Duffy delivers in Brewers' 11th-hour win

Duffy delivers in Brewers' win vs. D-backs

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers fans didn't get to see left fielder Ryan Braun on his bobblehead day, but they did see the guy playing Braun's position drive in the winning run.

Chris Duffy entered the game in the seventh inning for his defense and won it with his bat in the eighth, when he delivered a go-ahead groundout for a 4-3 win over the D-backs at sold-out Miller Park on Sunday.

Prince Fielder and Mike Cameron hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning, but Brewers starter Dave Bush squandered a 3-0 lead when he surrendered a trio of solo home runs in the seventh. Duffy's RBI grounder put the Brewers back in front, and helped them split their four-game series with Arizona to finish a 5-2 homestand.

"I'm going to go ahead and be excited about today and smile a little bit," said Duffy, a former Pittsburgh Pirates starter who hasn't had much to smile about while adjusting to a new role as a bench player after two years of injuries. Duffy earned a rare start on Saturday night because Braun is sidelined by a stiff back, and he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Brad Nelson started in left field on Sunday and went 0-for-3 before Duffy entered to strengthen the defense in the seventh.

"You wouldn't have caught me smiling yesterday," Duffy said Sunday as the Brewers packed for Pittsburgh and the start of a two-city, four-game trip. "That's why baseball is so great. I didn't have to wait a week to be able to turn it around."

The Brewers turned things around quickly in that decisive inning after Arizona tied the game in the seventh on solo home runs by Mark Reynolds, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero. Slumping Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy sparked the rally when he snapped an 0-for-14 drought with a single to right field. After D-backs second baseman Felipe Lopez robbed Rickie Weeks of a hit with a leaping catch, Fielder worked his third walk of the game and Cameron blooped a single just short of Upton in right field to load the bases for Duffy, who hit a hard grounder that Lopez gobbled up. The only play was at first base as Hardy scored the eventual winning run.

Mitch Stetter (1-0) worked a scoreless eighth inning for the win, and Trevor Hoffman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save in as many chances. Duffy's go-ahead grounder was against hard-throwing reliever Tony Pena, but Juan Gutierrez (1-2) took the loss after allowing Hardy's hit.

"'Duf' put the ball in play. That was the key," Brewers manager Ken Macha said.

Fielder and Cameron spotted Bush a 2-0 lead with Milwaukee's first back-to-back home runs this season, and Corey Hart added insurance with an RBI infield hit in the fifth.

But Bush surrendered the lead in the seventh by allowing three homers, including back-to-back shots by Reynolds and Upton leading off the inning. Bush wasn't happy as he walked off the mound, but the Brewers' win helped put a quality outing in some perspective. In seven innings he allowed three runs on five hits and struck out seven while issuing no walks.

"It's always more frustrating when the runs come at the end of the outing," the right-hander said. "If it happened in the first inning and you end up going seven [innings] with three runs, you're probably pleased with it. All in all, I was happy with how I threw the ball, just very, very disappointed with the way that last inning went."

Bush made a bad pitch to Reynolds leading off the inning, a get-ahead fastball that Reynolds hammered out to left field. But Upton hit a good pitch -- a curveball low and away -- and Montero hit a changeup that was down in the zone.

"If they were good pitches, than they were the wrong pitch, because those guys were sitting on it," Bush said.

Macha wondered if the Brewers' half of the sixth inning played a role. The frame was delayed when Arizona reliever Tom Gordon strained his left hamstring covering the plate after a pitch in the dirt got away from Montero.

Weeks was out on the play but so was Gordon, who had to leave the game and likely will head to the disabled list. Jon Rauch came on to pitch and was given as much time as he needed to warm up.

"Perhaps that disrupted [Bush's] rhythm a little bit," Macha said.

The Brewers have won each of Bush's last three starts.

"I feel good when he goes out there and pitches," Macha said. "Seven innings and three runs, seven strikeouts and no walks, again. No walks for him -- underline that. We'll take it."

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