INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A pair of Pittsburgh Pirates minor
leaguers put up an astonishing stat line Tuesday night.Kevin Newman and Jacob
Stallings completed cycles three batters apart for the Triple-A Indianapolis
Indians in a 12-5 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.Newman hit a solo homer in
the eighth inning to finish his first career cycle with his fifth hit of the
game. Later in the inning ,
Stallings legged out his first triple at any level since 2015 on a drive to
right-center field. It was also the first career cycle for Stallings, who has
played in the majors each of the past three seasons.The last Indianapolis player
to hit for the cycle was current Pirate Josh Bell on April 22, 2016.This was the
second time minor league teammates hit for the cycle in the same game this
season. Giants prospects Gio Brusa and Jalen Miller did it for Class A San Jose
in April. The feat has never been accomplished in the majors. He is used to
pitching to catcher Yasmani Grandal, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced
backup Austin Barnes will take his place Tuesday.Grandal has struggled
throughout his career in the postseason, striking out 30 times in 68 at-bats and
hitting safely on just seven occasions. He's 3-for-22 with 10 strikeouts this
year.For what it's worth, Barnes was behind the plate for Hill's best career
game when he threw nine perfect innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates before
allowing a 10th-inning home run to second baseman Josh Harrison in a tough-luck
1-0 loss. That battery hasn't fared as well recently, as Hill posted a 6.75 ERA
in his first three September starts with Barnes behind the dish.The other
problem is that Hill hasn't had great success against some Brewers Carlos
Carrasco Jersey
, with Christian Yelich (.900 OPS in 10 at-bats),
first baseman Jesus Aguilar (1.232 OPS in seven at-bats), outfielder Lorenzo
Cain (1.413 OPS in seven at-bats) all having success against the lefty. Granted,
those are small sample sizes, but that trio led the team in batting this year.On
the opposite mound, southpaw Gio Gonzalez will get the ball. He essentially
served as the team's opener in Game 1, allowing one home run to shortstop Manny
Machado in an otherwise run-free outing.Gonzalez is a starter by trade (he has a
10-11 record and 4.57 ERA in 27 starts with the Brewers and Washington Nationals
this year) Roy Oswalt
, but unless he's cruising, chances are he'll have a quick
hook like last time as manager Craig Counsell tries to piece together a bridge
to a win.Gary Landers/Associated PressThat's not too difficult given Milwaukee
has one of MLB's best relief staffs. The Brewers were top five in league ERA and
have continued their strong performance in the postseason. Of note, southpaw
Josh Hader has thrown six scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts, while
right-hander Corey Knebel has tossed 6.2 innings of one-run balls alongside 10
punchouts.The question is whether the bottom falls out on a Brewers bullpen that
has been taxed this postseason. Milwaukee starters have tossed 25.2 innings in
the playoffs, or an average of just four-plus innings per outing. At some point,
will the Brewers simply run out of gas, or will they hold on long enough to stay
effective?As far as Game 4 goes ,
the Brewers hold a trump card in that their top reliever (Hader) threw just
eight pitches on Monday. He did toss three innings (and threw 46 pitches) on
Friday in a 6-5 win, although the fact he wasn't used Saturday (and had a day
off Sunday) could mean more action Tuesday if needed. Counsell confirmed
postgame that Hader is available in Games 4 and 5.That should ultimately be the
difference. The potential for multiple innings out of Hader, who has thrown 3.2
shutout innings and allowed just two hits while striking out six against L.A.,
may be too much.Give the edge to Milwaukee as Counsell makes all the right moves
again to bring the Brewers within one win of the World Series.Pick: Milwaukee 5,
Los Angeles 3
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