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Brew Crew runs streak to five thanks to rookie

June 25, 2010

MILWAUKEE — It was a dream come true for Jonathan Lucroy.

After belting his first career home run with a three-run shot in the fourth and a subsequent curtain call, the Brewers rookie catcher will never forget Friday night’s 8-3 victory against Seattle.

Entering the series opener against the Mariners, Lucroy had just one extra-base hit and zero RBIs in his Major League career. Following his performance Friday, he now has three of each.

“It was amazing,” Lucroy said of the curtain call. “I don’t know what happened, but somebody kind of pushed me up there. It was all kind of a blur after I crossed home plate.

“As soon as I did it, [Carlos Gomez] hit a home run and I was like, ‘Man, that’s what I’m talking about.’ I wanted to beat that team tonight.”

Lucroy’s home run to the Brewers bullpen in left-center came on a 1-2 fastball from Mariners lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith.

Two pitches later, Rowland-Smith (1-7) missed with a 1-0 changeup, which Gomez belted to left to put the Brewers on top, 4-3, in the fourth.

“The first time, I was just trying to get it up and in and I left it out over the plate,” Rowland-Smith said. “Gomez I think was sitting [changeup], and I threw a changeup for a strike. That’s two pitches that really cost me, obviously.”

Lucroy and Gomez quickly turned around a game that looked like it was headed for a Brewers loss, and right-handed starter Dave Bush. Over six innings, Bush (3-5) allowed three runs — two earned — on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

Once he had the lead, Bush faced just 10 batters over the final three innings of his outing, giving up a pair of singles.

Both times, however, the Mariners who hit safely were thrown out.

First, leading off the fourth, shortstop Jack Wilson was thrown out by left fielder Ryan Braun as he looked to stretch a single into a double. An inning later, Bush got Franklin Gutierrez to bounce a ball to third baseman Casey McGehee, who threw out Chone Figgins as he tried to score from third.

While there was only one out in the inning, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu felt it was a crucial opportunity for the club to score a run.

“You try to force that fourth run across,” Wakamatsu said. “We haven’t done a very good job of scoring runners, so you take your opportunity there. The thing we talk about is just not hitting the ground ball to third base anytime you’ve got a runner on third base, and we did it.”

Following that out, Bush retired the final four batters he faced, putting himself in line to grab his third win of the season and his second straight.

For Bush, who was pitching on nine days’ rest instead of his usual four, the key was overcoming some early struggles that could be attributed to the long layoff.

“I was a little bit rusty in the first couple innings, I was just trying to find a rhythm,” Bush said. “After that I settled in and I was able to get my fastball back down. In the first couple innings I was up in the zone a lot.

“It was a bit of a challenge to have that much time off, but that’s what I’m faced with right now, so I’ve got to be ready for it and do the best I can.”

Bush’s start was the ninth quality start by a Brewers starter in the club’s last 13 games. Over that stretch, Milwaukee has a 3.02 ERA, giving up 28 earned runs over 83 1/3 innings pitched.

Brewers starters have gone 7-4 during that stretch while the club has posted an 8-5 mark, including a current season-high five-game winning streak.

“It’s been good for everyone,” Bush said. “Overall, we’ve played a lot better lately. … We’ve just been playing better baseball all around. We’ve hit better, we’ve pitched better, we’ve played better defense.

“It lightens the mood all the way around inside here. Guys are more excited about being here, because we’re playing better. We’re playing closer to our potential.”

Even with the winning streak, the story of the night was the performance by Lucroy.

After the home run in the fourth, Lucroy added a walk, a double and a run scored in his final two at-bats, to finish 2-for-3 on the night with a homer, double and three RBIs.

“It’ll be something I’ll always remember,” Lucroy said. “It’s something you work for your whole life. For me, it was since I was 12, being a catcher.

“For something like that to happen in a situation like that, I think for me it’s pretty euphoric and unbelievable.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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