Miami Marlins

Lewis Brinson breaks out with a pair of homers, but Brewers hammer Marlins’ pitching

Milwaukee Brewers' Lorenzo Cain reacts after hitting a double during the third inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins Thursday, April 19, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Milwaukee Brewers' Lorenzo Cain reacts after hitting a double during the third inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins Thursday, April 19, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Maybe it was the short break the Marlins gave him this week.

Or maybe it was playing again in Milwaukee.

Either way Lewis Brinson hopes he found a way out of his hitting slump Thursday night after belting his first two home runs as a member of the Marlins.

Brinson’s former team rendered the blasts inconsequential, however, as the Milwaukee Brewers followed them with a 10-run surge over two innings that buried the Marlins in a 12-3 loss at Miller Park.

It was Brinson’s first career multi-homer game and also his first home runs at Miller Park. Brinson, whom the Marlins traded for in the deal that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee in late January, played the first 21 games of his career last year with the Brewers and hit two home runs in Washington.

"My approach was good tonight," Brinson said. "I came back to a place I played last year and had a little chip on my shoulder, a little pep and wish we could have gotten the win, but it feels good. Hopefully I can keep it going."

Brinson, who entered the game hitting .131 and in a 1-for-36 slump, crushed a 94-mph fastball from starter Chase Anderson 429 feet to center field in the third inning in his first at-bat.

When the two matched up again in the fifth inning, Brinson hit the first pitch from Anderson - an 88-mph cutter – again to straightaway center field for a two-run homer that put the Marlins (5-13) in front 3-2.

Mired in his recent hitting funk, the Marlins sat Brinson on Monday against the Yankees and used him only as a defensive replacement late in Tuesday’s game. Brinson said before the game the respite gave him a chance to make some adjustments.

"I just told myself to let the ball travel and try to hit it out to center field," Brinson said. "It just kind of all came together tonight and now I just have to keep it going."

But other than having their starting center fielder possibly start to find his groove at the plate, the Marlins had few positives to take from Thursday’s game.

The Brewers (11-9) hit three home runs in the game with two coming off reliever Junichi Tazawa, who gave up six of the seven runs Milwaukee scored in the sixth inning on four hits and two walks in only 2/3 of an inning. Tazawa, who had a 1.69 ERA in nine previous appearances, saw that average balloon to 6.35.

Tazawa entered the game in relief of Odrisamer Despaigne, who exited the game in the middle of an at-bat by Lorenzo Cain and was later diagnosed with a right forearm strain.

"I first felt it tight warming up in the bullpen, and then I just tried to keep going with it and when the game started the pain started picking up," Despaigne said. "It something that didn't let me throw to max effort and it's almost like it's cutting me off from going full strength. I think it's just take a couple of days off and I'll be ready to go."

Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Tazawa appeared to have an issue with his pitching hand, but Tazawa said later he was fine physically.

Cain doubled to start the onslaught that also included a three-run, pinch-hit home run by former University of Miami star Ryan Braun, who recorded his 1,000th career RBI.

Cain also homered earlier in the game off Marlins’ starter Dillon Peters, who walked five, struck out four and gave up four runs on three hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Right-handed pitching prospect Merandy Gonzalez, acquired by the Marlins in late July in the trade for A.J. Ramos, was called up Thursday from Double-A Jacksonville and tossed a pair of scoreless innings in his major-league debut. Gonzalez became the first Marlins pitcher to do that since Chris Reed on August 1, 2015.