Red-hot Eric Sogard guides Milwaukee Brewers past San Diego Padres

By Bill Center, The Sports Xchange   |   May 18, 2017 at 11:39 PM
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SAN DIEGO -- Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell had one word to describe infielder Eric Sogard on Thursday afternoon:

"Unbelievable."

Meanwhile, San Diego Padres manager Andy Green was a bit surprised by the performance of Sogard the past four games in San Diego.

"Honestly, Sogard is not the first guy you are preparing for when you are prepping to play the Brewers," Green said.

Sogard capped his second, four-hit game in a span of four days by capping a 12-pitch battle against reliever Ryan Buchter with a two-run, seventh-inning double over the head of center fielder Manuel Margot to lead the Brewers to a 4-2 victory over the Padres.

Sogard fouled off six, two-strike pitches from Buchter before doubling on a full-count fastball to drive home Keon Broxton and Orlando Arcia to erase a 2-1 Padres lead and give the Brewers a third straight win in the three-game series and a ninth in their last 11 games.

"I tried to stay relaxed, but literally I was feeling it," Sogard said of his battle with Buchter. "I was definitely exhausted. I knew I had to put it in play soon or he would have the upper hand."

With runners at second and third and one out, Buchter opened the at-bat with two strikes before Sogard began battling back.

Broxton and Arcia opened the seventh with back-to-back singles off reliever Kevin Quackenbush (0-1), who departed when the left-handed Buchter came on to face left-handed pinch-hitter Eric Thames. Thames did not start for the fourth straight game while recovering from strep throat.

With runners on first and second, Thames flew out to Margot, allowing both runners to advance although it looked like Margot's throw to third had a chance to catch Broxton before it was cut.

Now it was Sogard vs. Buchter.

"It was absolutely a battle of wills," Sogard said. "We were both getting after it with the game on the line. You just do your best to stay in it all the way and fortunately I was able to come out on top when he threw me an elevated fastball."

Sogard, who was the Padres' second-round pick in the 2007 draft, had two four-hit games in the series. He was 4-for-4 Thursday with a double, a walk and drove in the first three runs scored for the Brewers.

He was 9-for-15 in the series with the two doubles, a homer, five RBIs, four runs scored and two walks, reaching base 11 times in 17 plate appearances.

The Brewers promoted Sogard, who missed all of the 2016 season with a knee injury, from Triple-A Colorado Springs last Friday.

Milwaukee's Zach Davies (5-2) allowed two runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts in six innings.

Right-hander Corey Knebel got his third save by throwing a full-count curve past pinch-hitter Austin Hedges to end the game with the tying runs on base.

Milwaukee added an unearned insurance run in the ninth as Broxton singled against Jose Torres and came around on a steal, a throwing error by catcher Luis Torrens and an infield grounder.

Jarred Cosart, making his first start for the Padres since going on the disabled list April 19 with a right hamstring strain, allowed one run on five hits and a walk with three strikeouts over five innings.

"It's been a long time," Cosart said. "It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be after such a long break. I felt relaxed. I felt I had a great arm slot and spin on my curve."

The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Hunter Renfroe lined a 3-and-1 pitch into the first rows of the right field seats for his eighth home run.

Milwaukee tied the game in the top of the fifth on Sogard's single through the right side of the drawn-in infield.

Padres regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Cory Spangenberg singled and scored on a double play grounder by Torrens.

NOTES: Brewers manager Craig Counsell said he gave 2B Jonathan Villar a second straight start off Thursday afternoon "by plan." ... RHP Paolo Espino will make his major league debut at the age of 30 Friday when the Brewers promote him from Triple-A Colorado Springs to pitch against the Cubs in Wrigley Field. ... Also expected to start Friday is 1B-OF Eric Thames, who pinch-hit Thursday after missing four starts in San Diego with strep throat. ... Counsell said RHP Wily Peralta is ready to debut in the bullpen. ... Padres manager Andy Green said Rule 5 rookie Luis Torrens, 21, is the primary backup to Austin Hedges. ... Hector Sanchez will be a pinch-hitter and occasional catcher when he returns from the disabled list. Sanchez is starting a rehab assignment with Triple-A El Paso.

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