Brewers beat Cubs 5-2 on Victor Caratini's walk-off home run
July 5, 2022
The Brewers initially did not plan to have Caratini on their roster this season. Brewers catcher Pedro Severino tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) during Spring Training, which led to the veteran backstop's acquisition via trade.
When Severino made his Brewers debut on July 4, Caratini started at first base. However, the Brewers decided to retain three catchers on the roster after Severino was ruled ineligible for postseason play.
An eventful ninth inning that saw Chicago's Seiya Suzuki hit an inside-the-park home run and Milwaukee's Christian Yelich walk with two outs ended with Caratini's game-winning homer. Scott Effross pitched a 2-1 sinker to Caratini, who had struck out in his four previous at-bats.
Caratini drove in the second walk-off home run of his career. The same thing occurred when he played for San Diego Padres against Cincinnati Reds' Amir Garrett on June 17, 2021.
The game started as a battle between the two pitchers— Chicago's Justin Steele and Milwaukee's Eric Lauer. However, things went wrong in the ninth inning. Milwaukee's Brad Boxberger, who was ahead in the count on Willson Contreras and Ian Happ, got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 10th by striking them out.
Lauer's last good start was on June 5, when he pitched six innings against the Padres and gave up three runs. Since then, Lauer has done nothing well. He pitched for six innings against the Cubs, gave up just one run, and struck out nine batters.
All season, the Brewers have struggled to hit left-handed pitchers. Nevertheless, their pitchers were able to limit the Cubs' bats. Josh Hader made a rare mistake in the ninth inning that let the Cubs take a 2-1 lead. Yelich came through in the clutch with a walk with two outs and the bases full to tie the game.
After Boxberger pitched a scoreless 10th inning, two Brewers runners were on base when Caratini came up to bat. After going 0 for 4 with four strikeouts in his first four at-bats, Caratini recorded a three-run homer.
The Brewers are currently leading the St. Louis Cardinals by 2.5 games with a 47-35 record. The team won seven of its last ten games.
Brewers officials claimed that Caratini was the fifth major league player since 1900 to strike out in his first four consecutive appearances before blasting a walk-off home run his fifth time up. The other four were David Justice in 2001, Mike Schmidt in 1983, Ray Knight in 1986, and Derek Norris in 2015.
“It’s a really hard sport,” said Caratini. "You know you’re going to fail. [It's] just [a matter of] staying confident, going to [the] next at-bat, knowing that you’ve got another at-bat and have got to be able to fight it, help the team win and move on from there.”
The only other run Chicago scored came in the third inning when rookie Nelson Velázquez homered for the first time in his career. This was the first time in history in the league, according to Stats Perform, where a player hit his first career home run, another hit an inside-the-park home run, and a third hit a walk-off home run.