Baseball / Sports

Miami Marlins' Derek Dietrich tries to tags out Milwaukee Brewwers' Carlos Gomez in second base during the first inning at Marlins Stadium on Sunday, May 25 , 2014, in Miami. (Hector Gabino/El Nuevo Herald/MCT)

Brewers stop Marlins 7-1

MIAMI -- The Milwaukee Brewers ended one of those "woulda, coulda, shoulda" road trips on an encouraging note Sunday.

With right-hander Jimmy Nelson pitching 52/3 innings of shutout ball filling in for injured Yovani Gallardo and the offense scoring early and often, the Brewers rolled to a 7-1 victory over the Marlins at Marlins Park.

The victory left the Brewers with a 4-6 record on their longest trip of the season. They gave away a game in Atlanta with a bullpen snafu and another Saturday here with a base-running mistake, but those frustrating losses stayed in the rear-view mirror in the finale against the Marlins.

Ryan Braun led a 14-hit attack with his first four-hit game of the season, falling a home run short of the cycle.

"I thought everybody contributed, which is great," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "Offensively, we did a real nice job.

"You lose today, and it turns into a really bad road trip. With the pitching that we have and with signs of offense going in the right direction, I think it's good."

Summoned from Class AAA Nashville to make one start, Nelson took advantage of the opportunity by keeping the Marlins off the board during his one-day showcase. He allowed five hits and three walks while logging six strikeouts, but had enough command issues to build his pitch count to 107 before departing.

"He's got really good stuff," said Roenicke. "He let a lot of balls get away from him today, but he made some great pitches when he needed to and threw some great sliders when he needed to get outs.

"It's going to be a matter with him of trying to command the ball and not letting so many balls get up and away from him. But his fastball is outstanding, and his slider is a really good slider. This guy's got good stuff and he battles and he wants to be out there. He's got a lot of good things going for him."

Sweating profusely, Nelson lost the grip on the ball at times but made big pitches when it counted. His moment of truth came in the fifth inning, when the Marlins loaded the bases with one out, only to have Nelson strike out Derek Dietrich and pop up Giancarlo Stanton, who whiffed on sliders in his first two at-bats.

"I battled myself mechanically all day," said Nelson. "I didn't have my best stuff, but the guys did a great job of picking me up by scoring those five runs the first couple of innings.

"They kept confidence in me when there were runners on. They did a good job of helping me settle in and give us a chance to win. Those first couple of innings, I just had to calm my nerves and try to execute pitches. I didn't make the correction mechanically soon enough, in my opinion, but I thought I did an all right job of battling."

Nelson had a big early cushion as the Brewers roughed up former teammate Randy Wolf with three runs in the first inning, two in the second and one in the third. Braun and Jonathan Lucroy smacked back-to-back doubles in the first, and Carlos Gomez added an RBI single.

Braun tripled in a run in the second and scored on yet another double by Lucroy, who later tripled.

An all-right-handed lineup had a great opposite-field approach all day. Braun's triple and double went to right field, as did two of Lucroy's three extra-base hits. Khris Davis, who has been locking in his swing of late, boomed two doubles to right.

The Brewers knew Wolf's tendency is to pitch away, and to their credit they did not try to pull those pitches and roll over on them.

"When you get pitched away, you've got to go that way," said Lucroy. "You get in trouble when you try to pull balls that are away. The guys put some really good at-bats together and had some big hits in big situations."

Despite the offensive frustrations in a 2-1 loss Saturday, the Brewers have some hitters swinging the bat well and believe they are on the verge of something good. Pitching has carried the team all year, and it's time for the offense to show more consistency.

"Overall, we're a lot better (offensively) than we've been to this point," said Braun, who was moving better and said he felt better after dealing with an oblique issue.

"But you look around the game and offense in its entirety is down pretty significantly across baseball. Once the weather warms up, it seems like the guys really start to swing the bats better.

"Historically, especially at home, we've always been a lot better when it starts to warm up. When we get home, the weather should be decent, so hopefully we continue to swing the bats well."

(c)2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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