Roaring 20: Brewers unleash historic offense
Milwaukee pounds out 25 hits, including four home runs
PITTSBURGH -- Jim Edmonds called it, "crazy." Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun just tried to enjoy it.Edmonds, Fielder and Braun all homered Thursday in a 20-0 rout of the Pirates, as the Brewers stayed historically hot at PNC Park. Milwaukee handed Pittsburgh its worst loss in 124 years as a franchise and finished Major League Baseball's most lopsided three-game sweep in 17 years. It was the only 20-0 game since 1900 and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the fifth-most lopsided shutout in Major League history. That list is topped by a pair of 22-0 games, including a Pirates win over the Cubs in 1975. "It's rare, it's special," Braun said. "In this game, you deal with so much failure, so much adversity, that when you do have a game like this you need to enjoy it. That's the first time in my career, at any level, that I've been a part of a game like this, and there's a good chance it's the last time." Randy Wolf (2-1) pitched six scoreless innings for the win but his outing was almost an afterthought considering all of the offense. Fielder sparked things with a solo home run leading off the second inning, his first this season in his 54th at-bat. Braun finished 3-for-4 with five RBIs and scored three runs. Leadoff man Rickie Weeks was 3-for-7 and scored four times. Edmonds and catcher George Kottaras hit their first Brewers home runs, and Edmonds had four hits, three RBIs and finished a triple shy of the cycle. Even the pitchers got into it. Wolf had two hits and scored twice. Reliever Manny Parra provided a fittingly bizarre finale with a ninth-inning RBI single, the Brewers' 25th hit in the ballgame. Closer Trevor Hoffman needed an inning of work after sitting idle for a full week so he recorded the final three outs to match an 18-year-old franchise record. The 20-run margin tied a mark set Aug. 18, 1992, when the Brewers beat the Blue Jays, 22-2, in Toronto. Thursday marked the widest shutout win in club history, topping the Brewers' 18-0 triumph at Boston on April 16, 1990.
Most lopsided shutouts in MLB history
|Indians 22, Yankees 0||Aug. 31, 2004|
|Pirates 22, Cubs 0||Sept. 16, 1975|
|Yankees 21, A's 0||Aug. 13, 1939*|
|Tigers 21, Indians 0||Sept. 15, 1901|
|Brewers 20, Pirates 0||April 22, 2010|
The Brewers outscored the Pirates in the series by a whopping 36-1 margin, matching the largest run differential in a three-game series since the Tigers handled the Twins in a three-game sweep, 45-10, in April 1993."It's crazy," Edmonds said. "You just keep playing the game and respecting the situation. They're trying and we're trying. Stuff happens. There's a fine line there between [celebrating] and respecting them and respecting the game. Guys are working their butts off and you have to respect the other team. We're not trying to embarrass anybody." This is not football, a spot in which teams routinely are accused of running up the score. But was there any point on Thursday in which Braun felt "bad" about handing the Pirates such a lopsided loss? "I don't think you ever feel bad. You feel fortunate," Braun said. "Everything that could possibly go our way did, and everything that could possible go against [the Pirates], did. Those days are rare." That's good news for Pirates starter Daniel McCutchen (0-2), who lasted only 3 2/3 innings and was saddled with six earned runs on eight hits. "It got a little bit crazy," he said. "It all comes back to me not doing my job. As an opposing pitcher, I gave them all kinds of confidence." The Brewers' confidence has been building all week. Including Sunday's win at Washington and all three games in Pittsburgh, Milwaukee has enjoyed a lead of at least eight runs in four straight games, breaking a franchise record set against the Orioles in the first three games of the 1978 season. Fielder became the latest Brewers player to point to Saturday's 8-0 loss to Livan Hernandez and the Nationals as a turning point. Players decided it was time to have some more fun. "I think we got away from that in the beginning," said Fielder, whose Brewers were sitting on a 4-7 record after the loss to Hernandez. "We didn't have any of our personality at all. It was a little too serious. ... For a while, even when we win, it wasn't us. Now, win or lose we're going to have fun." At that point, Braun walked by and helped Fielder finish his thought: "We have our swagger back," Braun said. "Exactly," Fielder said. "We're not [like] certain teams. We're finally being ourselves." All of the offense may have overshadowed some much-needed pitching gems. The Brewers had not held an opponent to fewer than four runs in any of their first 12 games before doing so in all three games in Pittsburgh, a streak continued Thursday by left-hander Wolf, who scattered six hits in six scoreless innings for the win. The game was still in limbo in the third inning, when Wolf worked into what he termed, "self-made trouble." A Ronny Cedeno double and two, two-out walks loaded the bases for Ryan Church, who represented the tying run. Wolf struck him out looking to end the threat and the Brewers broke the game open in the next half-inning with three more runs. "That was fun to watch," Wolf said. "That was a good series for us. We pitched well and we hit well, and that's a really good combination." Brewers starters Dave Bush, Yovani Gallardo and Wolf combined to allow 12 hits in 18 scoreless innings in the series. The three Pirates starters combined to allow 17 earned runs and 21 hits in 9 2/3 innings. The Brewers scored in 15 of their 27 times at-bat in the series. The Pirates managed one lone run, on back-to-back doubles by Andrew McCutchen and Lastings Milledge on Tuesday. "One run -- I didn't realize that. That's impressive," Edmonds said. "To compete in this league, you have to have pitching and you have to play defense. Offense is last." On Thursday, the Brewers' offense was anything but last.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.