DETROIT — Derek Hill hit a leadoff RBI double in the 11th inning, giving the Detroit Tigers a 1-0 win over Milwaukee on Tuesday night and snapping the Brewers’ five-game win streak.
After the game, Hill had to try to explain to his teammates why he had slid into second base as Victor Reyes was trotting home with the winning run.
“It was just instinct,” Hill said. “I’m trying to give the guys in the clubhouse a better story, but I forgot the game was over and kept going.”
The Brewers loaded the bases with one out against Bryan Garcia (2-1) in the 11th before Christian Yelich grounded into an inning-ending double play.
“We weren’t very good offensively,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after his team finished with four singles in 11 innings.
In the bottom of the inning, Hill fell behind 0-2 while trying to bunt Victor Reyes to third, then lined Hunter Strickland’s next pitch into right-center for the winning hit.
“I told Derek that if he didn’t get the bunt down, he should swing away with two strikes,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “We just needed to find a way to get a run.”
The Tigers had a good chance in the ninth inning. Brewers closer Josh Hader walked Jonathan Schoop, Robbie Grossman and Miguel Cabrera to load the bases with one out, and then struck out Jeimer Candelario and Eric Haase to force extra innings.
“That’s why Josh is a great pitcher,” Counsell said. “He didn’t have his best stuff and he got into trouble, but he fixed things and put up a zero when we needed one.”
The game started as a pitching duel between Wily Peralta and Freddy Peralta. They each put up six scoreless innings in less than 90 minutes. Detroit’s Alex Lange was coming out of the bullpen to pitch the seventh when the game was stopped for 1 hour, 49 minutes due to rain.
The delay lasted significantly longer than the rain, both because the mound in the Tigers bullpen had sustained water damage and due to significant amounts of lightning in the area.
“There was another area of unstable weather before the first line, so they wanted to see what happened with that,” Hinch said. “Luckily, it went away from the park.”
While both Peraltas have played large portions of their careers for the Brewers, this was the first time they appeared in the same game. Wily left the Brewers after the 2017 season, while Freddy joined them in 2018. Wily faced the Brewers once in 2018 while pitching for the Royals, but Freddy didn’t pitch.
The Brewers had runners in scoring position in the second, third and fourth innings, but couldn’t get another hit.
“Wily’s command was really good and he had his split working,” Hinch said. “We know he’s capable of doing that.”
Jeimer Candelario led off the fifth with Detroit’s first hit — a bloop single to left — but Eric Haase grounded into a double play.
The Tigers had runners on first and second in the sixth, but Grossman popped up a 3-0 pitch to end the inning moments before the rain started.
Neither team threatened in the first two innings after the delay, leaving the game scoreless going to the ninth. Soto pitched a perfect top of the inning.
After Detroit failed to score in the ninth, the teams stranded runners on third in the 10th.
Brewers right fielder Avisail Garcia left the game after the top of the sixth inning with lower back spasms.
With schools back in session, the Tigers have moved to 6:40 p.m. Eastern starts on weekday nights, instead of the usual 7:10. The plan is to make it easier for kids to attend games on school nights.
The teams will finish their two-game series on Wednesday afternoon, with Detroit rookie Matt Manning (3-6, 6.14) facing Brandon Woodruff (9-8, 2.48).
Smashing success: Brewers keep setting franchise records — and they're not done yet
Victories in a season
Record: 96 (2018, 2011)
No team in franchise history has ever won 100 games in a season but the Brewers are on pace to hit that mark this season which would also give the 2021 team the franchise record for best single-season winning percentage, topping the mark of .593 set in 2011.
Road winning percentage
Record: .588 (1982)
Again, this record is almost certain to fall. The Brewers go into their five-game interleague road trip with a .657 road winning percentage in 2021 and would need to go 1-11 in their remaining road contests to finish behind the '82 squad.
Earned Runs Allowed / Earned Run Average
Record: 532/3.36 (1971)
Technically, the 2020 Brewers hold the record for fewest earned runs allowed in a season with 239, but that came during a 60-game season so we're not counting it here. Same with the second-place 1981 team, which held opponents to 428 earned runs in a strike-shortened 109-game season.
The fewest earned runs allowed in a full regular season was 532, set in 1971. Heading into their off-day Monday, the 2021 Brewers were tied with the 1971 team for the best staff ERA in franchise history.
Through 144 games, the Brewers have allowed an average of 3.33 runs per game. If they keep that pace, they'll finish with with 540 but with a couple more performances like this past weekend and the 2021 squad could move into the top spot.
That, in turn, would help the current team's chances of catching the 1971 Brewers record for best full-season ERA.
The Brewers are also in position to break the franchise record for fewest hits allowed in a season (1,259 in 2018) and most strikeouts (1,497 in 2019). Milwaukee's pitchers have allowed 1,017 hits while striking out 1,439 batters so far this season.
Individual pitching records
The Brewers' pitching staff is also on the verge of shattering several individual records this season.
After holding Cleveland scoreless over eight no-hit innings Saturday, Corbin Burnes' ERA dropped to 2.25 for the season, good for second in the National League behind the Dodgers' Max Scherzer and within striking distance of Mike Caldwell's 2.36 ERA in 1978 that stands as the best ever by a Brewers starter.
Brandon Woodruff is also in the mix for both the NL lead and the Brewers' all-time record. He brings a 2.48 ERA into his scheduled start Tuesday at Detroit.