MILWAUKEE – Fresh off another stellar outing, Mike Fiers first wanted to talk about a rough patch early in the game and offer credit to his defence.
“I think early on I was a little erratic around the strike zone and then I pulled it together later on,” said Fiers, who won his third consecutive start since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Aug. 9 as the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 Tuesday. “My defence came through. There were a lot of great plays.”
Fiers (3-1) was plenty spectacular himself, holding the Blue Jays to two hits and one run over seven innings. He retired the final 18 batters he faced in a 106-pitch outing.
After throwing 44 pitches through two innings, Fiers took control of the game.
“I wanted to be aggressive in the strike zone and make them swing the bat,” he said.
Fiers, who struck out six and walked one, left the field to a standing ovation, waving briefly to the sellout crowd.
“I feel like I can pitch this way and compete well at this level,” he said.
Jonathan Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez each had a pair of doubles for Milwaukee, which won its fifth consecutive game.
“I didn’t expect anything less the way he’s been pitching,” Lucroy said of Fiers’ performance. “He’s throwing strikes, working ahead, executing.”
Fiers has given up two runs over his three starts.
The Brewers jumped on Toronto starter J.A. Happ (8-8) immediately, belting three doubles to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
The Blue Jays, who have lost six of seven, got on the board in the second on Munenori Kawasaki’s RBI ground out.
The Brewers added two doubles in the third to extend their lead to 4-1. Milwaukee hitters connected for another pair of doubles in the fifth and added two more runs.
Happ lasted just 3 1-3 innings, giving up six hits and four runs. It marked his shortest start since going just 2 1-3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels on May 10.
The Brewers set a season high with seven doubles. The team single-game record is nine, accomplished four times. Lucroy’s two doubles brought his season total to 42.
“I got a couple mistakes up in the zone and I was able to take advantage,” Lucroy said.
No primary catcher has ever led his league in doubles for a season. Lucroy, who played first base in Tuesday’s game, has 35 doubles as a catcher, six as a first baseman and one as a designated hitter.
“Luc always has good at-bats,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said.
The major league record for doubles by a catcher in a season is 45 by the Rangers’ Ivan Rodriguez in 1996.
Brewers: RHP Jim Henderson, on the disabled list since May, had right shoulder surgery on Tuesday, ending his season. .RHP Matt Garza, on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain, could return to the rotation in early September, and RHP Kyle Lohse, who is nursing a sore ankle, won’t pitch during the five-game home stand, manager Ron Roenicke said.
Blue Jays: Edwin Encarnacion, who was activated on Friday after missing more than a month with a quad injury, started at first base. He started the previous three games at DH, not an option in the National League ballpark. “We need him,” manager John Gibbons said.
Brewers: Rookie Jimmy Nelson (2-3. 3.86 ERA) has five consecutive quality starts and has been counted on heavily with injuries to Garza and
Lohse. The Brewers are 4-3 in Nelson’s seven starts.
Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey (9-12. 3.95) will pitch the finale in the two-game series. Dickey’s nine losses on the road are tied for the most in the majors.