Tampa Bay at Milwaukee

Scoreboard
Tampa Bay (40-34)000000100140
Milwaukee (41-34) «11000030x571

Greinke fans 10; Brewers top Rays, regain first place

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

MILWAUKEE -- - Zack Greinke gave the Brewers exactly the performance they needed after a sour stretch.

Greinke struck out 10 over seven effective innings and the Brewers got back to their winning ways at home with a 5-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night to reclaim first place in the NL Central.

"This is the game we needed from him. We talked about it, we needed Zack to have a big game, and he did," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I think any time you put a challenge to Zack, you're going to see a guy that wants the challenge."

Greinke (7-2) provided his best performance so far with the Brewers after Milwaukee had lost six of its previous eight.

"It's up there," Greinke said. "The last six or seven outings felt good just about every time."

More on Rays at Brewers
Related links
Fantasy videos

Updating MLB news | Follow on Twitter

Milwaukee is now a half-game ahead of the Cardinals, who will be without Albert Pujols for the next four-to-six weeks, but Greinke doesn't believe that'll mean much in the standings.

"Albert's probably the best player in baseball, but if any team could get over that, it's probably them," Greinke said.

Yuniesky Betancourt hit a home run in the second off rookie Jeremy Hellickson (7-6) and Ryan Braun hit a two-run single in the seventh that helped snap Tampa Bay's four-game winning streak.

"We have to do better. We walked way too many guys," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

The Brewers are 26-10 at Miller Park and rebounded from Monday's loss in the opener. They are the only major-league team not to lose back-to-back games at home this season.

The Brewers blew the game open in the seventh by getting to the Rays' bullpen. After Jonathan Lucroy singled and pinch-hitter Craig Counsell walked, reliever Adam Russell got Rickie Weeks to fly out before departing for J.P. Howell.

But Howell walked pinch-hitter Josh Wilson and Braun followed with his two-run single that extended his hitting streak to 13 games, matching a career high. Braun has been dealing with a respiratory infection, and said he still felt ill before the game.

"Braunie's hit, that changed the ballgame," Roenicke said. "He's feeling a lot better than he did yesterday, but he's still not feeling real good. I think the energy level was OK during the game, he was talking and there was some conversations, which when he's feeling really bad, he's not going to have those."

Prince Fielder followed with a run-scoring hit for his 63rd RBI to make it 5-1.

That was plenty for Greinke, who has been dominant at Miller Park. He's 5-0 with a 4.26 ERA and has 52 strikeouts against only two walks at home this season since being part of a six-player trade with Kansas City in December.

The 2009 AL Cy Young winner had come off a disappointing outing by allowing eight runs in a loss to the Cubs in Chicago on Thursday, but struck out at least a batter in every inning, including the side in the third.

"When he's got it going like that, he's a tough guy to face," B.J. Upton said.

The Rays managed two hits off Greinke until the seventh when Upton doubled with one out and Jaso followed with a single to cut Milwaukee's lead to 2-1. But Greinke got Reid Brignac to swing on a pitch that bounced in the dirt for his 10th strikeout and forced pinch-hitter Sam Fuld to line out to end the inning.

"This is a really good game for him," Roenicke said. "His stuff I thought was crisper, fastball was definitely better, just had more life on it in the zone."

Hellickson allowed only three hits in six innings, but received little support for the third straight outing and couldn't overcome his wild start.

The right-hander walked the bases loaded with one out in the first before Casey McGehee hit a sacrifice fly.

Hellickson then struck out Corey Hart to end the threat, but Betancourt took the second fastball he saw in the second inning over the left-center field wall to make it 2-0.

Notes

  • Greinke has reached at least 10 strikeouts in a game 12 times in his career.
  • Greinke is the 10th pitcher this season to strike out at least 10 batters without a walk.
  • Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey returned to the team Tuesday. He missed Monday's game because his house sustained significant fire damage in Florida.
  • The Brewers still haven't said whether RHP Shaun Marcum (hip) will make his scheduled start on Wednesday. The likely candidate to replace him would be RHP Marco Estrada.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Zack Greinke has his best performance to date with the Brewers by striking out 10 through seven strong innings. (AP)
Zack Greinke has his best performance to date with the Brewers by striking out 10 through seven strong innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
Milwaukee

Z. Greinke
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 0
K 10
Tampa Bay

J. Jaso
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

Related Video

December 17, 2014
Packers at Buccaneers Preview (2:48)
December 17, 2014
Fantasy Update: Doug Martin
(0:42)
December 16, 2014
Fantasy Update: Josh McCown
(0:38)
December 21, 2014
Rivers on overtime victory over 49ers
(0:48)
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Johnny Damon, LF4000021 .267
Ben Zobrist, 2B4000030 .264
Matt Joyce, RF2000110 .309
Evan Longoria, 3B4000002 .231
Casey Kotchman, 1B4010001 .339
B.J. Upton, CF4110022 .218
John Jaso, C4021001 .224
Reid Brignac, SS3000013 .177
Jeremy Hellickson, P2000021 .000
   a- Sam Fuld, PH1000001 .235
    Adam Russell, P0000000 .000
    J.P. Howell, P0000000 .000
    Cesar Ramos, P0000000 .000
    Andy Sonnanstine, P0000000 .000
Totals32141111  
a-grounded out for Hellickson in the 7th
Batting
2B - B.J. Upton (12, Greinke), John Jaso (8, Greinke)
RBI - John Jaso (16)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Zobrist-Kotchman
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeremy Hellickson (L,7-6) 6322431 3.09
Adam Russell 0.1122100 2.73
J.P. Howell0211100 9.35
Cesar Ramos 0.2000100 3.91
Andy Sonnanstine 1100000 5.88
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 105-60, Adam Russell 14-6, J.P. Howell 8-3, Cesar Ramos 8-3, Andy Sonnanstine 14-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hellickson 4-11, Cesar Ramos 2-0, Andy Sonnanstine 2-0
Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 25, Adam Russell 3, J.P. Howell 3, Cesar Ramos 3, Andy Sonnanstine 3
Milwaukee Brewers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Rickie Weeks, 2B4100115 .287
Nyjer Morgan, CF2000000 .336
   a- Josh Wilson, PH0100100 .241
    Carlos Gomez, CF0000000 .213
Ryan Braun, LF3012100 .310
Prince Fielder, 1B2011200 .303
Casey McGehee, 3B3001002 .229
Corey Hart, RF3000122 .265
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4111003 .229
    Kameron Loe, P0000000 .000
    John Axford, P0000000 .000
Jonathan Lucroy, C4130000 .275
Zack Greinke, P2010000 .222
   b- Craig Counsell, PH-SS1100101 .207
Totals2857573  
a-walked for Morgan in the 7th
b-walked for Greinke in the 7th
Batting
HR - Yuniesky Betancourt (4, Hellickson)
SF - Casey McGehee (4)
SH - Nyjer Morgan (6)
RBI - Ryan Braun 2 (53), Prince Fielder (63), Casey McGehee (32), Yuniesky Betancourt (25)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Prince Fielder (5, Misplayed grounder)
Milwaukee Brewers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Zack Greinke (W,7-2) 74110100 4.77
Kameron Loe 1000110 5.05
John Axford 1000000 2.70
HBP - Joyce (by Zack Greinke)
Pitches-Strikes - Zack Greinke 116-77, Kameron Loe 14-8, John Axford 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zack Greinke 9-3, John Axford 3-0
Batters Faced - Zack Greinke 27, Kameron Loe 4, John Axford 3
Game Information
Attendance - 40079
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Brian Knight, Second Base - Jerry Layne, Third Base - Bob Davidson