Meadville Tribune

Sports

April 20, 2014

Brewers win in 14th after early brawl with Pirates

PITTSBURGH — Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.

Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez, Pirates outfielder Travis Snider and Milwaukee bench coach Jerry Narron were ejected after a shouting match quickly escalated into a punch-filled brawl in the third.

“I’m not apologetic for anything that I did today,” Gomez said. “I was just doing my job.”

The problems started when Gomez paused at the plate and flipped his bat to watch his two-out drive off Pirates starter Gerrit Cole.

Gomez said he thought the ball would be caught. Instead, it hit the wall and he sped into third base, making a headfirst slide for a triple.

Cole, who was near third base backing up the play, stormed toward Gomez and they exchanged words.

Cole said he told Gomez: “If you’re going to hit it out of the ballpark, then you can stop and look at it. But it you’re going to hit just a fly ball to center field, then don’t stand and look at it.”’

That didn’t sit well with Gomez. He took a couple steps toward Cole and the benches and bullpens emptied.

“Everything had stopped,” Gomez said. “He told me something, I told him back, then I talked to the umpire. Then Snider came like a superhero, trying to throw punches at everybody. I just tried to protect myself.”

Milwaukee’s Martin Maldonado came from the dugout and threw a punch that knocked off Snider’s hat.

“We’re a family,” said Maldonado, who expects to be suspended. “I see two guys over Gomez, so I tried to protect him.”

Snider, who wasn’t in the game, and Gomez shoved each other, and the Brewers star fell to the ground.

Pirates catcher Russell Martin called Maldonado’s swing a “sucker punch” and had to be restrained by teammate Gaby Sanchez as he walked off the field.

Last September, Gomez was in the middle of the bench-clearing brawl after arguing with Atlanta pitcher Paul Maholm while rounding the bases after homering.

Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said he fears Gomez could develop a reputation as a guy who starts conflicts. But he said he found little fault in the way Gomez initially handled Cole’s challenge.

“(Cole is) the one that started it all,” Roenicke said. “If you start it, we’re going to respond. Gomey’s not going to sit there and not say anything.”

Gomez said he planned to appeal any suspension.

The Brewers won their third in a row. Pittsburgh has lost three in a row and five of six.

Davis hit his first homer, connecting for a leadoff shot against Jeanmar Gomez (0-1).

“It was pretty hard to see with the shadow,” Davis said.

Zach Duke (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings and Francisco Rodriguez got his seventh save.

Cole allowed one run and six hits in a career-high eight innings, striking out six.

Cole appeared to be in line for the win after Jose Tabata’s eighth-inning infield single scored Ike Davis to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead. Roenicke challenged the call, but the play was upheld.

Braun hit his sixth homer with one out in the ninth, giving Pittsburgh closer Jason Grilli his second blown save in as many games.

Mark Reynolds hit his fifth home run, a solo drive in the Milwaukee seventh.

Neil Walker homered for the Pirates in the fourth off Marco Estrada.

Notes: C Chris Stewart went 1-for-6 in his Pirates debut. He missed the start of the season after undergoing arthroscopic right knee surgery last month. ... RHP Wily Peralta (2-0, 1.96) is scheduled to pitch for the Brewers tonight at home against the San Diego Padres. ... LHP Francisco Liriano (0-3, 3.96) is scheduled to pitch for the Pirates tonight at home against the Cincinnati Reds.

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