The Brewers ended their opening day series in tough fought battle ending 5-4. Fans remained excited till the last out as JJ Hardy lead off the bottom of the 9th with a solo shot. The rally caps were on, but LA finished them off. Read more about it here from Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel.
Suppan solid in his debut but bats squander chances
By TOM HAUDRICOURTthaudricourt@journalsentinel.com
Posted: April 4, 2007
Jeff Suppan did what he does best Wednesday night, doing what it takes to give his team a chance to win. In fact, the Milwaukee Brewers had several chances to win.
"Just one more hit," said leftfielder Geoff Jenkins. "That's what you always say when you lose by one."
It was difficult to dismiss those opportunities when Suppan's debut with the Brewers was spoiled by a 5-4 defeat at Miller Park that allowed the Los Angeles Dodgers to avoid a season-opening three-game sweep. Though the Brewers hit into some tough outs, they also failed to execute when the game was there for the taking.
"You're not going to be 100% getting those runs in," said manager Ned Yost. "But you sure want to be able to take advantage of them, especially in tight ballgames like today. They mean the difference between winning and losing."
Suppan kept the game close by escaping tight spots in the early going and limiting the damage in what could have been a disastrous third inning. He later got some help from his defense, such as third baseman Craig Counsell's rally-killing unassisted double play in the seventh.
When all was said and done, Suppan had limited the Dodgers to two runs in seven innings. He departed with his team behind, 2-1, but very much in the game.
"I thought as the game went on, my command got better," said Suppan, who raised expectations for both himself and the team by signing a four-year, $42 million free-agent deal over the winter.
"I was excited to get out there for the first time. Unfortunately, we lost but it was a hard-fought ballgame."
Los Angeles starter Jason Schmidt also made big pitches when necessary. His real test came in the fifth, when a sudden lapse in command resulted in three two-out walks, the first drawn by Suppan.
Schmidt escaped when Prince Fielder took a mighty swing at a 1-0 offering and popped out. A parade of relievers then presented the Brewers with opportunities to win the game.
And the Brewers might have done just that if not for a horrible relief appearance by Carlos Villanueva in the top of the eighth. A former starter getting a shot in the bullpen, Villanueva walked all three batters he faced before Yost came out with the hook.
Each walk came around to score as pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz greeted reliever Elmer Dessens with a two-run double and Matt Kemp later tacked on a sacrifice fly. Rather than send Villanueva to Class AAA Nashville to make regular starts, the decision was made to keep him in the bullpen, which certainly didn't work the first time out.
Villanueva, who normally pitches with reliable command, refused to blame the pratfall on his bullpen assignment.
"I shied away from contact a little bit," he said. "I need to get ahead (in the count) and be more aggressive. (The role) is new, but it's a game of adjustments. I just hope I get another chance and show I can do it."
Even with that three-run gift to the Dodgers, the Brewers could have won the game. A one-out triple by Rickie Weeks was wasted in the seventh when Los Angeles brought in its infield and J.J. Hardy hit a smash right to shortstop Ramon Martinez, who easily nabbed Weeks at the plate.
Craig Counsell's two-run double in the eighth cut the Dodgers' lead to 5-3 and left runners on second and third with one down, but Takashi Saito got pinch-hitter Gabe Gross to pop out before Weeks lined deep to center. The Brewers were back in business when Hardy ripped a lead-off homer in the ninth and Fielder followed with a double.
But Bill Hall, who was picked off first base in the sixth to render meaningless Jenkins' two-out double, struck out instead of getting Fielder over. Johnny Estrada followed with a fly to center that would have delivered the tying run from third.
"If we get him over there, you know Johnny's going to get him in and tie the ball game," said Yost. "That was another missed opportunity."