PHILADELPHIA (AP) — It was raining, the radar was all green, minus the small blobs of yellow and red, and Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell decided to gamble.
But lifting Brandon Woodruff for a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning backfired. The big inning never came, the heavy rain didn’t either, and the Philadelphia Phillies did just enough against the bullpen to win 4-3 Sunday.
Zach Eflin tied his career high with nine strikeouts over six innings and the Phillies snapped a four-game losing streak.
“Look, he was throwing the ball really good,” Counsell said of Woodruff, who had allowed one unearned run and one hit in four innings in his return from the minors. “It’s a big scoring opportunity, there’s a threat of rain, so we made a call to try to score runs that inning. It didn’t work. I would do it again.”
Rhys Hoskins drove in two runs, including a go-ahead sacrifice fly in a three-run fifth off reliever Dan Jennings (3-2) in the Phillies’ fourth win in 14 games.
“It was huge. We needed a (W) today,” said J.P. Crawford, who had two of the Phillies’ four hits.
Ryan Braun saved a run with a diving catch, doubled to spark a two-run fifth, and had an RBI single in the eighth for the Brewers, who had won two straight.
Eflin (3-2) had his second strong start after two subpar outings, allowing two runs and three hits with one walk.
“We played a good game today,” Eflin said. “I think that’s the biggest thing, being able to stop a team that’s picking on you a little bit.”
The Brewers were also done in by 14 strikeouts, shoddy defense and wasted chances.
Milwaukee left the tying run at third in each of the final two innings. Seranthony Dominguez got Jonathan Villar to ground out to the mound to end the eighth, and Christian Yelich grounded to second for the final out to give Tommy Hunter his first save.
A downpour in the bottom of the first tapered to a drizzle, but with 1 to 2 inches of rain in the forecast, it appeared both managers were preparing for a shortened game.
Gabe Kapler moved the Phillies’ infield in with a runner on third while up 1-0 in the fifth. Counsell then pinch-hit for Woodruff with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth.
Hernan Perez struck out before the Brewers took a 2-1 lead with the help of two hit batters, a bases-loaded walk to Yelich and Lorenzo Cain’s comebacker that glanced off Eflin.
Jennings then immediately got into trouble.
Third baseman Travis Shaw’s error led to two unearned runs. Woodruff’s own bad pickoff throw led to the Phillies’ first run in the first.
“We gave them their runs,” Counsell said.
The rain picked up in the seventh, but there were no stoppages and the Brewers’ offense was stymied after outscoring Philadelphia 24-7 in the first two games of the series.
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