MILWAUKEE (AP) — Even with a chance at history, Jordan Lyles didn’t put up much of a fuss.
Vying to become the second pitcher in Milwaukee Brewers history to throw a no-hitter, Lyles had thrown 99 pitches through six innings. That’s when manager Craig Counsell pulled him and turned to his bullpen to finish the job.
And while Christian Walker’s bloop single off Devin Williams with two outs in the seventh ended the no-hit bid, Lyles had no complaints after the Brewers finished their 6-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.
“I knew (the pitch count) was close to 100,” Lyles said. “If it was through seven, I would have gone back out there. But 100 pitches, I’m not trying to put another 30-40 pitches on my arm.”
Lyles (8-8) struck out five and issued just a pair of walks, both of them to Walker. He improved to 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA in two home outings. Lyles is 3-1 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts since being reacquired by the Brewers ahead of last month’s trade deadline.
“Great effort from Jordan,” Counsell said. “He pitched really, really well.”
Milwaukee staked him to an early lead, scoring three runs in the first inning off Merrill Kelly (9-13). Eric Thames and Keston Hiura bolstered the lead with solo home runs and Lyles contributed with an RBI single.
All six runs were charged to Merrill, who gave up eight hits and four walks while striking out five over 4 1/3 innings.
“He made some bad pitches in the wrong locations and maybe the wrong type of pitch and good hitters make you pay for it,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “I thought his stuff was OK but maybe not the right pitch or right location.”
FLIPPING THE SCRIPT
Kelly looked little like the pitcher who held Milwaukee to a run over seven innings with seven strikeouts last month in Arizona.
“I thought our hitters had a good night and made him work,” Counsell said. “There were 35 pitches on the board after the first inning and he was at 50 after the second. When you make a guy do that, there’s a better chance of him making mistakes when you get guys on base.”
CHANCE AT HISTORY
Lyles was the third pitcher in Brewers history to finish a start without allowing a hit in at least six innings of work. Ben McDonald threw six no-hit innings against Baltimore in 1997 and Juan Nieves pitched the only no-hitter in franchise history against the Orioles in 1987.
This marked the second-longest no-hit bid of Lyles’ career. He threw 7 1/3 perfect innings against the Rockies on May 18, 2018, giving way after Trevor Story’s one-out single in the eighth left him five outs shy of becoming the first pitcher in Padres’ history to throw a no-hitter.
Ketel Marte broke up the shutout bid with an RBI single in the ninth off Jeremy Jeffress, giving him at least one RBI in six straight games. He’s batting .385 during that stretch with eight RBI and a 1.236 OPS.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray felt “fantastic” after throwing a bullpen session and could return to the rotation Sunday for the series finale, Lovullo said.
“Robbie threw the ball extremely well,” Lovullo said. “I went down there and watched and the grunts got louder and more aggressive as the bullpen went deeper and deeper. Everything is trending toward a Sunday start but we’re not going to make that official until we get through this day with him and see how he feels tomorrow.”
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson has been hitting 94 mph with Triple-A San Antonio as he works his way back from elbow soreness that’s left him on the injured list since June 26. Counsell said Nelson has been “pitching well” and is a candidate to rejoin the team when rosters expand next month.
RHP Chase Anderson (5-3, 4.54 ERA) faces his former team Saturday night as the Brewers and Diamondbacks continue their three-game series. Anderson allowed a career-high 10 runs his last time out but is 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA in five career starts against Arizona, which sends RHP Zac Gallen (2-3, 2.45) to the mound.
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