Burnes Tosses Gem, Brewers Thump Diamondbacks after Big Seventh

Rowdy Tellez and Garrett Mitchell of the Brewers bump forearms to celebrate a Tellez homer against the Diamondbacks.
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Brewers 7, Diamondbacks 1

PHOENIX, Apr. 11 — Corbin Burnes scattered three hits over eight scoreless innings while his Milwaukee Brewers broke a scoreless tie with a five-run seventh en route to a 7–1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday night.

Burnes and Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly traded zeroes for the first six innings, although Burnes did so far more efficiently. Kelly took 18 pitches to get through the first despite only allowing one baserunner. Burnes responded with a 10-pitch 1–2–3 bottom of the first. Kelly took 16 pitches in a 1–2–3 second. Burnes took nine to do the same.

A similar pattern held throughout the first six innings. At the end of six, the Brewers had no hits and the Diamondbacks had one. This hit was a leadoff single to center in the bottom of the third by catcher Gabriel Moreno, who was erased by a subsequent double-play groundout by center fielder Alek Thomas.

Brewers Break Up No-no, Open Large Lead over Diamondbacks

Shortstop Willy Adames led off the seventh for the Brewers, breaking up the no-hitter and the shutout with a tall home run to dead center. This seemed to give Kelly what manager Torey Lovullo called a “natural letdown,” as he walked the next two hitters, first baseman Rowdy Tellez and right fielder Brian Anderson.

This ended Kelly’s day, with Lovullo bringing in Miguel Castro. Castro came into the game having allowed only two baserunners in 3 2/3 scoreless innings, both via the walk. That ended here, as center fielder Garrett Mitchell welcomed him with a single to right, loading the bases for catcher Victor Caratini. His bases-loaded walk plated Tellez and made the score 2–0. A foul fly and run-scoring ground ball from second baseman Brice Turang and left fielder Joey Wiemer made the score 3–0, and put runners on second and third with two outs for third baseman Mike Brosseau. His double to the left-field corner ran the Brewers’ lead to five and chased Castro from the game. Lefty Kyle Nelson retired designated hitter Christian Yelich, the ninth hitter of the inning.

Home runs by Tellez in the eighth off newly acquired Jose Ruiz and by Brosseau in the ninth off Carlos Vargas gave the Brewers a 7–0 advantage. The Diamondbacks scored a consolation run in the bottom of the ninth off Joel Payamps thanks to a walk by third baseman Josh Rojas, a fielder’s choice force out that allowed second baseman Ketel Marte to reach, and a single to right by first baseman Pavin Smith. The single plated Marte, who advanced to second on defensive indifference.

Postgame Reflections

Lovullo was blunt after the game and ready to prepare for the next one. “I don’t have a lot to say other than their starting pitcher was really good,” he shrugged. “(The team just has) to turn the page and spit it out. We play good baseball. I expect this team to do that. They’ve been very resilient, adaptable to any environment, and they’re gonna come out and give a great effort tomorrow. So that’s the focus that I have right now.

“Sometimes you run into this type of buzzsaw. There were some little things that we could have done a little better, but we don’t have to get into those. I’ve already cycled through this one and am moving on.”

Lovullo added that Kelly was “fantastic, going toe to toe with Burnes.” He concluded, “It was a good game, a really exciting game. Whoever blinked first getting sucker-punched, and we ended up being that team. But it was a good game, great pitchers’ duel for seven-plus innings. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out on the right side of it.”

More on Kelly

Lovullo said Kelly was not going to throw 125 pitches to try to get a no-hitter. The absolute cap at this point of the season was 105. “With everything we’ve been through,” Lovullo explained, “losing a starting pitcher already — that was not anything I was interested in.” Lovullo made it clear, however, that there were no thoughts of pulling Kelly going into the fateful seventh. “79 or 80 pitches after six, I felt like he was in total control of the game,” Lovullo said. He added that the walks after the home run were “a natural letdown,” as mentioned earlier.

Kelly was much better Tuesday than he had been in his first two starts of the season. Lovullo said Kelly was “getting some swing-and-miss with the breaking ball” and also with a change-up. “But the secondary stuff was landing,” Lovullo said. In addition, he said, the velocity on Kelly’s fastball was “trending upward.”

Quick Hits

Payamps allowed a run, only the third relief appearance all season where a Brewer did so. They now have 30 scoreless outings out of 33 relief appearances — an NL-best 90.9%. This is by far the best in the NL, over 10 percentage points ahead of the runner-up New York Mets. … Diamondbacks relievers, by comparison, are 11th in the NL. They have 22 scoreless outings out of 38 relief appearances — 57.9%. The NL average in recent years has always been in the very high 60s, and 2023 is no exception. Up to the end of play April 10, and including this game, the league average is 68.1%.

Brewers relievers Peter Strzelecki, Gus Varland, Matt Bush, Devin Williams, Hoby Milner, and Bryse Wilson all have yet to give up a run in 2023. … With Castro giving up two runs Tuesday, the only remaining Diamondbacks reliever who has yet to give up a run is Andrew Chafin.

Looking Ahead

The Diamondbacks (7–5) and Brewers (8–3) finish their three-game series Wednesday afternoon. Diamondbacks rookie Drey Jameson (2–0, 2.16 ERA) will make his first start of the season, facing Brewers righty Janson Junk (first 2023 appearance). First pitch will be at 12:40 pm Arizona Time.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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