Lopez atones: Hustle sets tone for Brewers rout
On Wednesday, Brewers second baseman Felipe Lopez drew boos from the Miller Park after dropping what should have been an inning-ending pop-up. Two days before that, he let two ground balls get by. A little more than a week before that, he failed to run hard to first base.
On Thursday, Lopez’s hustle was perhaps the key to the Brewers’ blowout win.
Lopez beat out a ground ball to first base leading off the bottom of the first inning and his dash sparked an eight-run inning. Had Lopez not hustled out of the box, Ryan Braun’s home run two batters later would have been a solo shot, and Prince Fielder’s strikeout that followed would have ended the inning with the Brewers ahead, 1-0. Instead, the two batters following Fielder worked walks and the Brewers went on to open an 8-0 lead against Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez.
“Everybody got excited,” Lopez said. “It kind of gave everybody a little energy, and that’s nice.”
Brewers manager Ken Macha had a brief — very brief — chat with Lopez before batting practice on Friday and essentially reminded the player to hustle. Was that in the back of Lopez’s mind in the first inning?
“No,” Lopez said, “because what we talk about stays in here. We just go out and perform.”
What did Macha think?
“[The chat] probably had no effect. No effect at all,” Macha said. “When he came in, everybody was saying, ‘Way to hustle.’ That maybe put a little underline, that’s all. He came out and played a good game today. That comes from within him. He did a good job, set the tone, and we ended up with eight runs in that inning.”