MILWAUKEE — Last year, the Brewers couldn’t buy any early runs. Lately, even with a third of the lineup on the injured list, they’re swimming in them.
Avisaíl García’s broken-bat blooper was the first of the Brewers’ five consecutive two-out singles in a five-run first, giving Brett Anderson all the cushion he needed to cover seven innings of a 7-1 win over the Pirates at American Family Field.
It was a nice, early lift for a team that earlier Saturday added Christian Yelich (back) to an injured list that already included Kolten Wong (oblique) and Lorenzo Cain (quadriceps). Even with those losses in the lineup, the Brewers have outscored opponents 15-1 in the first inning this season in a dramatic departure from one of last year’s storylines. Through their first 14 games in 2021, they have matched their first-inning run production from all of 2020 — including 60 games during the shortened regular season plus two games against the Dodgers in the postseason — when the Brewers were outscored by a 33-15 margin in the opening frame.
This year is off to a much different start, and Anderson has been the most prominent beneficiary. Last weekend at St. Louis, the Brewers spotted him a 4-0 lead in the first inning and a 7-0 lead by the middle of the second. On Saturday it was 5-0 in the first inning and 7-0 in the second.
Saturday’s outburst came at the expense of their favorite foe. Even after dropping Friday’s series opener, the Brewers have won 12 of their last 15 games against the Pirates in Milwaukee.
Pirates starter Trevor Cahill was victimized on Saturday by a flurry of contact. In the first inning with two outs and Jackie Bradley Jr. at second base, García shattered his bat on a soft single to center field for a 1-0 lead that grew to 5-0 when Omar Narváez, Billy McKinney, Luis Urías and Jace Peterson followed with hits of their own. By the end of the second, Bradley already had two hits and two runs scored. García had two broken-bat RBIs. Seven Brewers players had a hit. Five players had an RBI.