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Patient Prince gives go-ahead to Crew

Patient Prince gives go-ahead to Crew

MILWAUKEE -- Prince Fielder went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts on Thursday night.

And he won the Brewers a ballgame.

Fielder's bases-loaded walk forced home the winning run as Milwaukee batted around and scored four times in the seventh inning for a 4-1 win over the D-backs at Miller Park. Starter Jeff Suppan pitched 6 1/3 solid innings and Rickie Weeks and Mike Cameron had three hits apiece including key run-scoring knocks as the Brewers improved to a perfect 4-0 on their homestand and won for the eighth time in their past nine games.

But Fielder's walk proved to be the difference.

"My first few years, I couldn't do that," said Fielder, who has learned to harness his, shall we say, "intensity," over the years. That Zen-like approach allowed the fourth-year slugger to step to the plate in the decisive seventh inning with a clear mind.

"As I get older, it's kind of getting better and better," Fielder said. "I still struggle with it now and then. Whenever I feel like that, I just try to see the ball in my next at-bat. That way, I'm not really worried about what happens."

Even on a tough night, manager Ken Macha pointed out, "you can still have a chance to win a game, and that's what [Fielder] did."

Fielder worked the walk from D-backs left-hander Scott Schoeneweis, who was pitching in relief of Tom Gordon (0-1), who in turn was working in relief of a 24-year-old Arizona starter who drew raves from the Brewers in the home clubhouse after the game. Hard-throwing righty Max Scherzer struck out seven hitters in six very strong innings but was out after six innings because his pitch count had reached 107.

Two of the Brewers' five hits off Scherzer were doubles, but neither of those runners -- Bill Hall in the second inning and Cameron in the fourth -- advanced past second base. Scherzer topped out at 97 mph on the stadium radar gun and was still throwing 96 mph in his final inning of work.

"I tell you what -- wow," Suppan said. "I don't think I've seen him pitch, and he has incredible stuff. An incredible fastball. He really commanded that fastball and it had incredible movement."

Suppan faced Scherzer twice. He struck out looking at a slider in the third inning, then walked with one out in the fifth after an eight-pitch at-bat. Suppan was proud to foul off a pair of 94 mph fastballs.

"I almost hurt somebody in the dugout," he joked. "Of course, I wouldn't want to do that but I fouled a pitch off and I was actually excited."

Said Fielder of Scherzer's fastball: "I saw it good, but the bat didn't want to hit it."

The Brewers saw enough of Scherzer's pitches to knock him out of the game. Cameron had the longest at-bat of the night, an 11-pitch battle that ended in his double in the fourth.

"That's the philosophy behind working the pitcher. You want to get in the bullpen," Macha said. "Today, as the game went on, we made [Scherzer] throw more pitches. We were fouling off more balls. ... If you have a 10- or 12-pitch at-bat, it has a residual effect. It takes away an inning from a guy."

They stayed patient in the seventh. Hall led off the inning with a walk and then advanced on one of two wild pitches from Gordon, who recorded only one out. After Kendall singled, Hall was caught off third base on pinch-hitter Craig Counsell's fielder's choice grounder, but Weeks followed with an RBI single that tied the game at 1.

When Corey Hart walked to load the bases, the D-backs went to right-hander Juan Gutierrez, who struck out Ryan Braun on another quiet night for the Brewers' left-fielder. That set up a two-out showdown between Schoeneweis and Fielder that ended in Fielder's go-ahead walk. Cameron hit the very next pitch for a two-run double.

"We've kind of executed a lot of phases of the game," Cameron said. "When we fall behind, we find ways to come back and win ballgames. That's the maturity of a young baseball team."

Suppan did not pop the mitt like Scherzer did, but he was just as effective. He fell into a quick hole when Arizona leadoff hitter Felipe Lopez hit the game's fifth pitch for his third career leadoff home run, but Suppan allowed that lone run on five more hits in 6 1/3 innings and exited after allowing a one-out double in the seventh inning to Conor Jackson. Mark DiFelice (2-0) recorded the final two outs of the inning.

Todd Coffey pitched the eighth inning and Trevor Hoffman notched his second save in the ninth. Hoffman asked for more volume two nights earlier for his signature song, and the Brewers' scoreboard crew certainly delivered a roof-shaking rendition of "Hells Bells."

Suppan settled for a no-decision, but it was his third consecutive quality start. His run of success started in New York after Macha and pitching coach Bill Castro gave Suppan an extra day of rest, allowing the veteran righty to throw an extra side session.

"I'm not going to say that that extra day was the difference," Suppan said. "My game plan has been the same."

So what was the difference?

"Not much," Suppan said, "other than results."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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