Playing in front of fans in Milwaukee for the first time in 18 months the Brewers gave the nearly 12,000 people in attendance a game to remember on Opening Day.
Manager Craig Counsell’s club overcame a three-run deficit in the ninth inning to tie the game and then Lorenzo Cain beat a throw home in the 10th inning to push Milwaukee past Minnesota 6-5 on Thursday afternoon.
The game appeared done heading to the ninth inning. The Twins bullpen had not allowed a base runner since the fifth inning and even before that the Brewers had struggled to find timely hits. But down to their final at-bats, they finally got some breaks to go their way against Minnesota closer Angel Colome.
Kolten Wong got on base after being hit by a pitch. Keston Hiura got on after he hit a dribbler that Colome tried to throw to second but was high, leaving Wong and Hiura safe with one out. Christian Yelich followed with a drive to right that went in and out of the glove of Max Kepler, which scored Wong to make it a two-run game. Travis Shaw then lined a two-out double to right-center to score Hiura and Yelich to tie the game.
After Josh Hader struck out the side in the top of the 10th, Orlando Arcia came through with hard hit ball that bounced high enough in the infield for Cain to score from third, setting off a huge celebration on the field and in the stands at American Family Field.
Shaw, playing in his first game since returning to the team after a year in Toronto, went 2-for-4 with a walk and three RBI. Yelich was also 2-for-4 with pair of runs scored, while Kolton Wong also scored twice in his first game with the club.
The theatrics at the end made up for a rough first eight or so innings for Milwaukee. Getting his second straight Opening Day start, Brandon Woodruff did not have his best stuff. The righty made it just four innings, giving up three runs on six hits and striking out five. One of the runs he allowed came on a wild pitch.
Freddy Peralta kept the Brewers in the game with a couple of big strikeouts, including one with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. All six of his outs came via a strikeout, though he did throw 57 pitches in just two innings.
But the Twins kept the pressure on in the seventh inning when Byron Buxton drilled a 2-run shot off Eric Yardley to make it 5-2. Kepler went 3-for-5, while Luis Arraez had a pair of hits and an RBI.
Milwaukee’s offense produced a bunch of base runners early on but couldn’t convert. The Brewers best chance for a big inning came in the fifth when an Omar Narvaez single with the bases loaded scored Yelich. But first-year third base coach Jason Lane also waved Shaw home and he was thrown out easily. Instead of bases loaded with one out, it was two on with two outs and Dan Vogelbach promptly grounded out to second base to end the inning.
Kenta Maeda had to throw a bunch of pitches and only made it 4 1/3 innings, but he was still difficult for the Brewers to get much going against. He allowed two runs – one earned – on six hits and had five punchouts.
The Twins bullpen more than kept Milwaukee in check over the next three innings as the trio of Cody Stashak, Taylor Rogers and Hansel Robles did not allow a hit. But Colome could not convert in the ninth, allowing Milwaukee to take the opener.
The two teams will take Friday off before two more games in Milwaukee this weekend.