Brewers’ hot start brings memories of 1987

The Brewers woke up on Easter Sunday with the best record in baseball, thanks to an early-season hot streak fueled by high-leverage hits and shutdown relief. In 1987, the team started the season 13-0 to set an AL record and tie the mark for the best start in Major League history.

Schafer not expected to need full 15 days to recover

Logan Schafer does not expect to need two weeks to heal his strained right hamstring, but the Brewers' outfield situation and a corresponding roster move made his stint on the 15-day disabled list a necessity on Sunday.

K-Rod moves up all-time saves list

With his eighth scoreless inning in as many appearances, and his sixth save, Francisco Rodriguez on Saturday night moved into Major League Baseball's top 20 all time in saves with 310.

Benches clear in Brewers-Pirates finale

The Pirates and Brewers exchanged blows in the third inning of their Easter Sunday series finale, resulting in the ejections of Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez and bench coach Jerry Narron, and Pirates outfielder Travis Snider.

Aramis Ramirez sitting as Brewers look to win series against Pirates

Jeff Bianchi will start at third base in Ramirez's place.

Today's Lineups

MILWAUKEE BREWERS PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Carlos Gomez - CF Starling Marte - LF
Jean Segura - SS Josh Harrison - 3B
Ryan Braun - RF Andrew McCutchen - CF
Jonathan Lucroy - C Ike Davis - 1B
Khris Davis - LF Neil Walker - 2B
Scooter Gennett - 2B Jose Tabata - RF
Mark Reynolds - 1B Clint Barmes - SS
Jeff Bianchi - 3B Chris Stewart - C
Marco Estrada - RHP Gerrit Cole - RHP

The Brewers will give Aramis Ramirez a rest from third base duties Easter Sunday, starting Jeff Bianchi in his place against the Pirates.

It's a bit of a tough situation for Milwaukee. The team has been hoping to give Ramirez more days off in 2014 after a season that saw the now 36-year-old play in just 92 games due to knee injuries. Keeping Ramirez healthy will be crucial to the Brewers' 2014 hopes.

At the same time, Ramirez has been one of the few consistent contributors in the lineup this season. He is currently hitting .352/.395/.465 with a pair of doubles, a pair of homers, and a team-leading 15 RBI.

With Ramirez out, Jonathan Lucroy and Khris Davis are both bumped up in the order. Lucroy will hit clean-up as he hopes to enjoy a red-hot start that has him hitting .344/.412/.541. Davis, meanwhile, is not enjoying the same success. After a nice stretch to start the season, he has just two hits over the last week with a 269 OPS. He did pick up an RBI single last night, so maybe he's coming out of it a bit.

Marco Estrada will be making his fourth start of the season. He has been excellent so far, with a 3.06 ERA with outings against the Red Sox, Cardinals and Phillies. His earned runs have gone up by one in each start though. He gave up one in his first appearance, two in his second, three in his third. Hopefully that trend doesn't continue today! On the season, Estrada has a 15:6 K:BB ratio over 17.2 innings.

Newly-acquired first baseman Ike Davis will stay in the lineup for Pittsburgh. He reached base three times and scored twice yesterday in his first game as a Pirate. Meanwhile, talented young starter Gerrit Cole will take the mound. In three career starts against the Brewers he has a 3.72 ERA and has allowed a 764 OPS.

Logan Schafer hamstring injury: Brewers OF on disabled list, Lyle Overbay activated

Elian Herrera will stay on the roster and likely see his playing time increase as Schafer sits for two weeks.

The Brewers made a roster move Sunday, placing Logan Schafer on the disabled list retroactive to April 18 and activating Lyle Overbay fro the paternity list, reports Todd Rosiak of the Journal Sentinel.

Schafer apparently strained his hamstring while in the on-deck circle during Thursday's game. He said he felt a small pop and would be forced to bunt in the Brewers' loss to the Pirates in a pinch-hit situation. So the curse of the hamstring returns. The Brewers had several players miss time with similar injuries in 2013, including Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo, Jean Segura, Marco Estrada and Jim Henderson.

It doesn't sound like Schafer will miss more than the minimum 15 days. That would put him on pace to return May 2.

In the meantime, the Brewers are now left with Elian Herrera as the only back-up outfielder while Khris Davis continues to battle through a tough slump. Herrera was called up when Overbay was placed on paternity leave. Given the fact that Overbay could only miss up to three days, it seemed Herrera would only see time in an emergency situation.

With Schafer out, Herrera has already gotten the opportunity to play, coming in as part of a double-switch Friday and pinch-hitting Saturday. He has struck out in both of his plate appearances thus far.

These next two weeks could prove to be crucial to Herrera's career moving forward. If he is able to maximize his production in any playing time he receives, the team could view him as an option to remain on the team for a longer stint. The fact that he is an above-average defender at 43 different positions is a huge plus, especially for a Brewers team with little flexibility. However, if he continues to flounder at the plate even his defense and versatility won't make him look good.

Estrada, Crew look to keep magic going vs. Cole, Pirates

The way they're going, it looks like Ron Roenicke's Brewers are never out of a ballgame. After being blown out in Thursday's opener, the Brewers committed four errors on Friday and beat the Pirates. They committed another error and played a generally sloppy brand of baseball during a five-run Pirates fourth inning on Saturday, yet won again. The Brewers will try to do it one more time on Sunday, when Marco Estrada draws Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole at PNC Park.

