Milwaukee Brewers edge San Diego Padres as Jimmy Nelson gets first complete game

By Andrew Wagner, The Sports Xchange  |  June 18, 2017 at 7:58 PM
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MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Nelson was fired up as he took the mound for the ninth inning Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.

He had struck out eight batters while allowing one run to that point -- and only needed 106 pitches to do it -- so Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell gave Nelson a shot at the team's first complete game since 2015.

"It was pretty cool going out there and they played the walk-out song, which was kind of neat," Nelson said. "But at the same time, you have to take a step back and not let your adrenaline take over. You have to relax and don't try to do too much, try not to overthrow and execute your pitches."

Nelson (5-3) did just that, adding two more to his strikeout total for the day, and locked down the first complete game of his career as the Brewers beat the San Diego Padres 2-1.

"All the credit is for him," said catcher Manny Pina, who helped Nelson's cause with a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning. "Every inning, he was talking between innings. He was explaining to me a little what he was trying to do every time. So when I hit that ball, I told him, 'Hey, this is your chance to win the game. Let's do this.'"

While Nelson was dealing, the Brewers' offense was failing to make the most of early opportunities against Padres starter Luis Perdomo.

Milwaukee put runners in scoring position in four of the first five innings but had nothing to show for it thanks to three double plays by the Padres.

They finally broke through in the sixth on solo home runs from Hernan Perez and Pina.

"We should have scored more runs, frankly," Counsell said. "We left some opportunities out there that we needed to cash in on. I thought we had an opportunity for more runs, that's for sure. But the home runs were big. That's how we're scoring right now."

Perdomo (1-4) gave way to a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning after holding Milwaukee to two run, eight hits and two walks while striking out four in six innings.

"It was a battle," Padres manager Andy Green said. "I thought he did a great job getting out of some really threatening innings and just giving up the two solo home runs. He was in trouble in the first, the second, the third, the fifth. He navigated a lot of trouble today.

"Some good defense behind him. That was a great catch by Franchy Cordero out in center field. He ran a long way to make that catch. A really nice double play to get out of the earlier inning as well.

"He didn't throw strike one as much as I would have liked to have seen. But I thought, overall, he gave us a chance to win a baseball game. He did a good job battling."

Nelson, meanwhile, kept on going. He batted for himself in the seventh and came back out for the eighth inning at 96 pitches. He struck out Cordero to open the inning and served up a single to Wil Myers. But he was bailed out when Yangervis Solarte chopped into a double play to end the inning.

In the ninth, Nelson got Hunter Renfroe looking for the first out and Cory Spangenberg followed by lining out to first.

Erick Aybar was next and struck out on three straight pitches, clinching the complete game for Nelson and the Brewers' first series victory since sweeping the Mets on May 12-14.

"He certainly got better as the game went along," Counsell said. "That's why I kept putting him back out there. I felt like he got better as the game went. The command improved. He was pounding the zone for strikes. He earned his way out there the last couple of innings, that's for sure."

NOTES: Milwaukee's starting pitchers have gone 10-4 with a combined 2.85 ERA and 13 quality starts in their last 24 games. ... Padres OF Manuel Margot is headed to Fresno where he will join Triple-A El Paso for a rehab assignment Monday. Manager Andy Green said Margot will likely serve as the DH in one game and then play in the field the next and after an off-day Wednesday get re-evaluated. He has been out with a calf injury since May 25. ... Brewers manager Craig Counsell said OF Ryan Braun has been cleared to do "everything" as he works his way back from a strained left calf but isn't quite ready to start a rehab assignment. ... Milwaukee's last 15 runs have all been scored on home runs, setting a franchise record.

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