Whatever the reason, it was not a positive outing results-wise for Brewers starter Mike Fiers in the 8-3 White Sox victory at Camelback Ranch. Fiers, penciled in at the back end of Milwaukee's rotation, allowed seven runs on eight hits over three innings. He struck out one, walked two and allowed home runs to Jeff Keppinger and Gordon Beckham.
"I had no idea where the ball was going," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Fiers' performance. "He's got one more outing, hopefully he looks better. Couldn't command, couldn't throw strikes for anything."
Keppinger's solo shot in the second and Beckham's two-run, two-out drive in the third were both no-doubters. Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios, who were gone for the last three weeks as part of the World Baseball Classic, knocked out two hits apiece in their return.
White Sox Opening Day starter Chris Sale was efficient through his seven innings of work. The southpaw needed just 59 pitches to get through the first five frames. He yielded three runs on four hits, including Ryan Braun's inside-the-park homer in the first inning and Donnie Murphy's homer in the third.
"He's a good pitcher," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Sale. "Today, he just goes out and I think it's kind of the classic stuff you'd see from him. Again, getting him ready for Opening Day. I'm happy with his progress right now."
Braun's home run hit off the top of the center-field wall 410 feet away and bounced back on the field. He circled the bases, beating the throw to the plate by a few steps. Sale fanned three and walked one, also getting the help of three double plays.
Keppinger had two more hits on the afternoon, leaving him 16-for-31 (.516) during Cactus League action.
Up next: The Brewers will host the Cubs on Friday at Maryvale Baseball Park at 3:05 p.m. CT, live on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio. Yovani Gallardo will get his second-to-last spring start before taking the mound on Opening Day. With Martin Maldonado expected to catch the Milwaukee ace, the Brewers may send Jonathan Lucroy over to Minor League camp to get extra at-bats. Carlos Villanueva will get the nod for the Cubs.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.