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|MILWAUKEE — A little more than five years after he received a $500 bonus after signing as a non-drafted free agent out of Baylor University Youth Ryan Switzer Jersey , Nate Orf is finally in the big leagues.
The Milwaukee Brewers selected Orf’s contract Monday from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he was batting .307 with six home runs and 38 RBIs. Those numbers landed him a spot in the Pacific Coast League’s All-Star team but also fueled a social media movement — #FreeNateOrf — amongst Brewers fans wanting the 28-year-old to get his shot.
“This is the day you put all the work in for,” Orf said. “I signed for $500. This is why I signed for $500, to grind out as long as I needed to have this day come.””
Orf made his debut Monday night in Milwaukee’s 6-5 victory over the Twins and will likely be in the lineup against Tuesday afternoon as the Brewers continue their three-game holiday series at Miller Park.
“He’s a good player. He’s a very good hitter,” manager Craig Counsell said. “He has earned this.”
The Brewers are hoping Orf can provide a spark at a position that’s been an offensive liability all season. Though Jonathan Villar has shown improvement after a dismal 2017 campaign, Brewers’ second basemen are seventh in the NL with a .676 OPS this season, ninth with a .252 average and .299 on-base percentage.
Orf will also see time at shortstop, where Orlando Arcia had struggled to get into a rhythm since opening day and was demoted to Triple-A for the second time this season over the weekend.
“I still firmly believe that Orlando Arcia is going to be a very, very good player in this league for a long time,” general manager David Stearns said. “We have continued to see the defensive contributions he makes on a daily basis but we need to do better offensively.
“At this stage of the year, Orlando was not the type of offensive player we needed. I think we all bear some responsibility for that. As an organization, we need to help Orlando get through this.”
Looking to snap a three-game losing streak Youth Jalyn Holmes Jersey , the Brewers will turn to Junior Guerra on Tuesday. The right-hander won for the first time since May 14 his last time out despite allowing four runs over six innings against the Reds.
He struck out six in that outing and has 20 over his last three starts.
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi takes the mound for Minnesota hoping to build some momentum after getting back on track with six shutout innings of the White Sox in his last outing.
Odorizzi had a 3.34 ERA and was averaging nearly a strikeout per inning over his first 11 starts but stumbled mightily at the end of May, kick off a five-stark skid that saw him post a 9.74 ERA over the five stars leading up to his appearance in Chicago.
Extra work in the video room revealed a slight flaw in his delivery and during a bullpen session ahead of his last start, he worked on getting back to his normal mechanics.
“Pitching through a (back) injury last year created bad habits,” Odorizzi told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It you do it for long enough, it creates an even worse habit, even when you’re healthy. Muscle memory takes over.”
Tuesday will mark Odorizzi’s third career start against the team that selected him in the first round (32nds overall) of the 2008 MLB Draft but the first time he’ll pitch at Miller Park.
He’s 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his two previous starts against Milwaukee and held the Brewers to a run on five hits and a pair of walks while striking out 10 back on May 20, but did not factor into the decision.
The nerves weren’t quite so bad this time. The jitters, a touch less.
The stuff? Well, that didn’t change a bit for Milwaukee rookie pitcher Freddy Peralta. The 22-year-old handcuffed the Pittsburgh Pirates over six shutout innings and the Brewers held on for a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.
Peralta (2-0) struck out seven without issuing a walk in his third career start, looking very much like the kid who tied a franchise record by striking out 13 in his major league debut last month. The Brewers sent him down to the minors after his second start to work on his control and he appeared to be firmly in command against the Pirates.
”It was normal, you know,” Peralta said. ”It’s always Youth Paul Worrilow Jersey , work, you know? I was comfortable today with everything: my pitches, the guys behind me, everything.”
Jesus Aguilar finished 2 for 3 and drove in all three runs off Jameson Taillon (4-6). Aguilar hit a two-run shot to the seats in right-center in the first and doubled down the line in left field in the third.
”It was important, especially for Peralta, to just give him a lead right away. That way he feels confident,” Aguilar said.
Corey Knebel worked around a two-out walk in the ninth for his seventh save for the first-place Brewers, who ended a three-game losing streak.
Starling Marte hit his ninth home run of the season in the eighth off Milwaukee reliever Jeremy Jeffress to pull Pittsburgh with one. Jordy Mercer had an RBI double in the seventh but Pittsburgh’s offense mustered little with Peralta on the mound.
The 22-year-old attacked the Pirates high in the strike zone and threw 62 of his 99 pitches for strikes. Only Marte seemed able to generate solid contact. He reached second in the first when Milwaukee right fielder Eric Thames couldn’t handle a drive that bounced off his glove near the wall.
Peralta retired Moran on a lineout and settled in.
”He made pitches,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ”Kept us off balance with the curveball. Attacked. Very aggressive. Good downhill angle from a guy who’s not tall in stature. He pitched a lot taller than he was height-wise, and got after it.”
Taillon, coming off a solid outing in a win in Arizona last week, had plenty of swing-and-miss stuff – he recorded seven strikeouts in five innings – but had no answer for Aguilar. Lorenzo Cain led off the game with an infield single and two batters later Aguilar put one in the seats to put Milwaukee up 2-0.
”Jesus is a good hitter Youth Richard Rodgers Jersey ,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. ”He’s been a good hitter since the day we got him. I think he’s improving. He’s a hitter that understands pitching. He understands what they’re trying to do to him. He’s got experience now against the league a little bit. The league’s kind of adjusted to him and he’s been able to adjust back.”
A nearly identical sequence happened in the third. Cain reached on an infield hit and Aguilar laced the ball to left with Cain easily beating the throw home.
”Both times hanging breaking balls to Aguilar after an infield hit, he did what he should have done with them,” Taillon said.
OH SAY CAN YOU SEE
Pirates reliever Steven Brault moonlights as the front man in a rock band called The Street Gypsies. He found himself in front of a microphone on Tuesday night, only this time the audience wasn’t a night club but PNC Park. The 26-year-old belted out “The Star-Spangled Banner” before first pitch, delivering on a promise he made to his grandmother.
”I think it went pretty well,” Brault said. ”I was a little more nervous than I thought I would be leading into it. I was fine, and then when I started singing, I was like `Oh, this is pretty cool.”’
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (right rotator cuff inflammation) was scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday night.
Pirates: OF Austin Meadows was held out of the starting lineup for a second straight game while dealing with a right foot injury suffered when he fouled a ball off it on Sunday. Meadows entered as a pinch hitter in the seventh and struck out to end the inning with runners on second and third.
Brewers: Brent Suter will make his first career start against the Pirates in the series finale on Wednesday. Suter is 5-1 with a 3.24 ERA in his last six starts and 7-4 with a 4.30 ERA overall.
Pirates: Chad Kuhl (5-3, 3.76) is unbeaten against Milwaukee, going 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA. The Pirates are 6-0 overall in games Kuhl has started against the Brewers.
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