Guerra, Brewers shut down Dodgers

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[June 30, 2016]  MILWAUKEE -- Two rookies, two completely different paths to the big leagues and two incredibly different results.

That was the case Wednesday night at Miller Park, where Junior Guerra turned in the best performance of his career to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 7-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Guerra (5-1), a 31-year-old rookie who spent four seasons out of affiliated baseball before latching on with the White Sox last season, struck out seven and scattered a pair of hits and two walks over a career-high eight innings of work.

"I am pretty sure that was my best start in the big leagues," Guerra said. "Thankfully I was able to locate pitches, throw strikes and help the team win."

He was challenged just once all night, putting runners at the corners with two outs in the first inning. From there, he faced just one over the minimum and needed only 109 pitches to get through the outing.

"That was our best start of the year and certainly (Guerra's) best game of the year," Brewers manager manager Craig Counsell said. "As the game went on he seemed to get better and better. He had everything working, and he just kept getting better really."

Kirk Niewunhuis and Ryan Braun gave Guerra a comfortable cushion to work, driving in Milwaukee's first five runs with a three-run home run and two-run double, respectively.

Those two blasts spoiled the major league debut of Los Angeles' rookie right-hander Brock Stewart, who began the season in Class A then roared through the Dodgers' system before earning his first call-up Wednesday morning.

With a large contingent in the stands from his hometown of Normal, Ill., Stewart (0-1) made quick work of the Brewers, recording the first two strikeouts of his big league career en route to a 1-2-3 inning. But the magic eluded him in the second. Back-to-back one-out bloop singles set the stage for Nieuwenhuis' three-run homer and after retiring Ramon Flores on a fly ball to center, Stewart gave up two more hits and a walk, loading the bases for Ryan Braun who doubled to center to make it 5-0.

Stewart and the Dodgers took a big chance by intentionally walking Jonathan Lucroy, loading the bases with two out for Chris Carter but Stewart escaped by striking out Carter to end the inning.

"Those were two frustrating hits (the weak singles)," Stewart said. "Then, I kind of let it get to me and left some balls up. They don't miss them here, apparently. Tough inning, but, you know what, I was glad I was able to settle down after that."

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Settle down, he did, facing the minimum over his three innings including a pair of strikeouts to wrap up the fifth, giving him seven for the night.

"He bared down and gave us five innings," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. "Self-admitted, he said the game might have sped up on him a little bit but I thought his fastball still had life on it. ... He was getting the curveball over a little bit, the change-up wasn't always getting over for a strike but his fastball had life. He did a nice job."

Braun put an exclamation mark on the day with a two-run home run in the ninth, giving him two of Milwaukee's 12 hits -- eight of which came at Stewart's expense.

"I think we capitalized," Counsell said. "We put runners on base, we put pressure on him right away in the second inning. We made him throw a bunch of stressful pitches that inning. Getting runners on base, making him pitch out of the stretch made a difference for us."

Los Angeles played the final five innings without first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who was ejected for arguing a check-swing with third base umpire Dan Bellino following a fourth-inning strikeout.

NOTES: The Dodgers placed UT Enrique Hernandez on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left rib cage and moved LHP Alex Wood to the 60-day disabled list. ... Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said the "odds are very high" that RHP Julio Urias remains in the rotation until at least the All-Star break. The 19-year-old threw only 80 innings last season because of surgery and has already thrown 74 in 2016 between Triple-A Oklahoma City and Los Angeles. ... Brewers OF Domingo Santana (sore right elbow) isn't expected to return before the All-Star break, manager Craig Counsell said. Santana has been sidelined since June 10 and has yet to take part in baseball-related activities, according to Counsell. ... Milwaukee LF Ryan Braun extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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