By Sam Bush
Now this is the kind of performance the Phils anticipated when they signed Jake Arrieta out of free agency 14 months ago.
Arrieta pitched eight solid innings, Andrew McCutchen homered and the Phillies beat the Brewers 7-2.
“A really solid performance by Jake, who was absolutely cognizant of getting in the zone and giving us length,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s exactly what our club needed.”
Arrieta (5-4) allowed two runs and five hits, struck out eight and walked one in his first win since April 27. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner was 0-2 with a 4.30 ERA in his previous four starts.
It looked as if the right-hander was headed for his first complete game since 2016 before he ran into a bit of trouble in the eighth. The Phils had a 4-2 lead, but Milwaukee had a runner on third with two down and Lorenzo Cain at the plate.
Cain was ahead 3-1 in the count when Arrieta threw a pitch that the speedy leadoff man felt was a ball, which would have brought NL MVP Christian Yelichto the plate. Instead, Estabrook called a strike and Cain grounded out on the next pitch.
Counsell began arguing with Estabrook from the dugout and was ejected. The usually mild-mannered Counsell then came onto the field and engaged in a heated face-to-face shouting match with Estabrook.
“It’s two pitches. It’s Yelich on-deck. It’s the tying run,” Counsell said. “It’s an enormous part of the game. They were just clear balls. They have to get those ones right.”
Cain felt Estabrook missed two pitches in his crucial at-bat.
“I definitely should have walked there,” Cain said. “But it’ll do me no good (complaining) about umpires because nothing’s going to happen. It definitely could have been a game-changer if I walk there and bring (Yelich) to the plate.”
Arrieta said his plan throughout the game was to throw pitches with movement that were down in the zone.
“After I let the ball go, whatever happens is out of my control,” he said. “There might have been some borderline pitches there, but it happens every game.”
McCutchen, Cesar Hernandez, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto homered in the Phils’ third consecutive win. Hoskins finished with three hits and two RBI.
Milwaukee lost for the fifth time in its last seven games. Mike Moustakas hit his 13th homer in the seventh, but the Brewers finished with just five hits.
McCutchen drove Jhoulys Chacin’s second pitch off the center-field scoreboard at Miller Park. McCutchen is batting .414 (12 for 29) with two homers and nine RBI during his last seven games.
The Phillies added a run in the second when Jean Segura walked with the bases loaded. Hernandez homered with two out in the third and added a run-scoring single in the fifth to extend the lead to 4-0.
Hernan Perez’s run-scoring groundout got Milwaukee within two in the eighth. But Hoskins hit a two-run homer in the ninth and Realmuto followed with his eighth homer.
Chacin (3-6) allowed seven hits, struck out six and walked three in five innings.
Estabrook also tossed Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun in the fourth after the slugger struck out and complained to Estabrook as returned to the dugout.
“Jake Arrieta is really good. His stuff is really good. Today, he was really good. He didn’t need extra help,” Braun said.
Braun was walking to the dugout when he was ejected.
“I’ve said far worse and not gotten thrown out,” Braun said. “I was very surprised that I was thrown out in that situation. Usually, if you get thrown out it’s more confrontational.”
Braun said he remained in the clubhouse after being ejected.
“I sat here and watched the game and saw a lot of pitches that were balls called strikes,” Braun said.
Umpire crew chief Paul Emmel wouldn’t allow a pool reporter to speak with Estabrook. Emmel declined to directly address comments made by the Brewers.
“I’m not going to react to somebody else’s comments,” Emmel said. “We have our system that we’re graded on. We have our technology and we go off that. We’re held accountable for our mistakes.”
Emmel said he couldn’t tell who the aggressor was in the confrontation between Estabrook and Counsell.
“They were touching each other,” Emmel said. “The league will handle that.”