MIAMI -- — Postseason appearances have become a regular accomplishment for the Milwaukee Brewers lately.
Milwaukee, assured at least a National League wild card, trimmed its magic number to one for wrapping up the NL Central title. The Brewers, who have won four straight, can secure the crown with another victory Saturday over Miami or a loss by the Chicago Cubs to Colorado.
It's the fifth postseason trip in six years for the Brewers — by far the best stretch in franchise history.
“The way we’ve played and the confidence these guys have in each other, it’s a playoff team,” manager Craig Counsell said. “We deserve to be there the way this team has played the last six weeks.”
The defeat dropped the Marlins one game behind the Cubs for the third and final NL wild card.
Yelich also launched a three-shot in the sixth as he returned to the lineup after missing 11 of the previous 12 games because of lower back tightness.
“You haven’t seen game action for a few weeks and you kind of don’t know where your timing is going to be,” Yelich said. “Took a bunch of swings the last few days and checked the health boxes.”
Corbin Burnes (10-8) benefited from the early run support and scattered two hits over five scoreless innings. He struck out six. The 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner had not won since July 20.
“Twelve runs – I didn’t know that was possible,” Burnes said. “Obviously, it makes the next innings go a little easier.”
Milwaukee sent 15 batters to the plate against relievers Steven Okert (3-2) and Bryan Hoeing during the second-largest inning in team history. The Brewers scored 13 runs in the fifth to beat the California Angels 20-7 on July 8, 1990.
Two-run homers by Donaldson and Yelich started and capped the scoring. Mark Canha also hit a two-run double, Carlos Santana and Blake Perkins added RBI doubles, and William Contreras, Sal Frelick and Brice Turang had run-scoring singles. In his second at-bat of the inning, Donaldson had another RBI with a groundout.
“We had great at-bats, took what was available, walks, going first to third, running the bases well and obviously a couple of big swings there,” Yelich said. “Just proud of the guys tonight and hope to keep it going.”
Miami’s Luis Arraez was hitless in one at-bat as his major league-leading batting average stayed at .354. Arraez missed the previous two games because of a left ankle sprain and was replaced after the Brewers built the early double-digit lead.
Jon Berti homered for Miami in the eighth.
“I think everybody just wants to eat, get the hell out of here and come back (Saturday),” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “Do the best they can to flush it and try to win a game.”
Marlins opener JT Chargois was lifted after getting two outs and walking two in a bullpen game for Miami.
The Brewers also had a lopsided win over Miami in the first game of their series in Milwaukee on Sept. 11. They scored five runs in the sixth inning of a 12-0 rout.
ODD MOUND MATCHUP
Position players Jacob Stallings of Miami and Rowdy Tellez of Milwaukee were the last pitchers used — and neither allowed a run. Stallings featured a combination of changeups and slow curves clocked under 50 mph to throw two scoreless innings. Tellez got the final three outs in the ninth to secure the postseason spot.
Marlins RHP Sandy Alcantara (right forearm flexor strain) experienced forearm tightness after his four-inning rehab outing Thursday with Triple-A Jacksonville. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is returning to Miami for evaluation.
Brewers RHP Brandon Woodruff (5-1, 1.89 ERA) will start the middle game of the series Saturday. LHP Jesús Luzardo (10-9, 3.68) goes for the Marlins.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB