Estrada overcomes shaky start but Crew falls

Estrada overcomes shaky start but Crew falls

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Ubaldo Jimenez pitched into the sixth inning on Monday afternoon, helping guide the Indians to a 4-2 Cactus League victory over the Brewers at Goodyear Ballpark.

Jimenez, who is lined up to be Cleveland's No. 2 starter this season, exited with one out in the sixth inning after being struck on the bottom of his right foot by a comebacker off the bat of Jean Segura. Jimenez's pitch count had climbed to 80, so the Indians erred on the side of caution and called it a day for the pitcher.

"I felt really good," Jimenez said. "My first couple innings, I was a little bit off with my fastball and I was falling behind in the count. And they were taking good swings. But as the game went on, I felt a little bit better getting the first pitch for a strike and having better command with my fastball."

Milwaukee struck for two runs against Jimenez in his 5 1/3 innings of work. In the second inning, Logan Schafer scored from third base on a wild pitch for the Brewers' first run. Then, with runners on the corners and two outs, Tribe left fielder Michael Brantley made a diving catch on a fly ball from Norichika Aoki, ending Milwaukee's threat.

Jimenez, who scattered seven hits and ended with five strikeouts and one walk, smiled wide when asked about Brantley's rally-killing catch.

"That was amazing," said the pitcher. "It looked like he's ready for the season."

Jimenez added that pitching in front of the swift trio of Brantley, center fielder Michael Bourn and right fielder Drew Stubbs is going to benefit Cleveland's pitchers.

"As a pitcher, you want to keep the ball down," Jimenez said. "But in our situation, it's not a bad thing if they hit fly balls. Those guys, they're going to get everything. Those three guys, they can fly and they can field the ball. They're going to go get them."

Blake Lalli contributed a run-scoring double off Jimenez in the fourth inning.

Brewers starter Marco Estrada, who has a 0.96 ERA this spring, allowed one run on three hits in 2 1/3 innings. He was expected to log just two innings against the Indians due to pitching on short rest -- a move that lines Estrada up to open the year as Milwaukee's second starter.

"When I was in the bullpen, everything seemed in place, nice and easy, locating really well," said Estrada, who walked three and struck out one. "Then I got out there and was like, 'Oh, man.' I knew I was rushing, but it was hard to stop it. I had to tell myself, 'Slow down, you're going too fast right now.' Once I got out of that first inning, everything fell into place. I thought I made some good pitches."

All three of Estrada's walks came in the first inning, when he issued a free pass to Mark Reynolds with the bases loaded to force in Cleveland's first run.

In the sixth inning, Lou Marson and Ezequiel Carrera each chipped in an RBI single for the Tribe.

Up next: Left fielder Ryan Braun is expected to return from a few days off to start against the Angels on Tuesday afternoon at Maryvale Baseball Park. Braun returned to Phoenix from the World Baseball Classic on Saturday evening, but the Brewers gave him a break after Braun carried a heavy workload for Team USA in the tournament. Wily Peralta will get the start for Milwaukee in a 3:05 p.m. CT game to air live on the Brewers Radio Network and via tape delay on MLB Network at 8 a.m. CT Wednesday.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.