The Milwaukee Brewers will turn to recently acquired Chi Chi Gonzalez and a rested bullpen for the rubber game of the three-game weekend series against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
Gonzalez (0-1, 7.36 ERA) will make his second start for Milwaukee since being claimed on waivers from Minnesota, while the Blue Jays will counter with fellow right-hander Jose Berrios (5-3, 5.11).
Milwaukee evened the series at a game apiece with a 5-4 victory on Saturday. Corbin Burnes, staked to a 5-0 lead after three innings, allowed three runs in 7 2/3 innings to win his third straight start, and Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer.
Devin Williams got the final out in the eighth for his 18th consecutive scoreless outing, and Josh Hader finished for his 22nd save in 23 chances despite giving up a ninth-inning run.
“We used Devin and Josh today, and that was the only guys up,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys who are fresh, and we should be in really good shape, especially with the off-day Monday.”
With starting pitchers Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta and Aaron Ashby on the injured list, Gonzalez quickly found himself in a starting role after being claimed from the waiver wire.
Gonzalez gave up three runs in four innings in his first start with Milwaukee, a 6-2 loss to St. Louis on Tuesday. The right-hander, a first-round pick by the Texas Rangers in 2013, made two starts this season with Minnesota without a decision, allowing six runs in seven innings. His first start with the Twins this season was against Toronto, in which he gave up three in four innings.
Milwaukee is 9-14 in June, including being shut out four times, after going 32-19 through April and May.
Despite its June swoon, Milwaukee is eight games above .500 and tied atop the National League Central with the St. Louis Cardinals. Toronto has won 19 of its past 32 games to move nine games above .500 yet still trails the Yankees by 11 1/2 games in the AL East.
A two-time All-Star, Berrios is trying to return to form. After posting a 7.01 ERA over five starts in May, he is 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in four starts in June. But on Monday, the Chicago White Sox tagged Berrios for six runs on nine hits in four innings, hitting three home runs in their 8-7 victory.
“He was missing arm-side, so his breaking pitches were in the heart of the zone and he paid a price for it,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said after Berrios’ most recent start. “His fastball was good, but his breaking pitches were not. Yeah, they were not really good.”
Berrios is 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA in three career starts vs. Milwaukee. He faced the Brewers once last season while with the Twins and did not allow a hit or a walk over six scoreless innings, striking out 12 in a 2-0 victory.
The Brewers shuffled their bullpen on Saturday. Right-handers Trevor Gott and Jandel Gustave were reinstated from the 15-day injured list. Right-hander Miguel Sanchez was placed on the IL with right-ulnar collateral ligament discomfort, and right-hander Peter Strzelecki was optioned to Triple-A Nashville.
–Field Level Media