Brewers take home opener 5-1 over St. Louis

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee got an early lead and was rarely challenged on its way to a 5-1 win over St. Louis in the home opener for the Brewers.

Player of the Day: Omar Narvaez

Narvaez broke out of his early season slump to drive in two runs, including the first home run of the season at American Family Field. It was a no doubter in the second inning to double the lead for the Brewers and it was his first homer since Aug. 11 of last year. Narvaez wasn’t done, pushing the lead to 4-0 in the third inning with a two-out double that scored Rowdy Tellez. The catcher finished 2-for-4 while hitting out of the seventh spot.

“Omar had a great game,” manager Craig Counsell said. “I think our lineup is built to be able to get contributions from the whole way through, so getting some contributions down at the bottom today was good.”

The good: Brandon Woodruff

The veteran struggled in his first start, giving up 7 runs in just 3 2/3 innings, but he bounced back with five scoreless innings against the St. Louis. Woodruff wasn’t dominant – he had just two strikeouts and needed 89 pitches to get 15 outs – but he was in command throughout.

In the one tight spot he got in – a bases loaded situation in the third that was aided by a couple missed strike calls – he calmly got Tyler O’Neill to fly out to right to end the inning and then ripped into home plate umpire Lance Barrett from the dugout.

“I’ve had those times where I’ve had that happen to me and I get pretty fired up about it because it matters,” Woodruff said. “I went back and watched them, they were pretty good (pitches). I think last year I probably would have let it get to me a little bit and maybe not executed as well. But in that moment, I just kept telling myself, ‘take a breath, clear it out, reset, and worry about the next pitch.’ I think I was able to do a pretty good job of that and get through the inning.”

After two uncharacteristic starts from their top two pitchers – Woodruff and Corbin Burnes — to open the season, the Brewers got 12 scoreless innings from the duo in back-to-back wins.

The not so good: The umpire

This could be mentioned as the negative almost every game but why not get it out of the way early in the season. Plain and simple, Lance Barrett’s strike zone was pathetic. As we said earlier, he caused Woodruff to throw seven more pitches when he failed to call a clear strike three on Paul Goldschmidt in the third. Lorenzo Cain, Rowdy Tellez and Willy Adames all took called third strikes at points in the game and were less than pleased about it.

The argument for keeping the human element in the game is fine but home plate umpires continue to pile up evidence that moving to robot umpires is the better way for baseball to go.

Stat of the Game 3

That is how many doubles Christian Yelich has already this season, a total he didn’t hit until June 11 last year. He hasn’t hit a home run yet, but the way the ball is flying off his bat it feels like just a matter of time before he does.

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In Case You Missed It

— Milwaukee was celebrating 4-1-4 day (414 is the Milwaukee County area code) and the team set the game time for 4:14.

— Andrew McCutchen continued his strong start to the season with a two-out single that gave Milwaukee a lead in the first inning. He’s got at least one RBI in five of the team’s seven games this year.

— Kolten Wong got the game going with a triple to right field. It was his second-straight at-bat that resulted in a triple, joining his go-ahead hit Wednesday in Baltimore. The two triples already match his total from all of last year.

— The announced attendance was 42,794. It was considered a sellout, though there seemed to be quite a few empty seats, especially in the third deck.

What’s next?

Milwaukee (4-3) will host St. Louis on Friday at 7:10 p.m.. Freddy Peralta (0-0, 6.75 ERA) is on the mound for the Brewers, while the Cardinals send Miles Mikolas (0-0, 4.91 ERA)