Brewers lineup shaken, stirred vs. Phils
Hart leads off with triple; Braun protecting Prince from five-hole
PHILADELPHIA -- He's resisted for weeks, but Brewers manager Ned Yost decided Sunday morning that it was finally time to shake things up.Looking for better protection behind cleanup hitter Prince Fielder and desperate to get the man who had been hitting there -- Corey Hart -- out of his late-season funk, Yost bumped Hart all the way up to leadoff and dropped Ryan Braun from third to fifth in the lineup. Ray Durham, who started at second base in place of regular leadoff man Rickie Weeks, batted third. Yost considered putting Durham or No. 2 hitter J.J. Hardy in the five-hole, but instead went with Braun. He hoped the moves would help a team hitting .220 -- including .160 with runners in scoring position -- while losing nine of its first 12 games in September. The Brewers averaged 2.8 runs per game in those dozen contests. "It may sound crazy, but I really see things starting to get back to normal," Yost said. "Prince has had a great series here offensively, at least in his approaches at the plate, and I want somebody behind him. Braun had good at-bats. And I'm trying to get Corey going. Last time I put him in the leadoff spot [last season], he took off." Fielder snapped a 24-game home run drought on Friday night and Braun snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a solo homer on Saturday, the left fielder's first home run since Aug. 30, and his first RBI since Sept. 1. But Hart stayed cold Saturday, and entered Sunday's doubleheader with one hit in his last 22 at-bats (.045). "When you're going bad you try to make things happen, and maybe moves like this will do it," said Hart, who made his sixth start this season and the 72nd of his career as a leadoff hitter. "We've been going so bad that it's not expected, but it's not surprising that the lineups are different. It could be a good thing." Hart led off the game with a triple. He scored on Durham's two-run home run. While he juggled the lineup, Yost stayed firm with his starting rotation. Especially after seeing his team lose the first two games of the series, Yost could have pitched ace CC Sabathia on short rest Sunday, but instead stuck with Jeff Suppan in Game 2. Had he used Sabathia, Suppan or Game 1 starter Dave Bush would have been bumped two more days to Tuesday in Chicago, where Bush would have pitched on three extra days' rest and Suppan on two. The Phillies, meanwhile, did make that move. They pitched Brett Myers in Sunday's nightcap on three days' rest. The Phillies entered the day trailing the Brewers in the National League Wild Card standings by two games. "They had to because of the circumstances," Yost said. "They didn't want to."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.