Keston Hiura hits a home run against the Braves

Keston Hiura hits a home run against the Braves

MILWAUKEE — Keston Hiura had a tough day. It’s funny how a good swing can change everything.

Recalled from Triple-A on Wednesday morning when the Brewers put Willy Adames on the disabled list, Hiura had first base against the Braves and was hitless in four at-bats through the first nine innings. In the 10th, his split-second decision to hold the bag instead of jumping for a high throw allowed a go-ahead run to score. And on top of all that, Hiura was sick. Multiple tests revealed it wasn’t COVID-19, but he felt unwell.

“Last night,” Hiura said, “I was kind of on my deathbed.”

Coming off a 7-6 11-inning win over the Braves, Hiura was feeling much better. He hit a two-run home run as the Brewers came from behind in three straight innings to win on a wild afternoon at American Family Field.

The Brewers were down one run going into the ninth inning against Kenley Jansen, the 10th inning against Darren O’Day and the 11th inning against Jesse Chavez, but scored each time to win the series, two games to one . The Brewers’ biggest comeback win of the season included a rare late push (they entered the day 1-13 trailing after eight innings), a rare hit over Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen turned Braves (the Brewers saddled him with a blown stoppage for just the second time in 27 career matchups) and a rare flurry of runs on a day that Corbin Burnes threw. The Brewers were averaging 2.7 points per game in Burnes’ first seven starts this season before scoring seven points and coming back from a 4-0 deficit on Wednesday.

“We wanted to fight,” said Kolten Wong, whose two-strike, two-out triple in the ninth against Jansen forced the Brewers’ first overtime game this season. “I feel like that was something we didn’t do this year was to keep fighting for all nine rounds. It was a great team win.

The late rally against Jansen was a victory in itself. Besides being his second missed save against the Brewers in 13 seasons, it was the first time Jansen took the mound against Milwaukee with a lead and then saw the Brewers win the game.

Making this win even sweeter, the Brewers outlasted the Braves by playing shorthanded. Midrange hitters Adames and Andrew McCutchen were both on the disabled list (McCutchen is expected to return from COVID-19 IL on Friday), and two key relievers were unavailable. Preparer Brad Boxberger was ruled banned after throwing 29 pitches the night before, and Josh Hader wasn’t even at the stadium. Hader was called out for what manager Craig Counsell called a “family situation.”

“It was just a great team win,” Counsell said. “We had a lot of guys who came up and had great batsmen in the big spots, and Keston kind of topped it off. But there was a long list of guys who had really tough ABs.

He ticked off a few from memory. Mike Brosseau’s RBI doubled Atlanta ace Max Fried in the sixth inning to make it 4-3 after Burnes and the Brewers fell to a 4-0 deficit on a pair of home runs Braves in third. Jace Peterson’s walk leading early in the ninth against Jansen. Wong came from 0-2 down to tie the game with a triple from Jansen on the seventh pitch. Christian Yelich’s 0-2 single in the 10th to push the tying runner third for Hunter Renfroe’s sacrificial fly.

The Braves were just as fiery, taking a 5-4 lead in the 10th and a 6-5 lead in the 11th before Hiura delivered his second career home run. His first was back in 2019 with then-Cub Craig Kimbrel.

“These extra innings, I know some don’t like the [automatic runner] rule, but something happens every inning of these innings,” Counsell said. “You have to make plays, every throw counts and we kept going. The at-bats – we made it really hard to take out and it paid off.

Patience paid off for Hiura, who played 15 games for the Brewers to start the season and hit .216 before being signed to Nashville on May 6. In the minors, he went 8 for 19 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in five games before Wednesday’s recall.

“You try to build from every at-bat, regardless of the outcome,” Hiura said. “I think as the game went on that was my goal, to see those throws and stay aggressive and also be selectively aggressive.”

Hiura looked congested. When asked how he felt after the game, he replied: “I feel good. I can’t wait to sleep, that’s for sure.”

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