Home > Uncategorized > Gamel, Kottaras help Crew snap 4-game skid

Gamel, Kottaras help Crew snap 4-game skid

April 17, 2012

MILWAUKEE — It was just the kind of win the Brewers needed.

Coming in off a four-game losing streak, including a three-game sweep in Atlanta, the Crew needed a win to get back on the right track. With a two-run walk-off pinch-hit double in the ninth, George Kottaras delivered that victory, 5-4, over the Dodgers.

“It was a great ballgame,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “I was happy with the way we went about it.”

After Yovani Gallardo rolled through four innings — retiring 10 in a row at one point — the Dodgers put four runs across in the last five innings to set up a potential victory, which would have been their seventh straight and 10th overall. The dagger was a two-out, two-run homer by Andre Ethier to give the Dodgers their first lead of the night.

But the Brewers answered back with a thrilling two-run ninth to pick up their fifth win of the season.

After Corey Hart led off with a single, Carlos Gomez pinch ran and stole second base. A walk by Mat Gamel and a Jonathan Lucroy strikeout brought Kottaras to the plate. Kottaras crushed a 2-2 slider to the gap in right-center field, scoring Gomez easily from first.

Gamel was waved around and, with the help of an excellent slide, scored the winning run.

“Once I rounded third, man, I put my head down and dug as hard as I could,” Gamel said. “I looked in time to see [Travis] Ishikawa tell me to slide, so I just tried to get around it. Fortunately I did.”

That display of speed in scoring from first and sliding ability getting in under the tag by Ellis capped a big night for Gamel, got the Brewers on the board early with a 420-foot solo homer in the second inning. He’s now batting .282 with a home run and two RBI in his first year as the Brewers’ starting first baseman.

Kottaras’ double continued his torrid start. Despite batting just 12 times this season, the backup catcher is tied for the Brewers’ team lead in RBI with eight. Did that hot start help him Tuesday in such a big situation?

“You just kind of have to approach each one the same,” Kottaras said. “We just take pride in our at-bats. Go up there and have a good one and see what happens.”

The Brewers have gotten off to a slow start this season, due in large part to pitching, but the entire team has struggled at times in all facets — pitching, fielding, hitting, base-running. They still made a handle of mistakes Tuesday, including a pair by Rickie Weeks (one on the basepaths that may have cost a run, and one at second base that helped the Dodgers plate a run).

But for the most part, Tuesday was one of the better games this season the Brewers have played. Gallardo was strong, pitching seven innings while allowing two runs on seven hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. Weeks, Gamel and Cesar Izturis each picked up a pair of hits while the Crew collected nine total as a team. And while he went hitless, Aramis Ramirez hit the ball hard all night.

Plus, the Brewers executed yet another perfect suicide squeeze, with Norichika Aoki laying down a sacrifice bunt and picking up the first RBI of his MLB career as Gamel scored from third.

The night’s only real blemish was the one that nearly cost the Brewers the game: Ethier’s two-run blast off Francisco Rodriguez in the eighth. But that didn’t matter when Gamel and Kottaras picked him up in the ninth.

If they can consistently play like they did Tueday, the Brewers should have another strong season in 2012.

“Obviously, the last four games on the road trip didn’t go our way,” Gallardo said. “We’re here at home for nine games and we got it started on the right foot.”

That could be all it takes to spark a winning streak with a long homestand ahead.

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