July 31st, 2012
On Monday my friend Jens joined me for the game. We’ve been friends since middle school and I stood up in his wedding last September. This is a picture from that day, good times.
Jens works in Madison and I met him in Johnson Creek at 4:45. We were parked by 5:40 and we had a few Miller Lites in the parking lot before heading inside at 6:30. We went up to section 201 for the final game number picture in the loge level. Only 27 home games remain!
We walked back towards our seats in section 221 but made a pit stop at the “Cactus League Nachos” stand located behind section 215 and we each got some glorious nachos. Jens also bought me (and himself) an MGD from the Ice Man, and we stood in front of the press box eating our nachos as to not get nacho ingredients all over ourselves.
The Astros struck right away and got a run in the top of the first when Pearce hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield. In the third inning Jose Altuve delivered a sacrifice fly as well and the Astros had a 2-0 lead. Marco Estrada was on the hill for the Crew and I always thought it was strange the way he gets set after getting the sign from the catcher. While in the stretch he’ll lean in to get the sign then squat down as he’s collecting himself on the mound, see for yourself. You’ve got to do what’s comfortable, and if this works for him, then so be it.
In the top of the seventh Tyler Moore led off the inning with a solo home run and the lead grew to 3-0. Bud Norris got the start for the Astros and was shutting the Brewers offense down. Through the first six innings the Brewers had two infield singles but both were questionable scorer’s decisions and could’ve easily been ruled errors. In the bottom of the seventh Lucroy drew a lead-off walk and Nyjer Morgan drove him in with a 2-run home run to right field. Later in the inning Aoki singled home Izturis and Ramirez followed suit, driving in Aoki on a soft fly ball to left that fell for a base hit. The four runs in the 7th inning put the Brewers in front, giving them a 4-3 lead.
In the top of the 8th the Astros wasted no time tying it up, and the third batter doubled to drive in Altuve. In the bottom of the 8th the Brewers had runners at the corners and nobody out when Izturis stepped to the plate. He swung away and dribbled one fair that rolled down the first base line. It basically turned into a squeeze play and Lucroy scored easily. On top of that there was no play on Izturis at first, it was a perfectly executed swinging-bunt squeeze play that he couldn’t have done any better if he had been trying to.
The Brewers took a 5-4 lead but they weren’t done yet. The next batter was Cody Ransom and he launched the second pitch he saw into the Brewers bullpen for a 3-run home run. I don’t think the progression needs explaining, but it goes clockwise from top left:
The Brewers had a 8-4 lead but with the way things had been going lately it felt like a one run lead. Livan Hernandez had pitched the 8th and came out for the 9th but gave up a run within the first three batters (single, sac bunt, double). He was pulled for Kameron Loe who the Astros have a scouting report for (as does every team for every pitcher).
The player pictured is Justin Maxwell and after Jose Altuve walked he doubled off Loe to cut the lead to two runs. Maxwell also put the tying run (himself) at second base. Axford replaced Loe and gave up a sacrifice fly that was caught on the warning track. J.D. Martinez came to the plate with the tying run at third base and two outs. He hit one to the hole between 3rd and short but Cesar Izturis made a diving stop, got to his feet and threw a one-hopper to Corey Hart who made a nice scoop. The ump called him out and the game was over. Final Score: Brewers 8 – Astros 7.
Watching it live and from my seat location I thought he was safe, and so did Astros manager Brad Mills, who ran out for the 4th time (I think) to argue a call on the field. After seeing the replay when I got home (and getting hounded on Twitter that he actually was out) I see that the right call was made. It was really close and it was a lot closer than the “half a step” like some people said. It may have reached Corey’s glove when the runner was a half step away but he really didn’t have control until *just* before Martinez’s foot hit the bag. It was a great job by the umpire, and if it weren’t for his call I might still be at Miller Park. I paused the video when I believe Hart had control of the ball and took a screen shot. If you watch the clip you’ll notice that the ball entered his glove before this point but my screen shot below is when I think he had control of the ball, giving him the opportunity to record an out. They slow it down at the 50 second mark if you don’t feel like watching the first part of the replay.
A few more pictures from Monday:
Jens had brought sunflower seeds to the game and was very generous in sharing them. This is what the aisle looked like towards the end of the game. I think next time I’ll spit them into a cup to save the cleaning team some extra work. I know it’s their job but I still feel guilty because it feels like littering.
Another crazy linescore at a Brewers game (13 runs in the last 2.5 innings; eeeeeeeeesh):
After the 6th inning I had a lady a few rows in front of us take a picture of Jens and me. I’m sporting the Birrai shirt and hat that the Brewers wore on Italian Heritage Day earlier in the month.
It’s 2:30 AM and I should probably get to bed. I’m picking up my oldest sister (Eliza) from the airport tomorrow at 1:30 PM. I haven’t seen her since last June and I’m looking forward to spending the day with her and taking her to the game. She went to Graduate School for her MBA in Hong Kong and studied abroad her final semester in Melbourne, Australia. She has been living in Australia since graduating and is back for the Sykes (my mom’s side) family reunion this weekend, something that I unfortunately cannot attend.
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