Tuesday night’s game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers got, well, pretty interesting in the seventh inning.
With two runners on and his team clinging to a one-run lead, Arizona reliever Evan Marshall intentionally beaned Ryan Braun to load the bases. Marshall threw behind Braun on one pitch and nailed him square in the back on the next.
Jonathan Lucroy, who was on deck when Braun got beaned, couldn’t believe it.
“Honestly, I thought they might walk him right there because of the situation,” the Brewers catcher said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “But then they’re trying to throw at him in a one-run ball game with one out – (that) was questionable in my mind. It was a weird situation, but hey, it worked out for us.”
Marshall was promptly ejected by home-plate umpire Ted Barrett and got a fist-bump from Arizona manager Kirk Gibson upon arriving in the dugout. Marshall was replaced by Brad Ziegler, who, on his very first pitch, served one up to Lucroy, who tattooed a grand salami 445 feet to center field.
“I was going up there trying to hit the ball hard,” Lucroy said. “I know what Brad Ziegler has. I’ve faced him several times before, and I knew what he looked like so I went up there and just tried to get a good pitch to hit. He gave me a good pitch right down the middle, first pitch, and I was able to take advantage.”
And just like that, a 4-3 deficit became a 7-4 lead.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a statement swing – even if Lucroy wasn’t necessarily trying to send a message.
“Obviously a go-ahead home run in that situation – especially being a (grand slam) and couple that with the fact that they threw at our guy – it’s one of those things,” Lucroy said. “Like I said, it worked out for us. It felt good to run around the bases, but you know, every homer feels good to run around the bases. It didn’t make any difference what the situation was for me because I’m not that kind of guy anyway. It was just one of those things that went our way and I was able to take advantage of.”
Arizona was apparently mad that Kyle Lohse hit shortstop Chris Owings in the head in the sixth inning. Was that on purpose?
“No, absolutely not,” Lucroy said. “The game’s easy to question from the side, but when you look at the situation and you think about the situation, whenever we drilled (Owings), it was an accident and the ball got away from (Lohse). You can look by my reaction, by Kyle’s reaction after it happened, that it was obviously not on purpose. And especially we’re not going to throw at a guy’s head. It was actually a one-run ball game, and there were no outs and he was the leadoff hitter. We’re not going to drill a leadoff hitter in a one-run ball game in the head. That makes completely no sense. I’m a logical guy. That’s how I roll. And logically, that would be stupid of us to do.”
To be fair, it was actually a two-run game – Arizona led 4-2 – but yes, hitting Owings on purpose wouldn’t make much sense in that situation.
Speaking of beanings, there a few rules Lucroy adheres by: You get one try, it’s got to be below the waist, there should be two outs and hopefully it’s a blowout either way.
Of course, it’s possible that Gibson would’ve wanted Braun beaned even without Owings getting hit. After all, Gibson was extremely critical of Braun last year following the slugger’s 65-game suspension.
“I think they had a little vendetta going on over there, so if that’s the way he wants to do it, then let him do it,” Lucroy said. “He’s still bitter about that, but everybody else has moved on. We’re just worried about wining here.”