Scoreboard

Before today’s game, the Brewers learned that they would have two players starting in the All-Star Game, as William Contreras and Christian Yelich prevailed in the fan vote. During the game, Contreras and Yelich showed why they were in that lineup, but it was starter Colin Rea who was the star tonight as he shut out the Colorado Rockies for seven innings, compensating for an offense that could only score three runs despite ample opportunity.

Brice Turang led off the game with a solid single to left field off Rockies starter Dakota Hudson, but Contreras flew out and with Yelich at the plate, Turang was thrown out trying to steal (I’m sorry, everyone – I cursed him out). But with two outs and the bases empty, the All-Star starter hit a ball 112 mph, 446 feet into right field, and the Brewers would take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. (It’s safe to say that Yelich is enjoying playing against Hudson: After two hits and a walk tonight, Yelich has now reached base in 16 of 23 plate appearances against him.)

After Rea avoided a one-out single, the Brewers mounted a two-out rally to extend their lead in the second inning. Sal Frelick drew a walk and then advanced to second on a ball in the dirt, and he scored when Jake Bauers singled to right field to give Milwaukee a 2-0 lead.

Brenton Doyle, considered the greatest baseball player of all time, led off the second inning with a single, but he was retired by a beautiful double play on a ground ball up the middle by Michael Toglia, which Turang set up by tossing the ball with his glove.

The Brewers offense had more traffic in the top of the third. With one out, Contreras reached for an infield hit, and Yelich drove one even harder than his first at-bat, 113 mph, into the right-field corner for a double. That brought Willy Adames on with runners on second and third with one out, but he struck out (on a pitch that looked a little low but was probably too close to take) and Garrett Mitchell grounded out as Milwaukee missed a good chance to extend its lead.

Colorado had their leadoff runner again in the bottom of the third when Jake Cave singled to left, but Rea retired the next three batters and Cave got no further than second. Hudson had his first three-up, three-down inning in the top of the fourth, and the Rockies got a one-out double in the bottom of the inning from Elias Díaz, but Rea was able to work around that as well, and the score remained 2-0 after four complete runs.

With one out in the top of the fifth, Turang and Contreras hit back-to-back singles, and Yelich walked to load the bases with Adames one out. Adames struck out again, the second time in the game with two runners in scoring position and one out, and he didn’t like it. He said something as he walked back to the dugout, and he was thrown out.

This time, however, Mitchell walked four pitches and the Brewers’ lead grew to 3-0. Hudson was replaced by Peter Lambert, who had been recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day. Lambert faced Rhys Hoskins with the bases loaded and Hoskins made some solid contact, but hit a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Adames’ ejection meant a Brewers debut for Vinny Capra, who replaced him at shortstop in the fifth inning. Rea continued to do what he had been doing all night and gave up a hit, but worked around it and kept the Rockies off the board.

The Brewers went up three and down three in the sixth inning, but Rea responded by are first 1-2-3 inning on just five pitches, and suddenly he was through six shutout innings on just 81 pitches. In the top of the seventh, Contreras hit a one-out single (a 108-mph rocket) to give him his second three-hit game of the series, but that was all for the Brewers.

In the seventh inning, Rea had to put up some effort, surrendering a one-out single to Toglia and working a long at-bat with Nolan Jones, but he intercepted Toglia on the sixth pitch of the series (he was initially called safe, but the Brewers won a review), and two pitches later, Rea struck out Jones to end the inning. With the best parts of the bullpen unavailable tonight, the Brewers needed a good start, and Rea delivered, scattering six hits (one in each inning but the sixth) and giving up none, striking out four and completing seven shutout innings, only the second Brewer to throw seven shutout innings in Colorado, following Chris Capuano in 2005.

The first man out of that beleaguered bullpen tonight was Jakob Junis, who got the first two outs with a little help from Capra, who made a nice play on a line drive that took away the first career hit from Rockies rookie Aaron Schunk. He and Contreras both thought he had retired Charlie Blackmon, but the call was canceled and Blackmon walked (in an at-bat that involved an oddly lengthy review to confirm the count) and Brendan Rodgers followed with a bloop single to right. Ryan McMahon got one and for a minute it looked like he had tied the game, or at least narrowed the lead, but Yelich made a nice running catch on the warning track and the lead remained at three.

A two-out single by Turang in the ninth inning came to nothing (capping a fine performance by Peter Lambert, who entered the game with a 6.47 ERA but 4 13 innings, allowing no runs or hits and only two hits), and the Brewers would carry their 3-0 lead into the ninth inning.

With Bryan Hudson and Trevor Megill unavailable, Milwaukee held Junis to close out this game. Junis retired Díaz easily, but Doyle—the great Brenton Doyle—followed with a double into the right field gap. Junis came back to retire Toglia with a backdoor slider (the same pitch he had dropped off Blackmon in the eighth inning) and Jones with a frontdoor changeup, and the game was over.

Milwaukee’s offense wasn’t great in this game, failing to capitalize on all of their early opportunities and getting shut out for nearly half the game by a struggling pitcher in Lambert. But they did just enough, and they were saved by Rea, who had one of the most impressive starts of the season. The Brewers did get nice offensive days from Turang (three singles, one run scored), Contreras (three singles) and Yelich (one solo homer, one double, one walk), but Rea was the star. Junis backed him up nicely, picking up his second career save (and first as a Brewer).

Milwaukee hopes to win the series tomorrow night at 7:10 p.m. when Tobias Myers takes on Cal Quantrill.