A Minute in Maryvale: 3.13.17

Selection Sunday has come and gone, marking the beginning of the craziest and busiest few weeks for college basketball fans across the country.

In a similar fashion, the second full week of March also marks a different sort of selection–one where Milwaukee Brewers Manager Craig Counsell and his staff select who remains with the Major League camp and who will start the 2017 season in the Minor Leagues (including here in Colorado Springs). The Brewers’ minor league camp begins their schedule on Friday, March 17, against the San Francisco Giants’ system.

The news isn’t all about cuts, though. Right, Tim Dillard?

Down in Arizona, the Milwaukee Brewers (9-8) split a pair of weekend games, defeating the San Diego Padres, 5-3, Saturday at Maryvale Baseball Park, while falling to the Cincinnati Reds (7-11), 4-2, at Goodyear Ballpark Sunday.

For the second time in three days, the Brew Crew used some long ball power to blow past the Padres (6-9). Jesus Aguilar cranked a go-ahead three-run long ball in the fourth inning to put the Brewers back on top after the home team fell behind 3-1 after third inning. Ryan Braun opened the scoring with a RBI double in the first inning, while 2016 Sox catcher Rene Garcia added some insurance with a RBI single in the seventh inning.

Tyler Cravy (1-0) earned the win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, while Damien Magnifico (1) earned his first save of the spring.

Sunday brought a different result, as two National League Central Division rivals squared off in another tightly-contested matchup. The Reds (7-11) used a three-run fifth inning to jump out to a 4-0 lead and the Reds’ pitching staff held firm to hold on for a 4-2 victory.

Jimmy Nelson threw three scoreless innings in his first Spring Training start, but Bronson Arroyo, Sal Romano (1-0) and the Reds allowed a pair of runs on eight scattered hits to earn the win.

Lewis Brinson put Milwaukee on the board, driving in Ryan Cordell on a RBI double in the seventh inning, while No. 8 prospect Isan Diaz hit his first home run of camp on a fly ball to left field in the ninth inning.

On a more global stage, the Dominican Republic and the United States advanced to San Diego from Pool C, while Puerto Rico cruised to an undefeated Pool D victory.

Pool C

3/11 Colombia 4, Canada 1; Dominican Republic 7, United States 5

3/12 Dominican Republic 10, Colombia 3 (11 innings); United States 8, Canada 0

After the Dominican Republic overcame a 5-0 deficit to defeat the United States, 2016 Sky Sox pitcher Wily Peralta threw four quality innings, allowing one run on two hits while striking out six Colombian batters. The defending champions needed a seven-run eleventh inning to eliminate a pesky Colombia squad and move on to Pool F play in San Diego.

Meanwhile, Brewers second baseman Jonathan Villar recorded two of the D.R.’s 14 hits from the No. 9 spot in the lineup and scored a run on a Manny Machado third inning double to give the Dominicans an early 2-1 lead.

The United States advanced to the second round with a convincing shutout performance against their neighbors to the north. Colorado third baseman and former Sky Sox infielder Nolan Arenado cranked a three-run home run in the second inning to back a 15-strikeout night by the American pitching staff.

Pool D

3/11 Venezuela 11, Italy 10 (10 innings); Puerto Rico 9, Mexico 4

Former Sky Sox outfielder and current Colorado slugger Carlos Gonzalez drove in one run on a RBI double during Venezuela’s three-run seventh inning to give the South Americans a temporary 8-5 lead in a wild back-and-forth affair in Jalisco, Mexico. 

2016 Sky Sox starting pitcher Jorge Lopez earned the win on the mound, going 4 1/3 innings of two-hit, one-run baseball while striking out five Mexicans Saturday in Jalisco. The 24-year-old right-hander also received plenty of run support, thanks two home runs by Francisco Lindor and a solo shot from Javier Baez. 

