"It was just such a mess, I can't really even think about it too much," Brewers starter Zack Greinke said. "It felt like not a baseball game going on out there."
Greinke, the Brewers' No. 2 starter, had a rare rough outing after a sterling spring. Greinke entered the game 1-0 with a 0.93 ERA in five Cactus league appearances, four of them starts. His ERA jumped nearly two runs as he allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits, three walks and a hit batsman in three innings on the hill.
"It was more just getting behind in the count and throwing meatballs and letting them crush the ball," he said. "It was pretty stupid."
Most of the damage came in a five-run second inning that saw the White Sox bat around. The inning opened with a two-base throwing error from Brooks Conrad, and after Greinke walked a batter, Gordon Beckham knocked an RBI double to center. Conor Jackson pushed across a run with a groundout before Alejandro De Aza tripled to center to bring in a run and later scored on a wild pitch. Alex Rios capped the rally with an RBI single to right.
"He got a little funky with his command there, said he was missing quite a bit with his pitches," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Greinke. "I'm OK. He's been so lights-out this spring. Let's get this one out of the way, and he'll get back on track and do what he's been doing."
The Brewers had jumped on the board in the top of the inning, opening the frame with four straight hits against White Sox starter Gavin Floyd. Mat Gamel stroked a leadoff single up the middle and Travis Ishikawa sent him home with a triple to right. Jonathan Lucroy added an RBI single to center before he was thrown out stealing, and Conrad drilled a solo shot over the right-field fence for the inning's third run.
"The second inning, I got in the stretch and started rushing a little bit," Floyd said. "I got behind a lot of hitters, but bounced back. Even the hits they got, they were good pitches and I got weak contact for the most part. I made a couple of mistakes with two strikes, but overall I felt strong. Even when things went wrong, I was able to get refocused."
Norichika Aoki added to the Brewers' offense by driving a leadoff triple to the center-field wall to open the fifth frame. Carlos Gomez doubled Aoki home to close the gap and set up the Brewers' comeback. Cesar Izturis connected for his second of three hits to drive in a sixth-inning run and Aoki drove in Izturis with a single to left. After White Sox hurler Ryan Kussmaul began the seventh by issuing a pair of free passes, Izturis plated a pair with a single to right to give Milwaukee the lead for good.
Dayan Viciedo homered for the second straight day with a solo shot in the bottom of the third.
Up next for Brewers:
Manager Ron Roenicke's club will split up for two road contests on Tuesday. One squad will visit the Cubs in Mesa, live on Gameday Audio beginning at 2:05 p.m. CT. A second traveling roster will square off against the D-backs at Chase Field in Phoenix, live on Gameday Audio at 8:40 p.m. CT.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy, first baseman Mat Gamel and outfielder Nyjer Morgan will make the trip to Mesa, but the rest of the afternoon roster will be Double-A Huntsville Stars, including starting pitcher Kyle Heckathorn.
Randy Wolf will start the nightcap against Josh Collmenter and the D-backs, with the rest of Milwaukee's regulars in the lineup, including left fielder Ryan Braun, third baseman Aramis Ramirez and shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who will be returning from days off.