Braun’s go-ahead blast in ninth propels Brewers

Against a pitcher the Brewers haven't touched in nearly seven years, Ryan Braun capped a big night with his biggest hit of the season. Braun's two-run ninth-inning home run off Jason Grilli silenced a loud chorus of boos at PNC Park and gave the Brewers an 8-7 win over the Pirates on Saturday night.

Braun’s go-ahead blast in ninth propels Brewers

Against a pitcher the Brewers haven't touched in nearly seven years, Ryan Braun capped a big night with his biggest hit of the season. Braun's two-run ninth-inning home run off Jason Grilli silenced a loud chorus of boos at PNC Park and gave the Brewers an 8-7 win over the Pirates on Saturday night.

Brewers take the series lead in a wild one beating Pirates 8-7

Late inning heroics in the 9th by Ryan Braun gave the Brewers a win in an otherwise ugly game.

Winning Pitcher: Jim Henderson

Losing Pitcher: Jason Grilli

Save: Francisco Rodriguez (6)

HR: Mark Reynolds (4), Ryan Braun 2 (5)

Boxscore

The game started off well for the Brewers offense. In the first inning, Jonathan Lucroy hit a double and Khris Davis drove him in. In the second inning Jean Segura gave us all a glimpse of his former self. He launched a double to deep center. With two outs Ryan Braun grounded into what looked like a fielder's choice. However, while in the rundown Jean Segura was somehow able to deftly avoid the tag by Neil Walker. That left runners at first and second for Aramis Ramirez who continued his torrid pace with runners in scoring position by singling in a run. The hits didn't stop there as Lucroy hit his second double, driving in the Brewers' 3rd run of the night. Mark Reynolds joined the fun in the fourth with his 4th home run of the season giving Brewers their 4th run. Fourth. Nothing much else happened that inning, but Rickie Weeks did draw a walk on 12 pitches which was fun to see.

Matt Garza started the night with a clean first inning. In the second the Pirates doubled twice to score 1 run that at the time tied the game. In the bottom of the 4th Garza walked Andrew McCutchen. He then got Pedro Alvarez to ground into what should have been an easy double play, but Weeks bobbled and everyone was safe. The next batter hit a liner to third that probably should have been caught by Ramirez, but instead it went for an RBI single cutting the Brewers lead to 4-2. Garza walked the next batter to load the bases. My heart skipped a beat as Walker flew out to right field. Braun was able to hold the runner on third and the bases remained loaded. Clint "Of All People" Barmes then tied the game with a line drive 2-RBI double. The Pirates added 2 more runs on a single by Travis Snider. It was really unfortunate that this inning went the way it did. It's easy to say that if it weren't for the errors blah blah blah, but you still have to get the outs afterwards so Garza has to share some of the blame. It was a failure of an inning all around.

The Brewers, much like the Goonies, never say die. In the top of the fifth Braun absolutely SCORCHED a slow dirppler up the third base line that Pedro Alvarez tried to let roll foul. However through sheer willpower from yours truly, I was able to Jedi mind trick the ball fair. Braun reached safely. However this meant that Aramis Ramirez would bat simply with a runner on and not a runner in scoring position. This would not do so I further abused my Jedi powers by inducing a wild pitch, allowing Braun to advance to second base. Unfortunately a Sith must be active in the Pirates fan base as Ramirez was only able to advance the runner to third on a ground out. Lucroy did almost the exact same thing, only this time it resulted in a run to get the Brewers within a run.

The bottom of the fifth inning gave Garza some more trouble. I'll spare you the details because after everything else that already happened, I don't think your fragile hearts could stand it. It has nothing to do with me going to get food and missing a few at-bats. All you need to know is that with the bases loaded and two outs Garza got Clint "I Like My Pizza Without Cheese" Barmes to ground out.

Rob Wooten pitched the sixth inning. He was able to get two outs before Russell Martin grounded a ball right back to the mound that kicked off Wooten's foot. He couldn't find the ball and Martin reached. Andrew McCutchen drove him in with deep fly ball. Alvarez struck out to end the inning but the Pirates regained their two run lead.

It didn't take long for the Brewers to get that run back though. Ryan Braun hit his 4th home run on a laser to center. Jonathan Lucroy would hit his third double of the night but that was it for this inning.

Wooten stayed in long enough to get the first out of the 7th inning. With left-handed hitting Ike Davis up next, Ron Roenicke brought in Zach Duke. He struck Davis out and got Neil Walker to fly out on the first pitch.

Jim Henderson came on for the 8th inning. He was able to get a strikeout and a flyout before giving up a single to Marte. For the final out he got Martin to ground out. It was another good outing from Henderson.

The Brewers faced staggering odds as the Pirates called on Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli to close out the game. Melancon had no issue getting through the 8th. However, as one intrepid young writer once noted, neither the Goonies nor the Brewers ever say die. Gomez struck out to start off the ninth inning. Jean Segura was able to lift a liner just out of reach of the shortstop. Braun came to the plate and I swear I could hear "Eye of the Tiger" playing softly in the background. Grilli threw the ball, Braun hit the ball, no one caught the ball. Braun hit his 5th home run of the season and second of the night to give the Brewers the 8-7 lead.

Francisco Rodriguez came on for the save. He got McCutchen to ground out and then hit Pedro Alvarez. With the runner at first base Rodriguez got Jose Tabata to ground into a sanity saving double play. BREWERS WON!!!

They finish their series against the Pirates tomorrow at 12:35 pm CT as Marco Estrada faces off against Gerrit Cole.