SAN FRANCISCO – This will go down in the history of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Not in a good way.
The Brewers suffered a crushing 8-5 defeat at Oracle Park on Friday night, after riding a five-run fifth inning for a second consecutive feel-good win over the San Francisco Giants.
And once again it came at the expense of the once unremarkable Josh Hader, who slammed a complete meltdown by allowing three home runs – including a walk-off Grand Slam to Mike Yastrzemsky.
San Francisco scored six in all in the final frame, an almost unimaginable total considering how good Haider has been until recently.
“It wasn’t a good night,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We just have to go to work and see what’s going on and try to help him fix it.”
box score: Giants 8, Brewers 5
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Joy Bart left to lead the ninth inning for the Giants, trailing 5-2. Haider recovered to fly Wilmar Flores towards center, but Darin Roof chased down with a homer to the left-center to make it 5-4.
Counting down Wednesday’s loss in Minnesota, Haider allowed three homers to four batsmen at that time.
Austin Slater chased Roof and then stole second – despite being selected first, Rowdy Tellez threw a high – Haider responded by drilling Yermin Mercedes with a pitch after advancing on the count, 1- 2.
A perfectly placed bloop single to short right by Thyro Estrada loaded the bases, then Yastrzemski completed the stunner by drilling a 96-mph first pitch in the center for the Grand Slam.
“When it comes down to it I just haven’t executed the pitches and have lost three of my last five,” said Haider, who pitched three of the Brewers’ last four matches. “Just battling over, overworking and not executing on the pitches that I needed to make.”
Haider, who entered the game with a 2.73 earned run average, went with a 0-4 record, 4.50 ERA and a second blown save.
The left-hander has already withdrawn from participating in the All-Star Game, so perhaps the break will serve as a mental reset for him.
Haider said that he is feeling fine physically and there is not a single pitch that he is particularly struggling with.
“Right now, I think it’s everything,” he said. “I feel like I’m trying to realize things I don’t need and I lost the aggression that I normally have. So, it’s just the little things. But I just have to move on and Have to bring it tomorrow.”
Counsel notes that it was the fastball that haunted Haider this time, with Bart and Yastrzemsky’s Homer coming up against him. Roof jumped on a change for his homer.
“They jumped on some fastballs, but I guess we’ll have to go to work and try to help him,” Counsel said. “Location is always something that’s obviously important. He keeps up with a great fastball. The hitters know a fastball is coming and it’s been impressive.
“We just have to look at it and straighten it out.”
How does Haider back down from this?
“Go over there and flush it,” said Haider. “This game is tough. It’s not an easy game to play, and you’re going to have your ups and downs. You just have to keep going.”
Starter Brandon Woodruff later sympathized with Haider.
“Look, in my opinion, he’s the closest in the game,” Woodruff said. “We’re not perfect. I wish I could go out and take out 10 guys in a game and put seven, eight zeros or throw a whole game. But that’s not the reality of the game.
“It’s a very, very tough sport, and he’s the best at what he does. Sometimes, it happens. But I’ll tell you the good thing about Josh is that he has the right fit for the job that close.” The mindset is there and he understands that role very well.
“He’s fine. I know he’s upset; anyone will. But he’s the perfect guy for that role, and he’ll be fine.”
Legendary left-hander Alex Wood was in complete control and the Brewers flipped the game within the fifth inning.
Change began with consecutive singles by Colten Wong and Jonathan Davis.
Christian Yelich cut a grounder to the right, ahead, which saw Lamonte Wade Jr.’s glove at first base, allowing Wong to score and manager Gabe Kapler pulled Wood on 84 pitches.
Bad move by giants.
Submarine Tyler Rogers took over and went to load the base with Willie Adams, then Andrew McCutcheon past a double to left field on a 0–2 count to put Milwaukee ahead for the first time.
Tellez, pinch hit, was hit from a pitch and Hunter Renfro hit an infield single out to reload the base. Luis Urias then earned an easy RBI from Rogers with a four-pitch walk, giving the Brewers a 5-2 lead.
“He made some mistakes and we had some luck, clearly,” Counsel said. “And then Kutch hit a big one. And then we had some good bats to take the next run. It was a good innings where you take advantage of a team giving you an extra out, then we did some really good Scored. – Bats together.”
The defense stepped behind Woodruff in the latter part of his outing, with a 5–3 double play launched by Urias and a forceful running catch by Renfro, which saw him run a mile to glove Bart Popup in the wrong field. Saw it happen
Counsel pulled his pitch count on Woodruff at that time with a career-high 112. Hobby Milner needed only two pitches and a good running grab by Adams to finish the frame.
Woodruff made a career-high with five hits, two runs and five walks hitting a batsman. His four strikeouts were the lowest of his four starts since returning from the injured list.
Milner scored a seventh without a score and Jandel Gustav scored an eighth without a score.
It was tough sledging in the opening round against Wood, who earned a 6-7 record and 4.43 run average.
Yelich managed just one baserunner on an infield single of the bat broken by Wong over the next three innings after singles against the innings to open the game.
Command issues saw Woodruff fall behind 10 of the 17 batters he faced in the same period, Wade’s two-out, two-run triple to right-center gave the Giants the lead in second.
Woodruff also played a season-high four at-bats in the first three innings.
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This article was originally published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brewers ace close Josh Hader hits hard at damaging Giants