ARLINGTON, Texas — The Milwaukee Brewers have been playing tough against baseball’s best in the closing weeks of a difficult season.
Domingo Santana struck out with the tying runs on base for the final out as the Texas Rangers escaped with a 6-4 interleague victory Tuesday night. The Brewers knocked off the American League West champions in the series opener on Monday night. In their previous road series, they took three of four from the Chicago Cubs.
Manager Craig Counsell said the never-say-die approach from a team that has had a losing record all season comes from throughout the organization.
“That includes the players, for sure, because they’re the ones doing it,” Counsell said. “We try to talk about it, but I think they enjoy it. Playing against these teams helps us because you know there’s something on the line for them.”
Milwaukee was done in on Tuesday by a couple of former Brewers. Carlos Gomez, traded to Houston at the 2015 trade deadline and acquired by Texas five weeks ago, hit a three-run home run in the third inning. Jonathan Lucroy, dealt to the Rangers at this year’s deadline, hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the sixth inning. Lucroy, who played six-plus seasons for the Brewers, pulled a pitch from Jimmy Nelson (8-16) down the left-field line into the corner.
Gomez’s homer followed back-to-back walks to Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus, the bottom two hitters in the Rangers’ lineup.
Nelson, who leads the National League in losses and walks, gave up five runs on four hits and four walks. Three batters who walked scored.
“It was similar to a lot of his nights,” Counsell said of Nelson. “The walks got him in trouble.”
Nelson lamented that if the hit by Lucroy was just about anywhere else across the infield, “we wouldn’t even be talking about it.”
“Extremely frustrated,” Nelson said of the season. “I’ve put in enough work in the season, off-season. All I can do is trust that it’ll turn.”
Chris Carter gave Milwaukee a 2-0 lead in the first inning with his 39th home run.
IS ARCIA ANOTHER ANDRUS?
Counsell cautioned that it’s dangerous to compare still-forming young players to veterans but conceded that he and infield coach Carlos Subero see similarities between rookie shortstop Orlando Arcia and Andrus, Texas’ two-time All-Star and the team’s leading hitter this season at .302.
“It’s not necessarily the on-field attributes as some of the off-field,” Counsell said. “For Orlando, it’s a great series for him to just watch how that guy, his energy on the field and how he goes about it.”
Arcia made his major league debut on Aug. 2 and is hitting .217 in 51 games,
VILLAR APPROACHES HISTORY
Jonathan Villar recorded his 60th steal of the season in the sixth inning. With 18 home runs, he’s in position to join Joe Morgan, Rickey Henderson and Eric Davis as the only major leaguers with 20 or more homers and 60 or more steals in a season.
After the Brewers end their Texas series on Wednesday night, it’ll be on to Colorado and homer-happy Coors Field.
Brewers: Counsell said he gave LF Ryan Braun (sore wrist) a day off on Tuesday and that Braun should play on Wednesday.
Rangers: Shin-Soo Choo (fractured left forearm) went 2-for-5 with a walk, a hit-by-pitch and a steal batting in all seven innings of an instructional league game on Tuesday in Arizona.
Brewers RHP Chase Anderson (9-11), a native Texan who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA over his last 11 starts.
If Rangers LHP Cole Hamels (15-5) pitches at least 6 1/3 innings in what should be his regular-season finale, he’ll reach 200 for the season for the eighth time in 11 years.