3/12  Puerto Rico 9, Italy 3; Mexico 11, Venezuela 9

A day after teammate Jorge Lopez delivered a quality outing, 2015-16 Sky Sox starter Hiram Burgos threw three scoreless innings of his own Sunday, recording a hold after starter Jose Berrios recorded a five-inning quality start. The Puerto Ricans won Pool D with another 9-run performance, highlighted by a three-run blast from Carlos Correa. 

Pool E (Second Round)

3/11 Israel 4, Cuba 1

3/12 Japan 8, The Netherlands 5 (11 innings)

3/13 The Netherlands 12, Israel 2 (8 innings)

In a rematch of the top-two teams from Pool A, 2014 Sky Sox pitcher Jair Jurrjens earned the victory in the mercy-rule win for the Dutch. The Curacaoan hurler threw six innings, scattering five hits while allowing an earned run and striking out five Israel batters. Jurrjens recieved runs support from Didi Gregorius (5 RBIs) and Wladimir Balentien (3 RBIs). 

Brewers 24, Mariners 3

Kirk Nieuwenhuis drove in six runs, while Keon Broxton and Orlando Arcia each drove in three runs and 14 Brewers recorded at least one hit to support Junior Guerra start and give Milwaukee a 24-3 rout of the Seattle Mariners at the Maryvale Baseball Park Monday afternoon.

After falling behind on a first-inning solo home run from Seattle’s Ben Gamel, Milwaukee (10-8) bounced back in a hurry, scoring in four straight innings in a rematch of a 6-2 Mariners win on March 2 in Peoria.

With two outs, Kirk Nieuwenhuis lined a two-run double to centerfield, scoring Broxton and Jesus Aguilar.

One inning later, the top of the order went deep, as Broxton hit a two-run home run over the berm–landing into the neighboring shopping plaza on a bounce–and Travis Shaw cranked his second home run of the spring to give Milwaukee back-to-back home runs off Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma (0-1).

For Broxton, the 2016 Sky Sox outfielder has now recorded at least one hit in eight of the 11 games that he has played in, resulting in a .387 batting average during Spring Training.

A pair of 2016 Sky Sox kept the offense going in a third inning in the Brewers batted around. With two outs, Orlando Arcia recorded his first RBI of the spring, driving in Aguilar on a single to right field and knocking Iwakuma from the game. After reliever Evan Scribner entered the game, Manny Pina doubled in Arcia, and then proceeded to steal home two batters later.

The Brewers broke the game even further open with a 10-run fourth inning. A second Nieuwenhuis double drove in Aguilar to begin the run parade, and Jett Bandy became the sixth Brewer to record an RBI with a single to plate Nieuwenhuis. One batter later, Arcia hit his first home run of the spring and the rout was officially on for the Cactus Crew.

Broxton continued the inning with his third hit in as many at-bats, driving in Pina on a RBI double to right field. Travis Shaw recorded the first out of the inning against Mariners reliever Ryan Weber, flying out to centerfield and driving in Eric Sogard on the play. One pitch later, substitute Ryan Cordell got in on the fun, driving in Broxton with a single to force Weber from the game.

After Aguilar walked for the third time in four innings, Nieuwenhuis recorded his first non-double of the day, capping the 10-run fourth inning with a three-run home run to score Cordell and Aguilar.

The 2016 Sky Sox continued the onslaught in the fifth and sixth innings. Nate Orf drove in his first two runs of the spring on a pair of RBI singles in consecutive innings, while Kyle Wren tripled to score Ivan DeJesus, Jr., and Orf in the five-run fifth inning.

Lost among the offensive otuburst, Junior Guerra (2-0) threw four innings of one-hit, one-run ball in his fourth start of Spring Training. After Gamel’s home run two batters into the game, Guerra surrendered a walk among the final 12 Seattle (10-7) batters faced.

After the torrid performance Monday, the Brewers head to Mesa for their first matchup with the defending World Series champion–and NL Central rival–Chicago Cub.s Zach Davies takes the mound for Milwaukee against Chicago’s Brett Anderson. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. MT at Sloan Park.

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