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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Brewers Down White Sox 3-1

Brewers pitchers put together a solid day on the mound today in a Cactus League victory over the White Sox. The Brewers struck first in the top of the third when Rickie Weeks batted home catcher Wil Nieves after he singled and stole second.

Ron Roenicke has already delivered on his pledge to  emphasize the running game. Several players went from first to third on Monday and the Giants later recorded the final out on a caught-stealing. Today the catcher of all players stole second and scored on a base hit, and minor leaguer Hunter Morris got caught in a pickle between third and home when Eric Ferris missed the sign for the suicide squeeze. There are bound to be some mishaps when a team that hardly ran at all the past two seasons is encouraged to run at every opportunity. There's still plenty of time to practice before the games count.

Zack Greinke led the Brewers pitching staff by giving up no runs, despite loading the bases in the first. He ended the first with a strikeout but failed to finish the second, throwing 39 pitches (1H, 2K, 3BB, 1.1IP). His early exit gave 2010 draft pick Donovan Hand his first appearance with the club. Greinke, a true competitor, threw two consecutive curveballs to escape the first inning rather than strictly sticking with the fastball and changeup as Shaun Marcum had a day earlier. He told reporters that his wildness was due to missing up with his fastball but the ball felt good leaving his hand and he reached decent velocity. Overall he said he was pleased with his first outing.

Chris Narveson pitched two innings of one-hit ball with 2 strikeouts, followed by a clean fifth by Kameron Loe (1BB). Zack Braddock loaded the bases in the sixth but ended the inning with a fly ball to centerfield.

Mark DiFelice completed his season-plus comeback from Tommy John surgery by throwing a 1-2-3 seventh including a strikeout. Justin James and Marco Estrada pitched an inning each, the lone White Sox run coming against Estrada in the ninth.

One additional highlight came from Carlos Gomez, who robbed an extra base hit with a leaping catch at the wall.

In other news, Brewers infielder Craig Counsell voiced his support for unions today in light of recent events in Madison.

Takashi Saito, initially scheduled to pitch tomorrow vs the Cubs said today that he would hold off until Saturday after feeling tightness in his hamstring and hip. Good call, given his age (41) and recent history. He blamed last year's shoulder injury to overthrowing after hurting his hamstring.

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