April 19, 2024

Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Rowdy Tellez didn’t take a swing in the team’s 16-1 win Friday night over the Miami Marlins but still had a performance to be remembered.

With the game out of hand, manager Craig Counsell turned to Tellez to finish off the victory, which clinched a postseason trip for the fifth time in six years.

“Cy Young candidate, ya know,” Tellez said after throwing a scoreless ninth inning in which he allowed one hit and one walk and struck out Jesus Sanchez, who swung and missed on a 63 mph fastball.

Tellez said his appearance on the mound came after a quick conversation with Counsell, who asked in the seventh inning if the 6-foot-4, 270-pound slugger can throw strikes.

“I said yes. Absolutely,” Tellez recounted.

Despite having to borrow left-hander Wade Miley‘s glove, Tellez said he didn’t have any nerves and drew inspiration from a Hall of Fame pitcher.

“Sit on the corners, watch [Greg] Maddux work,” Tellez said he told catcher Victor Caratini.

“They’re already tweeting Cy Young candidate,” Tellez jokingly told a teammate.

The win went to 2021 Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes, who threw five scoreless innings and was backed by a 12-run second inning that put things out of reach early.

“Twelve runs — I didn’t know that was possible,” said Burnes, who had not won since July 20. “Obviously, it makes the next innings go a little easier.”

Milwaukee sent 15 batters to the plate in the second 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 Josh Donaldson and Christian 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.

The only teams to clinch playoff berths with more lopsided wins were the 2001 Atlanta Braves and 1996 New York Yankees. Atlanta beat the Marlins by 17 runs, and the Yankees routed Milwaukee by 17.

The Brewers have won four straight and cut their magic number to clinch the National League Central to one.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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