MILWAUKEE -- Where one rookie starter faltered, another stood strong.
Brandon Woodruff put together seven solid innings in a critical series finale as the "road" Brewers knocked off the Marlins, 10-3, at Miller Park on Sunday. The clubs played in front of 24,535 fans as a total of 68,983 watched the three-game set, which was moved to Milwaukee in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Woodruff, the Brewers' No. 4 prospect per MLBPipeline.com, allowed three or fewer runs for the fifth time in six career starts, giving his club a chance to keep pace in a crowded postseason picture. Sunday's win kept the Brewers four games back of the Cubs in the National League Central after Chicago's 4-3 win. They trail the Rockies by 2 1/2 games for the second NL Wild Card spot following Colorado's 4-3 loss.
"We're in a position where we can't afford to look at the big picture," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "You look at the next day. We know every day is vitally important. Where we're at in the standings is really forcing us to look at not getting too far ahead of ourselves."
Marlins southpaw Dillon Peters, the club's No. 4 prospect, got rocked in his fourth career start as the Brewers poured on eight runs in the fourth inning. Peters allowed three straight hits to open the inning and walked the opposing pitcher to spark a two-out rally that scored seven of the eight runs.
"I think I was locating pitches fine," Peters said. "I missed a couple of spots, but I broke a bat and there was a bloop. I don't think I was too far all over the place. But a couple of mistake pitches, this team has a lot of juice in the lineup. They are going to punish you when you make mistakes."
The Brewers won for just the 12th time this season without hitting a home run, collecting three-hit performances from Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw, who extended his team lead in RBIs to 95 by driving in three runs.
Miami has now lost seven of its past eight games, and 17 of 20 games overall since holding a 66-63 record on Aug. 27 and sitting right behind Milwaukee in the Wild Card hunt.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Woodruff walks: The Brewers' fourth-inning rally appeared to be nearing an end after Keon Broxton and Orlando Arcia struck out to leave a pair of runners on for Woodruff, who proceeded to draw a five-pitch walk. Milwaukee scored eight runs in the inning -- their second eight-run frame of the series -- including seven with two outs.
"Obviously, you don't want to walk the pitcher," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "But I've seen it happen. It is tough. When you know you have to throw strikes to a guy, sometimes that happens."
"He's had good at-bats since he's been up here," Counsell said. "It plants a seed in the pitcher's head that he's got to be careful. He's had some good swings up there. He laid off a 1-1 curveball that really set up the at-bat." More >
Off the bounce: The Marlins responded to the eight-run fourth with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. They nearly had more. With Giancarlo Stanton pinch-hitting and a runner on third, the Marlins' slugger laced a grounder that short-hopped off Brewers third baseman Shaw's glove. The ball then bounced to Arcia, who fired from deep in the hole to get Stanton and end the frame.
"The game of baseball is so weird," Woodruff said. "For that to happen, and to get that out, that was big-time."
"It has been a difficult trip for a number of reasons. No. 1, we haven't played well. That's the start of it. It gets extended, so it is up in the air. A lot has gone on. We had guys that had to stay back for a day and then they flew in and lived through the hurricane for different reasons. We had guys with things going. A lot was going on with families and things going on back in Florida. That stuff happens. We're just not playing well." -- Mattingly
"We're starting to kind of fire on all cylinders. The offense is getting going again. If we continue to play like this with everybody contributing, I like our chances." -- Ryan Braun, on the Brewers' postseason chances.
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Brewers catcher Manny Pina was geared up against the best when he threw out Dee Gordon at second trying to steal his 55th base of the season in the first inning. Pina had a pop time of 1.86 seconds and made a perfect throw to nail Gordon, who had a maximum sprint speed of 29.1 ft./sec. on the attempt, according to Statcast™. The league average sprint speed is 27 ft./sec.
Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas exited in the second inning with a left shoulder strain after diving for a ground ball hit by Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar.
Listed as day to day, Rojas doesn't expect the injury to keep him out for an extended period of time.
"I've been dealing with this problem with my shoulder all year long," Rojas said. "I've been trying to avoid diving headfirst because that caused the problem in my rotator cuff. But I thought I had a pretty good chance with Aguilar running on that play. I gave it a shot. This is a little bit worse than the times I felt it before, so I had to leave the game. Hopefully I'm going to be OK." More >
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers:Brent Suter (2-2, 3.66 ERA) makes the 6:05 p.m. CT start on Monday in the first of a three-game road set against the Pirates at PNC Park. Suter still isn't fully stretched out from a disabled-list stint earlier this month, so he could be limited to just a few innings.
Marlins: Miami will return home to play at Marlins Park for the first time since Sept. 6 to open a three-game set with the Mets at 7:10 p.m. ET on Monday. Dan Straily starts for the Marlins looking to recover from his worst start of the season, when he allowed eight runs on 13 hits over six innings in an 8-1 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday.