It was an Opening Day of redemption for Brewers of the past that have not met recent expectations, ending in a thrilling win in front of a sellout crowd of 11,740 at American Family Field on Thursday.
With the ballpark at just 25 percent capacity because of the ongoing pandemic, Christian Yelich, Keston Hiura, Omar Narvaez, and Orlando Arcia all combined forces to turn a ninth inning 5-2 deficit into a 6-5 win.
The rally began with one out in the ninth inning when newcomer Kolten Wong was hit by an Alex Colome pitch. Wong then moved to second base on a Colome throwing error on Keston Hiura’s comebacker to the mound. Wong then came home when Christian Yelich’s long drive to the right field warning track could not be corralled by Minnesota’s Max Kepler’s glove.
Following Avisail Garcia’s groundout that moved the runners up, Shaw, in his second stint with Milwaukee after one season in Toronto, ripped a two-out, two run double to the right centerfield gap, tying the game at 5-5.
In the top of the tenth, Josh Hader electrified the crowd by striking out the Minnesota side on just 10 pitches. The momentum of the ninth inning rally and the tenth inning show of pitching strength was palpable as Omar Narvaez’ bloop single put runners on the corners with no one out.
Orlando Arcia, who lost his starting shortstop job to Luis Urias in spring training but replaced him in the field in the sixth inning tapped a slow roller to second. Jorge Polanco’s throw was on target but late to the plate in time to catch the headfirst sliding Lorenzo Cain, and the Brewers escaped with the win.
The two sides will take Friday off and reconvene at American Family Field on Saturday evening.