PHOENIX (AP) — Lorenzo Cain has a flair for dramatic catches. He’s made his share, and Thursday night’s big play might have been one of his best.
The Milwaukee Brewers center fielder leaped against the wall in right-center near the 413-foot sign, raised his glove over the yellow home run line and pulled Eduardo Escobar’s drive down as his body crashed into the padding.
It was the play of the night, and happened in the first inning of the Brewers’ 5-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.
“Honestly I don’t keep count,” Cain said. “I’m just going to try to keep robbing them. Hopefully I can do that and keep making plays. Not only robbing home runs, just running down balls on a daily basis.”
The game was a pitchers’ duel tied at 1 until Orlando Arcia’s run-scoring single in the eighth inning, part of a three-run rally for the Brewers.
Zach Davies (8-2) limited Arizona to a run and five hits over seven innings. The Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly countered with seven innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts.
“It’s a tough game to lose. I wanted to get off to a good start in this series with the implication this series has,” Kelly said.
Arizona hitters only struck out once, when Matt Albers got Nick Ahmed looking for the game’s final out. It’s the first time a major league team has had one strikeout in a game since April and came a night after the Diamondbacks tied a franchise record for a nine-inning game with 19 runs against the Texas Rangers.
“Just trying to make pitches,” said Davies, a Phoenix-area native who made his 100th career start in front of family and friends. “Trying to keep the ball on the ground.”
The Brewers scored three runs off Yoan Lopez (1-3) in the eighth. Following Eric Thames’ leadoff double, Keston Hiura singled off Lopez’s glove to put runners on the corners. Arcia looped a low and outside pitch into center field to drive in the go-ahead run.
A throwing error by catcher Carson Kelly on a double steal allowed Hiura to score from second base, and pinch-hitter Jesus Aguilar’s sacrifice fly made it 4-1.
The Brewers moved two games behind the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs and took over the second wild-card spot with their third straight win. The Diamondbacks fell 1 1/2 games behind Milwaukee to open a key four-game series for both contending teams.
Ryan Braun hit his 14th home run of the season, a solo shot in the ninth inning, and drove in two.
While Cain celebrated his acrobatic catch in the first, Escobar doffed his helmet toward the outfield as he walked back to the dugout. The Brewers got more good defense from Cain, who ran down Merrill Kelly’s line drive in the third and flagged down Carson Kelly’s deep fly in the seventh.
“I didn’t think he was going to catch the first ball,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He knows what he’s doing. He’s got the radar that just sends him to the right spot and he can run at full speed while running to that spot.”
Arizona hit into three double plays, including an inning-ender in the eighth with runners on first and third.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t capitalize on a really well pitched night from Merrill Kelly. What more could you ask for from him?” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “I thought we had a couple opportunities where we could have made some noise. We didn’t get the big hits at the right time. I think the double plays were a big part of the equation.”
FLORES BACK IN FOLD
The Diamondbacks reinstated infielder Wilmer Flores from the 10-day injured list before the game. Flores was placed on the injured list May 21 after being hit by a pitch. He was batting .373 with five doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI in 20 games prior to the injury, and .281 in 42 games overall with the Diamondbacks this season. The Diamondbacks optioned infielder Kevin Cron to Triple-A Reno on Wednesday night.
Brewers: Pitchers Corey Knebel (right elbow), Brent Suter (left elbow) and Bobby Wahl (right knee) joined their teammates for the game Thursday. All three are on the 60-day injured list. … LHP Gio Gonzalez (left arm) is close to a return from the 10-day injured list and will rejoin the starting rotation, manager Craig Counsell said.
Diamondbacks: OF Jarrod Dyson (hamstring cramp) wasn’t in Thursday’s lineup but is considered day to day. … RHP Jon Duplantier (right shoulder) was scheduled to throw 45 pitches or three innings Thursday at Class A Visalia. … C-OF Blake Swihart (oblique) got four at-bats with Visalia on Wednesday.
Brewers: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (3-9, 5.18 ERA) hasn’t had a victory in his past 10 starts. He faces Arizona on Friday having not won since April 30.
Diamondbacks: RHP Taylor Clarke (2-3, 6.21 ERA) is expected to come off the 10-day injured list to start. His last start was July 2 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.