MILWAUKEE (AP) — Stepping to the plate at a critical situation in his first game back from the minors, Owen Miller kept his approach simple.
“Just put the ball in play there at the end, put pressure on them and good things happen,” Miller said.
That strategy couldn’t have worked out any better for the Milwaukee Brewers in their dramatic 7-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.
Facing a 2-2 count with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning of a one-run game, Miller hit a grounder that third baseman Alec Bohm failed to backhand. Bohm’s error enabled all three runs to score, putting the Brewers in front for good.
Each team scored four runs in the eighth inning of this potential playoff matchup between the NL Central-leading Brewers and the Phillies, who are on track to earn a wild-card spot.
Milwaukee extended its NL Central advantage to 3 1/2 games over the Chicago Cubs, who split a doubleheader with the Cincinnati Reds. The Brewers have won their last seven home games.
“That felt like playoff baseball right there,” said Miller, who arrived in Milwaukee late Thursday night after getting called up from Triple-A Nashville.
Trea Turner had given Philadelphia a 5-3 lead by hitting a three-run homer off Devin Williams with two outs in the top of the eighth. Turner connected on a 1-1 changeup and delivered a 362-foot drive that sailed just inside the left-field foul pole.
Williams failed to convert a save for the fourth time in 35 opportunities.
The Brewers responded in the bottom half of the inning.
Milwaukee cut the Phillies’ advantage to 5-4 when pinch-hitter Tyrone Taylor took a 3-2 pitch inside to draw a bases-loaded, one-out walk from José Alvarado (0-1). Jeff Hoffman took over for Alvarado and struck out Willy Adames before Miller delivered the grounder that got past Bohm and rolled down the left-field line.
“I think what he did was he just tried to run to the base before he secured the baseball, and it just scooted underneath his glove,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “That guy’s been playing extremely well at third base, and so it’s just one of those things.”
Williams (8-3) preserved Milwaukee’s lead by retiring the side in order in the top of the ninth.
This marked the second straight game in which the Phillies lost after rallying to take the lead in the late innings. Philadelphia fell 10-8 to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday by allowing three runs in the ninth after Bryce Harper’s two-run homer had put the Phillies ahead in the eighth.
Adames put the Brewers ahead 3-1 in the fourth inning with a three-run homer off Zack Wheeler. Adames’ 430-foot shot to center was his 22nd homer of the season.
Brewers starter Freddy Peralta allowed a homer to Kyle Schwarber to start the game but struck out 10 and allowed only one other base runner in his six-inning stint. Philadelphia’s only other hit off Peralta was a one-out single by Jake Cave in the third inning.
Over his last seven starts, Peralta has struck out 69 batters while allowing only eight runs over 42 innings.
Wheeler struck out 10, walked nobody and allowed five hits and three runs in six innings. Wheeler joined Curt Schilling (1996) and Cole Hamels as the only Phillies pitchers since 1900 to produce back-to-back performances with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks.
Phillies: LHP Ranger Suárez (strained right hamstring) and OF Cristian Pache (irritation in right elbow) were activated from the injured list. Suárez last pitched for the Phillies on Aug. 13. Pache made his last appearance with the Phillies on July 9. Suárez is scheduled to start Sunday.
Brewers: RHP Julio Teheran (hip) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session in Milwaukee before going back for another rehabilitation appearance at Triple-A Nashville. Teheran made his last appearance with the Brewers on July 29.
RHP Aaron Nola (12-8, 4.30 ERA) pitches for the Phillies and RHP Colin Rea (5-5, 5.11) gets the call for the Brewers on Saturday night.