Wed. Final: Brewers 7, Nationals 5
By Todd Welter
Next game: Thursday, July 30 vs. Washington
It was a special night for Casey McGehee. First, his two-year old son Mack, who was recently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, threw out the first pitch of the game. Later, McGehee hit his first career pinch-hit home run.
While pinch-hit home runs are usually not that cherished, this one was for McGehee as his two-out, two-run shot in the sixth inning led the Brewers to a 7-5 victory over the Washington Nationals at Miller Park.
"Aside from obviously our team winning a game, as a father, that is a moment I am going to remember a long time," McGehee said.
"If you would have asked me a few years ago if I would ever be on a big league field, let alone be able to share it with my son in any way, shape, form or fashion, I would have thought I would be pretty lucky to have that happen."
It was the first pinch-hit home run of the season for the Brewers and helped snap a three-game losing streak.
"Hallelujah," Brewers manager Ken Macha commented. "Casey has come through with some big hits. He has come through in the clutch pretty good."
Who knew McGehee joining the Brewers last January would be such a major addition to the lineup? McGehee was a castoff of the Cubs' farm system and when he signed with the Brewers on Jan. 29, he was thought to be a long shot to make the roster. He easily made the team with a great spring training and has been one of the few pleasant surprises on an otherwise struggling team.
McGehee is hitting .316 with eight home runs and 33RBI's in 61 games this season. Not bad for a guy who could barely get off the bench in April and May.
When Rickie Weeks went down for the season on May 19 with a wrist injury, McGehee took full advantage of the sudden increase playing time. McGehee has 51 hits and 30RBI's since May 19 and has hit all eight of his home runs in his last 33 games including his first career grand slam on June 29-- which played a pivotal role in a rout of the New York Mets. To think, he was brought in just to compete for a spot on the bench.
"The prospect of him making the team was marginal," Macha explained. "He's come here, really didn't play the first six weeks. [Now]he has been a force for us."
"What's he meant to the team? He's meant a whole lot. A lot big hits from him. So for a guy battling for position in spring training, he has done extremely well."
McGehee's recent big hit meant a lot to a team that is going through some rough times. The Crew (50-51) has gone 8-16 this month, 20-31 since June 1, have dropped all the way down to fourth place in the NL Central and are now a game below .500. While the Brewers are not exactly out of this funk, they at least had one night where the pitching did not get lit up excessively and the bats produced.
Mike Cameron hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and went 3-for-3 while Corey Hart went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs to lead the Brewers back from a four-run deficit.
Ryan Braun drove in a run with a triple in the third inning that was originally ruled a home run but was overturned by instant replay to start the comeback. Braun later scored on a wild pitch.
Manny Parra struggled with his command in the game's early goings which put the Brewers in that early hole. Parra was shaky from the start as he had five walks in the first three innings and gave up four runs during that stretch. He gave up three of those runs in second with two coming on bases loaded walks.
"That is the frustrating thing about pitching, you can't control everything," Parra felt. "I got to get better at the number of walks and pitches."
Despite the command issues, Parra (5-8) picked up his fifth win of the season. Parra ate up six innings, allowed five runs, nine hits and struck out seven.
Todd Coffey pitched two scoreless innings in relief to protect the Crew's lead. Hoffman picked up his 23rd save of the season as he was spotted with a two-run cushion in the ninth thanks to Hart scoring his second run in the eighth.
Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard (1-1) took the loss as he served up the home run ball to McGehee that ended up snapping Washington's (32-69) four-game win streak.