PHOENIX -- As Carlos Lee strode to the plate in the top of the first inning on Thursday, a young batboy looked up at him and teased, "Come on Carlos, show me something!" "The ump got mad," Brewers manager Ned Yost said later. "He said, 'Shut the [heck] up and pick up the bat!' " This was no ordinary batboy, Lee had to explain. It was Brewers 2005 first-round draft pick Ryan Braun, who was in town for the start of instructional league play and made his extremely unofficial Major League debut.
Lee did show the youngster something -- all of the Brewers did. Lee blasted a two-run homer in the at-bat to set the tone for a huge offensive day, and Tomo Ohka took a perfect game into the fifth inning as the Brewers roughed up the Diamondbacks, 14-2, in front of 20,741 at Bank One Ballpark. Ohka worked through the seventh inning for his fourth win in five decisions, but this day was all about offense. The Brewers matched a season high with 14 runs, including seven in the third inning, and outhit Arizona, 19-8, to push back to .500 with a series win. Bill Hall was a home run shy of the cycle after his first three at-bats, Chad Moeller notched a double, a triple and four RBIs, and the Brewers got home runs from Lee and Jeff Cirillo -- all by the end of the sixth inning. "I feel like I contributed something," joked Braun. By the time it was over, Hall had a career-high five hits and every Brewers starter had a hit except right fielder Corey Hart, who was one of seven players to drive in at least one run. Even Ohka (12-8) joined the offensive party. The right-hander snapped an 0-for-20 slump with an RBI single in Milwaukee's seven-run third inning against starter Shawn Estes (7-8) and two Arizona relievers. For the Brewers, it was a case of deja whew! For the second time in 10 days, they followed a terrible offensive night with a conscience-clearing, slump-busting performance. The same happened on Sept. 6 and 7 in Cincinnati, when the Brewers went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position one night in a 2-1 extra-inning loss, then scored 14 runs the following day to secure a series win. On Wednesday night in Arizona, the Brewers went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position in a 2-1 12-inning loss. They came back on Thursday for the series finale and, well, you know the rest. "It was the exact same thing," Yost said. "We came right back, on the attack, and we got on the board early." "That's usually how this game works," Moeller added. "It makes no sense, either way. So much of the tempo is always set early." The Brewers did catch a big break in the decisive third inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Hart hit a ground ball to second baseman Craig Counsell, who tried to execute a tag-out, throw-out double play. Hall, the runner going from first to second on the play, later admitted that Counsell applied a tag before throwing out Hart. But second base umpire Paul Nauert ruled otherwise, and Hart was credited with an RBI groundout that opened the floodgates. "It was a [tough] call, but it doesn't really provide an explanation for what happened after that," Counsell said. After a Cirillo walk, Moeller delivered a three-run double against reliever Brandon Lyon and Ohka and Clark followed with RBI singles for a 9-0 Brewers lead. "I guess we came out ready to win today," said rookie shortstop J.J. Hardy, who went 1-for-3 and scored a run before leaving with a foot injury. Ohka made the early lead stand. The right-hander retired the first 14 Arizona hitters he faced before Connor Jackson's two-out single in the fifth inning. "I thought about a perfect game," Ohka said. "But it's not easy." The Diamondbacks pushed across a couple of runs in the sixth to avoid a shutout, but Ohka pitched well enough through seven innings to lower his ERA back under 4.00. He allowed two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts. "He was throwing as hard a fastball as he's had all year. He got it up to 93 [mph] a time or two," Yost said. "When Tomo's on, he can match up against anybody, I think."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.