What a way to open an all-New York homestand.
Garrett Mitchell delivered the game-winning single to midfield with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Yankees 7-6 in a 4-hour 10-minute game on Friday night at American Family Field.
Willy Adames did much of the heavy lifting early on, hitting in four runs, three of which came on his 29th home run in the second inning, a stunner that tied him with Robin Yount for the franchise record for one season by a short stop with 29.
Seven pitchers from Milwaukee also prevented Aaron Judge from extending his homer tally of 57 while chasing Roger Maris for the single-season American League record.
With the San Diego Padres also beating the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Brewers remained 1½ game off the third and final wildcard spot in the National League.
However, there was a lot of positive momentum to be gained from this one, as Milwaukee overcame a five-point deficit for its biggest come-from-behind win of the season.
“Look, it’s a really good win,” said manager Craig Counsell. “Getting rid of that at any time of the year takes a lot of effort from a lot of people and a lot of people who do a great job for the rest of the game.
“That’s what we’ve got – we’ve got a whole bunch of people doing really good things, and it’s led to a really good win.”
BOX SCORE: Brewers 7, Yankees 6
With a tie at five, Counsell called for closer Devin Williams to pitch the eighth, and the move proved a success with Williams grounding out to Judge and then striking out Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres.
Milwaukee then got runners at the corners with two outs in the bottom of the eighth against Jonathan Loáisiga before Adames grounded deep into the hole at short stop that gave Isiah Kiner-Falefa a glove but was unable to field cleanly.
Keston Hiura scored when Adames passed first base while hitting his chest, with the Brewers taking the lead thanks to a walk, an infield single, a reverse call at first base and then the Kiner-Falefa boot.
Josh Donaldson’s home run tied the game in the ninth for the Yankees
However, the good feelings were short-lived.
Rather than send Williams to the mound to take on right-handed Josh Donaldson to start ninth, Counsell went with left-handed Taylor Rogers.
Donaldson reacted by hitting a 1-2 slider off the foul post along the left field line for the tying run.
“I thought about it and decided not to,” Counsell said when asked if Williams would face Donaldson. “I just didn’t want to put Devin in this place for multiples.”
Then Oswaldo Cabrera – a .198 batter who entered the game – doubled to right-center to reach base for the fifth time in as many at bats. Rogers (4-7) eventually recovered and stranded Cabrera in third place.
But Garrett Mitchell gets the game-winning walk-off hit for the Brewers
Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected as Clay Holmes warmed up and Hunter Renfroe greeted Holmes with a first-pitch double to left-center.
Renfroe, on the move, eventually moved to third place on a grounder by Kolten Wong.
The Yankees went with a five-man infield and Andrew McCutchen walked to put runners on the corners. Jace Peterson struckout, then Victor Caratini walked to load the bases for Mitchell.
At the bottom of the count, 1-2, Mitchell smoked a slider back through the penalty area to give Milwaukee its ninth walk-off win of the season and the centerfielder his greatest moment to date since being called up from Class AAA Nashville on August 27.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty special,” said Mitchell, who raised his season average to .182 with the hit. “For being in that situation, that opportunity, I’m thankful to God. Those moments, those kinds of moments, are things you’ve worked for all your life as a kid.
“I’m just grateful to be there at that moment and to have that chance to help the team win.”
Milwaukee, which has the majors best record in interleague play this season, 14-4, had previously come back from a four-point deficit, beating the Atlanta Braves 7-6 on May 18.
Brewers were in a big hole early on when Adrian Houser struggled
What turned out to be a 35-pitch first inning started innocently enough, when Judge dribbled an infield single to third base.
The Yankees killed that in four more baserunners, got on the board on a sacrifice fly by Donaldson that Judge scored, then increased their lead on RBI singles by Kiner-Falefa and Marwin González.
It was an opening frame reminiscent of the one Houser produced in Colorado last Monday, when the Rockies scored three runs in the first, only to see Houser bounce back and knock out the next 15 batters he faced in an eventual win. .
But in this one, the righthander had no luck, as New York loaded the bases in the second – including a check-swing single from the right – and scored another pair on a groundout by Donaldson and a throwing error by Kolten Wong, who was unsuccessful tried to turn a double play.
Willy Adames brings team back into play with three-run home run, equals Robin Yount . record
A two-out, three-run homerun by Adames in the home of the second put the Brewers back in and Houser worked around a few baserunners in the third to prevent the Yankees from scoring for the first time on the evening.
“There’s never a bad time for a three-run home run,” Counsell joked. “Look, 5-0 and 5-3, it’s completely different energy. Say what you want, but it’s different energy. The second time it was 5-3, you’re in the game. A runner and a single and it is a draw.
“We hooked it up there pretty quickly and both bullpens did some solid work and it went from there.”
In an interesting twist, the homer came the same day Yount celebrated his 67th birthday. Yount set the franchise mark in 1982 with 29 home runs.
“Lucky for Willy,” Counsell added. “That’s a big name to bind and it’s a big name to be associated with.”
After throwing 85 pitches to reach that point, Houser was replaced by Peter Strzelecki for the fourth. Houser gave up seven hits, the five runs (four earned) and four walks with a strikeout.
Houser earned credit for fighting to get through the third inning with the Brewers in a difficult spot with their pitching staff. But overall, the performance was a disappointment, given the positive momentum he had generated in the game.
After a scoreless fourth by Strzelecki, Montas faced two batters in the bottom half – a walk for Mitchell – before Boone brought in lefthander Lucas Luetge.
Christian Yelich thwarted that strategy by single, then Adames hit a ground-rule double to the right that scored Mitchell. Rowdy Tellez followed with a sacrifice fly to the left that scored Yelich, and Milwaukee tied the score again, 5-5.
Justin Topa, Hoby Milner and Brad Boxberger bridged the gap from Strzelecki to Williams and did Yeoman’s job.
“Each of them did a great job,” Counsell said. “They got big outs, some quick innings. I thought Box had a really good inning. I thought Justin Topa’s outs were big in the middle of the game to sort the game out a bit and take us further.
“And the other thing is, I don’t think we’ve overcharged anyone. We should be in a pretty good spot tomorrow to continue. To only get three innings off your starter tonight, I think we’re in pretty good shape.” be in good shape.”
The Yankees visit Milwaukee for the first time since May 9-11, 2014.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Garrett Mitchell’s walk-off hit caps big win for Brewers vs Yankees