In case you forgot what it felt like to win a game without having to sweat it out, the Milwaukee Brewers provided a reminder that was a long time in the making Thursday at American Family Field.
The Brewers pounded out 15 hits, reached base 21 times and scored more runs than they have since July 1, 2022, in a 14-1 drubbing of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The rookies did much of the damage on offense. Sal Frelick and Brice Turang each hit a three-run home run, Joey Wiemer reached base four times and drove in a run and Andruw Monasterio had two hits and scored twice.
Turang summed it up best.
“Dude, it was fun, man,” he said.
You can’t blame the Brewers for enjoying this one, either. It was just their second win that didn’t include a save or walk-off hit since June 23 in Cleveland – and the only other such game in that stretch of 35 was a 4-0 win, which hardly made for a laugher.
“It was nice,” starting pitcher Adrian Houser said. “Being able to watch those guys put up a bunch of runs. Felt like we needed a game like that, especially after the road trip we just had. It wasn’t a great one. The guys came out ready to swing the bats and they came out and they were all over it. It was a good day.”
Here are three takeaways from the win.
Brewers need to use this series as an opportunity to get going again
The Brewers’ recent road trip? Rough.
The way it ended? Downright brutal.
Because of the proceedings on the 1-5 trip out east, the Brewers entered this seven-game homestand needing to find their footing as they head into the stretch run. That’s in part because of how the schedule lightens up for Milwaukee, as well, during this upcoming portion with the Pirates for four games and then the Colorado Rockies for three before the Brewers head on to the road to face the Chicago White Sox for three.
The combined record of those three teams? 133-193.
“Every day is a new day,” Turang said. “We have to go out there and compete every day. Every win matters and we’re out competing and trying to win games.”
Every win matters, but make no bones about it: These are the games the Brewers should win. And it hasn’t always come as a guarantee for them this year. Remember the sweep by the A’s? Or when, a month before that, the Rockies did the sweeping? Or just this week when the last-place Nationals took two of three?
The path to reaching the postseason has 52 games remaining in it for the Brewers (59-51), who worked their way back into first place in the NL Central by virtue of the win and a Reds loss to the Cubs on Thursday.
It starts by taking care of business against teams they should beat.
Is Joey Wiemer getting hot again?
“Yeah, that counts as ‘throwing glove,’” Wiemer said, eliciting the phrase he uses to describe excellent defense. “I just need to remember how to throw some bat.”
At that moment, Wiemer was 8 for his last 51 with two extra-base hits and a .553 OPS over 20 games.
He’s turned it around since.
Wiemer reached base four times against the Pirates, doubling home two runs in the second, singling in the fourth and walking twice late, to improve to 9 for 28 since declaring he needed to throw some more bat. Wiemer has a homer, two doubles and a .879 OPS.
Wiemer’s batted ball data backs the results, too; his average exit velocity in that stretch is 94.8 mph, up from his season average of 89.5 mph.
“That’s the nature of baseball. There’s going to be streaks,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Every player has them. But the thing about Joey is he hits the ball hard when he squares it up. He hit some balls long and hard tonight for sure, the double, the base hit. That’s what kind of keeps your offense afloat.”
Sal Frelick is at home in Milwaukee
Milwaukee sure seems to be enjoying Sal Frelick since his breakout debut a couple weeks.
Sal Frelick is enjoying Milwaukee equally.
With another electric performance in front of the home crowd, Frelick has reached base 14 times through his first 23 plate appearances at American Family Field.
The rookie outfielder went 2 for 3, reached base four times safely and drove in five runs thanks to a two-run double and three-run homer – notably, in only his second career at-bat versus a lefty – against the Pirates.
That’s one way to make a name for yourself.
“I’m definitely fortunate to have a good start here,” Frelick said. “But, again, it’s a small sample size. I’ve got to wake up tomorrow and do it again. Maybe look back at the end of the year and reevaluate that question, but it’s been fun to hit here.”
Through his first 12 games in the majors, Frelick is batting .273 with a .435 OBP, .515 slugging percentage and .950 OPS.
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brewers in first place in NL Central standings after win over Pirates