Brewers’ victory caps Mike Moustakas’ whirlwind
SAN FRANCISCO — It was quite a trip for Mike Moustakas — from coast to coast, from last place to a pennant race.
And he was all smiles after joining his new Milwaukee Brewers teammates in a victory celebration Saturday night.
Jhoulys Chacin pitched three-hit ball over seven innings, Christian Yelich homered for the second time in three days and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the San Francisco Giants 7-1.
The power-hitting third baseman was having dinner with his wife in New York on Friday night after a rainout at Yankee Stadium when told the Kansas City Royals had traded him to Milwaukee. Moustakas quickly boarded a late flight to join the Brewers in San Francisco.
Manager Craig Counsell wasted no time getting the two-time All-Star into the lineup. Moustakas was put into the third spot in the order Saturday night against the Giants. He played the hot corner while Travis Shaw was moved to second base.
“It was definitely a little jarring yesterday,” Moustakas said. “Obviously when you’ve been somewhere your entire life as a professional baseball player, it’s tough to leave that place.
“I was kind of disappointed I wasn’t able to say goodbye to everybody that put in so much time and effort into making me a better baseball player and a better person. That was the most disappointing part.”
Moustakas had one hit in five at-bats Saturday night.
Chacin (10-3) was masterful while earning his fourth consecutive win. The right-hander yielded one run, struck out six and walked one.
Chacin allowed only two runners and faced one over the minimum until Nick Hundley’s leadoff home run in the sixth. He also gave up a two-out single to Steven Duggar in the sixth and a two-out double to Pablo Sandoval in the seventh.
Lorenzo Cain added four hits for the Brewers, and Eric Thames and Orlando Arcia had two apiece.
The Giants couldn’t keep up and lost their fourth straight.
The Brewers (61-46) beat the Giants for the third straight day to move within a half-game of NL Central-leading Chicago. The Cubs (60-44) lost their second straight to St. Louis.
Taylor Williams and Dan Jennings retired three batters apiece to complete the four-hitter.
The 29-year-old Moustakas batted .249 with 20 home runs and 62 RBIs in 98 games with the Royals this season.
Moustakas found some familiar faces with the Brewers, who are chasing the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs and trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Moustakas and Cain spent seven seasons together in Kansas City and helped the Royals to a pair of World Series appearances and the 2015 championship. Cain joined the Brewers as a free agent in the offseason. Reliever Joakim Soria, acquired this week from the Chicago White Sox, also is a former teammate as is reliever Jeremy Jeffress and catcher Erik Kratz.
The lockers for Moustakas and Cain in the visitors’ clubhouse at AT&T Park were separated by a vacant stall.
Cain, who batted second Saturday night, was excited about reuniting with his former teammate.
“We’ve all seen what he can do,” Cain said. “A great teammate, a great competitor. It adds depth, strengthens our lineup. He’s just going to be a huge hitter for us. I’m glad he’s here. Now we go. We’ll see what happens. At the same we know we’re getting a good player.”
Moustakas was acquired for outfielder Brett Phillips and right-hander Jorge Lopez, a move that adds both power and playoff experience to Milwaukee’s roster.
“He’s a true middle-of-the-order run producer,” Counsell said. “A tough out, high contact, really good power coming from a place that’s a tough place to hit home runs in. There’s a lot of things that are attractive to what we need and what we’re planning on doing.”
“Moose” joins a lineup that features All-Stars Jesus Aguilar, Yelich and Cain.
“When I was in Kansas City, we played these guys and it was already a dangerous lineup,” Moustakas said. “To be able to come in here and join this group and throw my name in with these guys is going to be awesome. I’m excited to get to work and play with some of these great baseball players they have here already.”
With Moustakas in the lineup Saturday night, the Brewers opened with Yelich batting leadoff, switching spots with Cain.
Moustakas hit in the No. 3 hole followed by Aguilar, Shaw, Eric Thames, Kratz, Orlando Arcia and pitcher Jhoulys Chacin.
Shaw had never played second base in his professional career.
“They approached me I guess about a month ago and asked my thoughts about how comfortable I was over there, this and that,” Shaw said. “I feel like I can do a decent job over there. The world’s going to say I can’t do it. I take that challenge to heart. It’s obviously going to make our lineup better, it’s going to make our lineup deeper.
“Moustakas is a good player. He’s won a World Series. He’s a middle-of-the order type of guy. He’s going to extend our lineup, he’s going to give us another left-handed power guy.”Miller designated
With Moustakas entering the fold, the Brewers designated infielder Brad Miller for assignment. Acquired from the Rays last month, Miller hit .230 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 27 games with Milwaukee.
• The team reinstated right-handed reliever Matt Albers (right shoulder) from the 10-day disabled list and optioned outfielder Keon Broxton to Class AAA Colorado Springs.
• The Brewers also re-signed shortstop Erik Sogard, who hit .134 in 55 games with the team this season. He was sent to Class AAA.