Burnes, Braun help Brewers to 5-0 win over the Royals
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Corbin Burnes threw six solid innings of four-hit ball, Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer in Milwaukee’s four-run eighth inning and the Brewers beat the Kansas City Royals 5-0 Saturday night.
With the win, Milwaukee moved into a tie with the Cincinnati Reds, one game behind second-place St. Louis in the NL Central. The top two teams in each division qualify for the postseason.
“It’s cliché. It’s simple, but you win games, and you feel pretty good about your chances,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after his team matched their season-high with three consecutive victories. “We’ve just got to keep doing it.”
Burnes continues as the best starting pitcher on the Brewers' staff. He is 4-0 in his last five starts, with 47 strikeouts and six walks in that span. Against the Royals, he struck out nine.
“It’s always nice to play meaningful baseball this late in September,” Burnes said. “I think we’re still a game out of the postseason or whatever it may be, but just to know that if you win two, three, four in a row — rattle a couple of wins, you’re in the postseason.”
The Royals best scoring chance against Burnes came with two out in the second when they got a runner to third. Burnes caught Ryan O’Hearn looking at a called third strike to get out of the jam.
“That was pretty good stuff today,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said of Burnes. “Life on the fastball. You can tell he had some deception. He was hiding the ball well. The cutter he was throwing backdoor to lefties, and chasing righties off the plate.”
Braun foiled Matheny’s strategy of issuing an intentional walk to Christian Yelich with two out and a runner already on. Braun followed with his 351st home run. He had left Friday night’s game with low back tightness and was a game-time decision.
Devin Williams retired the side in order in the seventh and eighth, including four strike outs. He has 47 strikeouts in 23 innings of relief.
Drew Rasmussen, who picked up his first major-league win with an inning of relief in Friday night’s 9-5 win, retired the side in order in the ninth to preserve the shutout.
Jacob Nottingham’s two-base hit off Royals reliever Scott Barlow in the eighth tacked on a big insurance run. Orlando Arcia singled and took third on Barlow’s errant pickoff throw.
Kris Bubic (1-6) allowed just a hit and an unearned run in 5 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old left-hander struck out seven, but tied his season-high with four walks, including two in the third that led to the Brewers' only run.
“His best, his best, yet,” Matheny said of Bubic’s pitching effort. “That’s just one of those indicators of things to come, where he’s controlling the strike zone with the fastball early on. That was, without question, the best breaking ball he’s had so far.”
Luis Urías walked and scored on a throwing error by second baseman Nicky Lopez. Shortstop Adalberto Mondesi got in the way as Lopez fielded Avisaíl García’s roller up the middle. Lopez stepped on second, but then threw wildly to first.
“Either one of them make that play, if they communicate to each other,” Matheny said of Mondesi and Lopez’s miscommunication.
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