MILWAUKEE — Four months ago Eagles Dallas Goedert Jersey , Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell was trying to figure out how to fit Jesus Aguilar onto his roster. Now, Counsell is having a hard time taking the hard-hitting first baseman out of his starting lineup.
Aguilar has been Milwaukee’s hottest hitter over the last month, batting .283 with 12 home runs, 34 RBIs and a .964 OPS. Five of those home runs along with 12 RBIs have come over his last five games and he’s driven in multiple runs in five straight starts, tying a franchise record.
“He’s certainly been one of the most pleasant surprises (this year),” Counsell said. “He was last year, as well and he’s taken it up a notch this year. You need those kind of performances you weren’t expecting. You need that kind of stuff.”
All that from a player who came to spring training not sure if he’d have a job when the regular season opened.
Acquired off waivers ahead of the 2017 season, Aguilar split time at first with Eric Thames last year, forming a potent right-left platoon combo. But after the Brewers acquired outfielders Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain over the winter, the team planned to transition outfielder Ryan Braun as an occasional right-handed option at first, which seemingly diminished Aguilar’s role.
He played his way onto the roster with another strong spring training and established himself as a dangerous pinch-hitting threat before taking over first base on a more regular basis when Thames was lost to a thumb injury on April 25.
“I’m confident in myself. When I get a chance to go, I’m going to give my 100 percent. That’s how I think.”
Thames 49ers Mike McGlinchey Jersey , who’s spent the majority of his playing time in the outfield since returning June 11, is still adjusting to the position but is happy for his teammate.
“I mean, hey, the team is winning,” Thames said. “It was the same thing for him the first half of last year when I was going off. It’s great because we’re winning and today, he pretty much did it himself and it was awesome. I’m happy for him. He works hard. He’s such a smart hitter, smart player. He’s a great team guy so you can’t help but root for him.”
His bat — as well as his defensive ability — have been a source of comfort for Brewers pitchers this season and will be Saturday for Chase Anderson, who takes the mound for Game 2 of the Brewers’ four-game series with the Cardinals at Miller Park.
Anderson has yet to find the consistency that led to his breakout season a year ago. He’s 5-6 with a 4.54 ERA through his first 15 starts and has struggled keeping the ball inside the park.
He’s allowed 15 home runs this season — one more than he gave up in all of 2017 — with 13 of those coming at Miller Park, where he’s 3-3 with a 5.70 ERA this season.
He gave up two home runs in the opening inning his last time out, upping his first-inning ERA this season to 8.36.
“It’s just one of those deals,” Anderson said. “That’s kind of been my thing since I was a kid. Obviously, I need to correct it and work on it and get better at getting guys out quicker. Something to work on.”
The Cardinals answer with right-hander Miles Mikolas 49ers Dante Pettis Jersey , who’s 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA in two career starts against the Brewers, both of which came this season.
He allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings but took the victory on April 2 at Miller Park but didn’t factor in the decision after giving up another four runs, this time over 6 1/3 innings, in a 5-4 Cardinals loss on April 9 in St. Louis.
“He pounds the strike zone and uses multiple pitches,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s just not every day you come across starters who can do that … and then to have durability and consistency to stay in the game as long as he has.”
A victory Saturday would mark Milwaukee’s second series victory over the Cardinals in three tries this season.
Long after the Detroit Tigers broke the game open, JaCoby Jones made the play of the day.
Maybe even the play of the year in the Comerica Park outfield.
Jones’ twisting, backhanded catch in the sixth inning took a home run away from Adrian Beltre in Detroit’s 7-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday.
The Tigers scored all their runs in the first, chasing Cole Hamels before that inning was over. It was still 7-0 when Jones made his spectacular catch in left-center field.
Beltre’s drive was headed toward the Texas bullpen, but Jones came over from center and jumped, reaching over the wall with his left hand and backhanding the ball. Jones’ momentum spun him around a bit, and he fell forward onto the ground, holding on for the out.
”You have to time it Tramon Williams Jersey ,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”As you saw, his whole arm went over the fence, and he snagged it behind. It’s a timing thing, and you have to be athletic to be able to do some of those things.”
Jones did not stay in the clubhouse to talk to reporters afterward.
Hamels (4-8) retired only two batters for the Rangers in his shortest start since 2010.
Mike Fiers (6-5) allowed a run and five hits in six innings. He struck out six with one walk.
Rougned Odor hit a solo homer for Texas immediately after Beltre was robbed by Jones. Shin-Soo Choo doubled twice for the Rangers to extend his on-base streak to 46 games, tying Julio Franco’s club record set in 1993.
Niko Goodrum had four hits for the Tigers.
Nicholas Castellanos opened the scoring with a solo homer with one out in the first. John Hicks added an RBI single, and Jose Iglesias hit an infield single with two outs and the bases loaded to make it 3-0.
Hamels still would have made it out of the inning, but center fielder Delino DeShields misplayed a line drive by Jones for an error , allowing three more runs to score.
”It just knuckled on me,” DeShields said. ”I was trying to stay with it, but it swerved on me at the last second. It’s frustrating, because you are doing everything you can to make the play, but he hit it right on the screws and right at me Patriots Adrian Clayborn Jersey , and that’s when a ball will take off on you.”
Mikie Mahtook followed with an RBI double, and Hamels was replaced after allowing five hits, two walks and three earned runs. He threw 41 pitches.
It was the shortest start for Hamels since June 1, 2010, when he also lasted two-thirds of an inning for Philadelphia at Atlanta. That start was shortened because of a rain delay.
Hamels had gone at least five innings in each of his first 17 starts this year.
”By the time he gave up the double, he was pushing 40 pitches, and that’s my limit,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. ”Once you get to 40 in one inning, you are pitching fatigued, and it is too much of a risk to leave him out there. I’m not going to do that to one of my pitchers.”
ON A ROLL
Goodrum had his second four-hit game in a week. He also went 4 for 4 at Toronto on July 1.
He’s hitting .464 (13 for 28) over his last seven games.
”I didn’t know that,” he said. ”The only stats I can see is what they show on the board of everyone.”
Rangers: SS Elvis Andrus appeared to foul a pitch off his left leg in the fifth but remained in the game. He was taken out in the eighth.
Michael Fulmer (3-7) takes the mound for Detroit against Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-2) in the series finale Sunday.