and came out after throwing 84 pitches.

    Jeffress allowed a run on a hit and two walks, fanning four, in two innings. Will Smith gave up a hit and struck out a batter in a third of an inning, Brandon Kintzler allowed a hit and a walk while striking out one in a third of an inning and Zach Duke came on to get a big strikeout of pinch-hitter Jeff Baker with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh.

    Jonathan Broxton worked a 1-2-3 eighth before Rodriguez’s meltdown in the ninth.

    Morris (8-1) got the win for the Marlins and Steve Cishek worked the ninth for his 34th save.

    The Brewers, as has been the case during the recent cold spell, had opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize. Milwaukee left a whopping 13 runners on base and was just 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

    Ramirez was 3-for-4, Segura was 2-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice and Gennett was 2-for-4 for the Brewers, who had 11 hits.

    But Milwaukee couldn’t get Ozuna out—he was 3-for-3 with two walks and is 5-for-7 with two homers in the first two games of the series.

    The Brewers struck out 15 Marlins, their fourth-highest total of the season and their second-highest in a nine-inning game. Milwaukee struck out 16 Cubs on Aug. 14 in Chicago. The Brewers also logged 16 strikeouts in a 16-inning loss to the Nationals on June 24 and fanned 17 in an April 29 win at St. Louis.

    Two weeks ago, the Brewers were leading the National League Central. Now it’s not a stretch to think that—after 150 days in first place—Milwaukee needs to rally to just remain above .500.

    Wily Peralta (15-10, 3.84), who has lost three straight starts, goes for the Brewers on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. The Marlins counter with right-hander Jarred Cosart, who is 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA in six starts since he was acquired from the Houston Astros on July 31.