Johnson (4-7) lasted only 3 2/3 innings in his shortest start this season and surrendered
seven runs. Hardy figured in four of them, hitting a two-run home run to straightaway
center field in the first inning, a solo home run in the second and then walking and
scoring for the third time in the fourth.
"We know he's not the same as he used to be," Hardy said of the left-hander Johnson. "He's
not throwing 100 mph with 93 mph sliders, but he's still a really good pitcher. It's nice
to get out there and get out to an early start."
The Brewers needed all the runs they could get. Suppan was staked to leads of 3-0 and 7-1 but
surrendered five runs on nine hits in five innings and allowed Arizona to get as close as
7-5 entering the sixth inning.
Milwaukee's defense prevented the D-backs from finishing the comeback. Third baseman Bill
Hall went 0-for-4 at the plate with three strikeouts but made a pair of highlight-worthy
defensive plays, and Rivera, who spelled Prince Fielder at first base, may have saved the
game with an unassisted double play in the eighth.
"Tonight was basically an offensive game," Suppan said. "But I think defensively, we came
out and made some incredible plays throughout the entire game."
Hall ranged right for speedy second baseman Orlando Hudson's grounder and made a leaping,
no-hop throw to Rivera for the second out of the first inning. He also made a
spectacular diving catch to rob Augie Ojeda of an extra-base hit down the line in the
sixth, and picked a ground ball on a short hop before throwing out Justin Upton in the
The other gem belonged to Rivera, who made his first start since Spring Training at first
base so Fielder could have a day off against Johnson. With one out, a run in,
a runner on first base and Arizona threatening against reliever Guillermo Mota in the
eighth inning, Arizona catcher Miguel Montero hit a rocket to Rivera, who made a diving catch of what appeared to be a fair ball, then tapped first
base before Chris Young could get back.
"I was holding the runner and he just hit it right at me," Rivera said. "I'm just glad
that I can contribute."
Hardy was more effusive in his praise.
"That play was huge," Hardy said. "[If the ball gets through] they score a run there and
have another runner in scoring position with one out."
The Brewers made defense a priority in Spring Training. With nights like Tuesday, it
appears to have paid off.
"We might have 'Web Gems' covered tonight," Hall said. "I think defense won the game more
than our offense did tonight."
Salomon Torres worked the ninth inning for his 14th save and Hardy handled most of the
offense. He extended the longest hitting streak by a Brewer this season to 13 games, a run
that started a day after Hardy moved permanently back to the No. 2 spot in manager Ned
Yost's batting order. Hardy missed a week in the middle of his streak with a bum left
shoulder, but in 14 games since the switch he's batting .351 with four home runs,
eight doubles and 12 RBIs.
In his first 57 games, Hardy hit .246 with four home runs, nine doubles and 18 RBIs.
"I think those couple days off were the best thing," Hardy said. "[The shoulder] is the
best it's been all year."
The lineup shuffle didn't hurt. When he was hitting seventh, Hardy usually batted in front
of the pitcher because the Brewers were hitting catcher Jason Kendall ninth.
"Batting in front of the pitcher kind of played mind games with me," Hardy said. "I wasn't
too excited about it. I feel comfortable anywhere in the lineup as long as it's somewhere
not in front of the pitcher."
Yost is happy to have Hardy's bat heated up. But he's not thrilled about using the batting
order as an excuse.
"You can't out-think yourself depending on what spot you're hitting in the lineup," Yost
Suppan was not exactly sharp. Over his
past three starts, Suppan has surrendered 12 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings.
On Tuesday, he was just good enough.
"He got through five innings with the lead, and I'll take that," Yost said. "He didn't let
it get away."