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Brewers notes, 9/14

September 14, 2011

Weird happenings on Tuesday the 13th

MILWAUKEE — Blame the smoke.

With the roof closed Tuesday night due to cool temperatures and hazy conditions — caused by smoke from wildfires in northern Minnesota — there were a number of unusual plays at Miller Park in the Brewers’ 2-1 win over the Rockies in 11 innings.

Things started to get interesting in the third inning, when the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki popped a ball up off Brewers starter Zack Greinke that was headed for foul territory before striking one of the roof cables.

“I don’t remember that ever happening before, ever,” left fielder Ryan Braun said. “I’d never seen that before. It was a weird game. All the way around.”

After hitting the cable, the ball was redirected toward Braun, who made an unsuccessful attempt to catch the ball. Home-plate umpire Tim McClelland ruled the ball hit the cable in foul territory, and was therefore foul. Tulowitzki would eventually strike out.

To end the third inning, Greinke threw a pitch that bounced away from catcher Jonathan Lucroy in front of home plate. Greinke made an impressive play on the ball, flipping it from his glove to Lucroy for the out at the plate as Mark Ellis tried to score from third.

The play was a combination of great communication and reaction by Greinke and Lucroy after the right-hander spiked a pitch in the dirt.

“I turned around and saw Zack running toward home plate,” Lucroy said. “He was yelling, ‘Stay there! Stay there!’ I saw him flip me the ball and I just ‘double kneed’ the plate. I caught it and dropped both knees to the plate.”

Braun also misplayed a ball in the fourth inning, first running in before chasing a ball over his head that turned into an RBI double. It was just one of a number of defensive miscues by the Brewers on the night, including a pair of throwing errors.

In the fifth, it looked as if the Brewers might put together a two-out rally when Nyjer Morgan reached first base on a dropped third strike, as the throw from Wilin Rosario hit him and got away. But the call from McClelland was that Morgan was out of the runner’s box along the first-base line, resulting in the inning-ending out.

Closer John Axford got in on the act in the 10th, as he did not field a slow ground ball between the mound and first base. That forced first baseman Prince Fielder to scoop it up and quickly step on the bag to get Carlos Gonzalez by half a step.

Replays showed Gonzalez may have beaten Fielder to first base.

“I honestly, for a second, thought it maybe hit his foot. But I went after the ball, and then I thought I heard somebody yell ‘Foul,’ ” Axford said. “So I just kind of pulled up, I looked at Prince and Prince kind of looked at me with a shock like, ‘Ahhh.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ And I looked over and saw him running down the line, and was like, ‘Oh, no.’ ”

Green, Fiers win Brewers’ top Minors Awards

MILWAUKEE — Taylor Green on Wednesday became the first player to win the Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year honor for a second time, and right-hander Mike Fiers was the organization’s no-doubt Pitcher of the Year.

Both players were honored with the Robin Yount Performance Awards, given annually to the top player and pitcher in the organization’s Minor League chain. They will be honored on the field Sept. 24 at Miller Park before the Brewers’ game against the Marlins.

“I just found out yesterday. I thought it was pretty cool,” Green said. “It’s obviously a huge honor. It’s nice to win it twice. I’m more happy to be up here, though, and try and contribute, but it’s a great honor and I’m very, very happy about it.”

Green, who also won the Yount Award in 2007 as a 20-year-old, batted .336 with 22 home runs and 88 RBIs in 120 games at Triple-A Nashville, re-establishing himself as a prospect after 2008 and 2009 seasons marred by a wrist injury.

Since being called up in late August, Green batted .333 in 11 games entering Wednesday, collecting eight hits in 24 at-bats, including three doubles with one RBI.

Fiers went 13-3 with a 1.86 ERA between Double-A Huntsville and Nashville, and was at his best at the higher level. In two relief appearances and 10 starts with the Sounds, he was 8-0 with a 1.11 ERA.

“It’s a great honor. It shows that someone’s watching and someone puts value in you,” Fiers said. “I’m not going to lie to you, I check the stats. I thought I had a great year. I feel like I deserved it this year and I worked hard for it.”

“It’s a great award, but this is the ultimate goal, to get here and do well here,” said Fiers, 26, who made his Major League debut on Wednesday night, striking out two Rockies and allowing two hits in the ninth inning. “I’d rather be doing that here, winning Pitcher of the Year in the Major Leagues instead of the Minors. But it’s a good stepping stone.”

The Brewers began naming Minor League players and pitchers of the year in 1999.

Green, 24, is the first prospect to be honored with the player honor twice, though Ben Hendrickson was a two-time Pitcher of the Year in 2002 and 2004.

“It’s just as awesome winning it this time as the first time,” Green said. “Being up here is even better. The first time was just proving yourself a little bit and this time is just kind of like, ‘OK, yeah, I know I can still do it.’ So that’s always a good feeling to have.”

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