MILWAUKEE (AP) — Matt Garza knew his fellow starting pitchers had set the bar high during the first two games of Milwaukee’s three-game series with Baltimore.
The veteran right-hander continued the trend of strong starts by pitching into the seventh inning to lift the Brewers to a sweep of the Orioles with a 4-0 victory Wednesday night.
Garza scattered five hits with two walks and four strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings for his first scoreless outing of the season.
Oliver Drake, Jared Hughes and Corey Knebel completed the shutout with 2 2/3 innings.
Brewers starters Brent Suter, Jimmy Nelson and Garza did not allow an earned run and combined for 20 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings in the sweep.
“Certainly, that was the key to the series,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Our starters did an outstanding job. We basically pitched with a lead the entire series. They did a heck of a job.”
Garza (4-4) ran into trouble in the second inning after the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs. The veteran right-hander escaped by striking out Ruben Tejada and pitcher Jayson Aquino (1-2) before getting Seth Smith to fly out to right field.
“It was a big momentum shift for us,” Garza said. “It was awesome. I was able to sneak out of it. I really took off from there. I got my mechanics back in order in the third and I felt like I was in control from there on out.”
An error by Orioles third baseman Manny Machado allowed Travis Shaw to score to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead in the second.
Ryan Braun doubled to start the fourth inning and came in to score on a single by Domingo Santana. Two batters later, Keon Broxton connected to the deepest part of the ballpark in left-center field.
Called up from Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday to make a spot start in place of Chris Tillman, Aquino allowed four runs (three earned) and five hits with seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings in his second career start.
The Orioles scored just three runs in the series, two of which were aided by errors by the Brewers.
“I tend to give credit to their pitching,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “They are playing well, that is why they are in first place. We are not doing many things well.”
Knebel struck out the side in the ninth to extend his streak of consecutive games with a strikeout to 41.
Orioles closer Zach Britton was greeted rudely in his first appearance after missing 56 games with a left forearm strain.
Activated from the DL on Wednesday, Britton pitched a scoreless but eventful seventh inning.
Orlando Arcia led off the inning with a shot up the middle that hit off Britton’s glove and caromed to shortstop Tejada.
“It hit the glove, just kind of jammed me a little bit,” Britton said. “Figures that is how it would go, the first one (back) right?”
Orioles: 1B Chris Davis (right oblique strain) is likely to begin a rehab assignment over the All-Star break with the intention of returning when the Orioles resume play on July 14. Tillman was placed on the paternity list Wednesday. Tillman and his wife, Christina, welcomed their first child, Charlotte, on Tuesday evening. … To clear room for Britton, RHP Tyler Wilson was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk and INF Ryan Flaherty was transferred to the 60-day DL.
Brewers: INF Eric Sogard was out of the lineup again Wednesday due to foot soreness. Counsell said the club would give Sogard another few days before considering a stint on the DL. … RHP Wily Peralta (strained right calf) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Colorado Springs on Wednesday.
Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy (8-7, 4.02 ERA) will start Baltimore’s series opener at Minnesota on Thursday. He is coming off his shortest start of the season, lasting just four innings and allowing five earned runs in a 10-3 loss to the Rays on July 1.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (9-4, 5.03) pitches against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Thursday. It is a makeup game from a cancellation due to the threat of rain on May 20. Davies was hit for five runs in five innings by the Cubs on April 9.
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