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PHOENIX – The Milwaukee Brewers knew they had their work cut out for them on this daunting three-city trip, and thus far have been up to the task.The Brewers made it four victories in five games Monday night by pulling away from NL West leader Arizona for a 7-2 victory in the series opener at Chase Field.It was a 2-2 game entering the seventh but the Brewers scored five late runs against the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, ranked first in the major leagues.
Jonathan Villar, a late addition to the lineup when Ryan Braun was scratched, had three hits, including a home run, and scored three runs.The Brewers scored twice in the second inning off tough lefty Patrick Corbin, thanks to some questionable decision-making by the Diamondbacks. With two down, Manny Piña doubled to left and stopped at third on Jonathan Villar’s single through the left side.Corbin caught Villar breaking off first base and threw over, and Villar stopped to get caught in a rundown.
But first baseman Paul Goldschmidt paid too much attention to the slow Piña at third and allowed Villar to make it safely to second instead of ending the inning.With first base open and pitcher Junior Guerra on deck, the Diamondbacks opted to pitch to No. 8 hitter Orlando Arcía. Corbin hung a 3-2 curveball to him and Arcía banged a two-run double to left-center.BOX SCORE: Brewers 7, Diamondbacks 2RELATED: Brewers now showing they can beat contenders as well as weaklings
Guerra cruised through three hitless innings before the Diamondbacks got to him for two runs in the fourth to tie the game. Daniel Descalso led off with a four-pitch walk and Goldschmidt lined a single to right. After Descalso moved up on a flyout, Steven Souza yanked an RBI double into the left-field corner.Ketel Marte drew a walk, setting up Nick Ahmed’s game-tying sacrifice fly to deep center.
Arizona right-hander Zack Greinke (3-2), who has done his part to keep the scoring at Chase the last two seasons, will face Milwaukee right-hander Jhoulys Chacin in the second game of the series Tuesday.The scoring downturn simply could have something to do with the small sample size. The D-backs have played only 24 home games. Moreover, injuries have kept middle of-the-order bats Jake Lamb and Steven Souza out of the lineup much of the season, and Paul Goldschmidt is off to a slow start.
“There are so many factors,” Goldschmidt said. “I’m sure there is some effect, but both teams are playing with it, and so the outcomes of games are not going to be skewed one way or the other. It would be different if there was a way to prepare for it. I don’t even think there is a way you can do something different.“The biggest takeaway, it’s not going to benefit one side or the other, in my opinion.”
Chase Field has ranked in the top 10 in runs scored in 14 of the last 15 seasons and in the top five eight times in the last 12 years.“We’ve missed some offensive players, so I think naturally the numbers are not going to show as strong as they possibly could be,” Lovullo said.Several opponents have remarked privately about the discrepancy, and Washington’s Bryce Harper was forthright in his assessment last weekend.
“It’s terrible,” said Harper, who had two doubles and a homer but also had two fly balls caught at the wall in the Nationals’ four-game sweep.“I think it’s definitely changed a lot,” Harper said. “You usually come here and you are thinking maybe hit one or two homers and have a good couple of days in Arizona. But you really have to get it or put one down the line each way to get it out of his place. Definitely changes the atmosphere here. It’s definitely tough.”
Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell’s team heads to Arizona after winning three of four at Coors Field, the site of the original humidor. Counsell spent five seasons with the Diamondbacks, and he is taking a wait-and-see approach“You could look at their team numbers and say that the humidor has been a factor, he said. “There have been a lot of anecdotal people saying it is playing different. New surface. Humidor with the balls. We’ll see. Ask me Wednesday.”Greinke, who has a 3.70 ERA, has given up only four runs in his last three starts, although he has only come away with one victory and two no-decisions.