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Mike Moustakas powers Brewers past Marlins with pair of clutch homers

On his 31st birthday, Moose celebrated in style by driving in five of Milwaukee’s seven runs.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After battling a nagging wrist injury over the past two weeks, Mike Moustakas returned to the Brewers Wednesday night and led them to an emotional 7-5 win over the Marlins in Miami, driving in five runs on his own (all in two-out situations). Coincidentally, these heroics came on the veteran infielder’s 31st birthday.

Zach Davies: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (89 pitches)

Pablo López: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 2 HR (84 pitches)

It was immediately apparent that Pablo López lacked his usual stuff and command. The very first batter of the game, Trent Grisham worked a full count against the right-hander and took him deep for a solo home run.

The Marlins responded promptly. Starlin Castro’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first evened the score at 1-1. In doing so, Castro matched his career-best RBI total (78). Then the next inning, Magneuris Sierra singled up the middle to bring home Harold Ramirez from third base, which made it 2-1.

Just as it appeared López may be settling in, he issued a two-out walk to Yasmani Grandal in the top of the third (Grandal walked four total times on the night, twice as many as the entire Marlins lineup). Moustakas cashed in on the opportunity when this changeup sat over the heart of the plate:

Overall, López only threw 52.4% of his pitches for strikes.

Looking deflated by a 5-2 deficit entering the bottom of the fifth, the Marlins turned on their own power switch. Isan Díaz and Garrett Cooper clubbed back-to-back homers against Alex Claudio and Jay Jackson, respectively.

Tommy John survivor Brent Suter threw up zeroes the next three innings for the Brewers. Meanwhile, very encouraging work from Ryne Stanek—he bailed Wei-Yin Chen out of a seventh-inning jam, then remained in to retired the side in the eighth. Easily his most clutch performance since arriving in Miami via trade.

However, José Ureña continues to underwhelm in the closer’s role. Just like Pablo several hours prior, Ureña allowed a base on balls to Grandal to keep the inning alive. Moustakas delivered the crushing blow.

Josh Hader racked up three strikeouts in a stress-free bottom of the ninth.

There was even more good news for the Crew after the final out: Christian Yelich (broken kneecap) does not require surgery and should return to play in 2020 with no ill effects.

Thursday’s series finale will be an all-lefty affair featuring starters Gio Gonzalez and Caleb Smith. The latter has two career appearances against the Brewers, dominating them the first time (6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 10 K on April 22, 2018) and struggling earlier this season (5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 K on June 6, 2019). Dr. K’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m.

Brewers vs. Marlins box score (Baseball Theater)

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