A Minute in Maryvale: 3.20.17

As the first day of Spring makes its presence across Colorado, action across baseball diamonds nationwide has been heating up for weeks. The 2017 Spring Training schedule is reaching its final week of games as the regular season begins in about two weeks.

On April 3, Milwaukee opens their season at Miller Park against the Colorado Rockies at 12:10 p.m. MT. Junior Guerra has been named the Opening Day starting pitcher.

Over the weekend, the Milwaukee Brewers (13-10-1) enjoyed a 2-1 stretch, sweeping their Saturday and Sunday matchups after dropping the St. Patrick’s Day decision Friday.

Royals 8, Brewers 5

On Friday, the No. 3 spot in the lineup combined for two home runs as Ryan Braun hit a two-run shot as part of a four-run first inning and Manny Pina added a solo dinger in the seventh, but Kansas City (11-10) scored five unanswered runs in the first half of the game to pull away with an 8-5 win at Maryvale Baseball Park.

Brewers 13, Cubs 7

The offensive continued its offensive power Saturday at home against their interstate rivals, the Chicago Cubs. After playing to a tie in their first meeting of March, the Brewers combined for 20 hits en route to a 13-7 victory.

For the second straight game, Milwaukee scored four runs in the first inning and then continued their power with four more in the third, two in the fourth and three combined runs in the seventh and eighth innings to Jake Buchanan and the Chicago (8-10-4) pitching staff.

Pina hit a home run for the second straight afternoon–this time a three-run shot to give the hosts their first lead of the game.

Kyle Wren hit his first Spring Training home run–another three-run dinger–to cap the third inning, and Dustin Houle hit a solo shot to round out the Brewers’ power. Ivan DeJesus, Jr., drove in two runs, and Scooter Gennett, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Isan Diaz, Mauricio Dubon each drove in a run to help give Brent Suter his first Spring Training win. Paolo Espino threw four innings of relief to earn his second save.

Brewers 6, Giants 4

The Brewers enjoyed another afternoon of stout pitching and hot offense Sunday afternoon in Scottsdale, as Zach Davies (2-0) pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in Milwaukee’s 6-4 win over San Francisco. Brandon Belt hit a single in the fifth inning to represent the first base runner allowed by Davies in the game.

While Davies held the Giants (9-14) to two hits, the offense got to starter Jeff Samardzija (0-3) after two batters. Gennett led off the game with a double and was promptly driven in on a RBI single from Eric Thames to give the Cactus Crew a quick 1-0 lead.

The home run power continued in the fourth inning. Back from his World Baseball Classic tenure with Venezuela, Hernan Perez hit a two-out solo shot and was followed one batter later by Nieuwenhuis to give Milwaukee back-to-back home runs.

The scoring continued one inning later. Travis Shaw drove in Gennett on a line-drive double and Perez added two more RBIs to his stat line on a single to score Thames and Shaw and put the game out of reach.

Milwaukee enjoys an off day Monday, but will be back in action Tuesday afternoon, when they travel to Glendale’s Camelback Ranch to face the Los Angeles Dodgers at 2:05 p.m. MT. Matt Garza gets the start for the Crew, while Hyun-Jin Ryu takes the mound for the Dodgers.

Pool F concluded its play in the second round of the World Baseball Classic in San Diego, Calif., over the weekend, with Puerto Rico and the United States advancing to the semifinals in Los Angeles along with Pool E winner Japan and Pool E runner-up The Netherlands.

The Puerto Ricans face the Dutch Monday night at 7 p.m. MT at Dodger Stadium, with the Caribbeans looking to remain undefeated in tournament play. They swept the second round pool after defeating the U.S., 6-5, Friday night and thumping Venezuela, 13-2 Saturday afternoon.

During their 17-hit outburst against Venezuela, Hiram Burgos earned another hold by throwing two allowing two runs on two hits–the only offense the South Americans could muster on the afternoon. In two appearances out of the bullpen, Burgos has allowed two runs on two hits with two strikeouts in five combined innings pitched.

His Sky Sox and Puerto Rican teammate Jorge Lopez earned a victory in his one WBC start, defeating Mexico on March 11 by tossing 4 1/3 innings while surrendering two hits and one earned run while striking out five batters.

Meanwhile, the United States earned the final semifinal spot Saturday night in a winner-take-all rematch with the Dominican Republic. Giancarlo Stanton lined a two-run shot to left field and some Adam Jones defense gave the Pool F host country the win to set up a matchup with Japan Tuesday at 7 p.m. MT in Chavez Ravine.

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