By The Associated Press
MIAMI — The Milwaukee Brewers spent much of the weekend pitching out of jams in Florida, and their reward was three consecutive one-run wins.
Tim Dillard, a former ICC and Saltillo High standout, and John Axford escaped late-inning threats Sunday, and Josh Wilson homered with two out in the 11th inning to help Milwaukee beat the Florida Marlins for the third day in a row, 6-5.
Dillard (1-0) wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth and pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings. Axford worked the 11th, retiring Gaby Sanchez on a groundout with two on for his 16th save in 18 chances.
“We make it hard on ourselves,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “But we’re finding every way we can to win.”
The Marlins left 11 runners on base and went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position. They’ve stranded 31 runners and gone 5 for 32 (.156) with runners in scoring position in the first three games of the series.
“That has been the story,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “They’re trying too hard, I guess. They have to be more patient. Hopefully we can fix that.”
The Brewers won despite blowing a 5-0 lead. Wilson’s hit off Mike Dunn (4-3) was their first in 5 2-3 innings against Florida’s bullpen.
“You live for those situations,” said Wilson, who was making his first start for the Brewers after being claimed off waivers last month. “It’s late in the game, and you have a chance to win a game or just contribute and help the team, so it was exactly the spot I wanted to be in.”
The Brewers improved to 19-6 since May 9, best in the majors. They have the best home record in the majors, but they arrived in Miami only 9-19 on the road.
The Marlins have lost four games in a row, each by one run.
“It hurts, but we’ve got to bounce back,” Dunn said. “We’ve got to find a way to win, plain and simple. We have to dig, scratch, whatever we have to do to get a win and get out of this.”
Florida has dropped seven of nine since sweeping the World Series champion Giants.
Marlins backup catcher Brett Hayes hit his first career grand slam to tie it at 5 in the sixth, but the Marlins missed a chance to win the game in the ninth.
With the game still tied, Dillard entered and pitched out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam. Sanchez bounced into a forceout at the plate, and Mike Stanton flied to left.
The Marlins also left the bases loaded in the first.
“That’s the way it rolls,” Marlins infielder Wes Helms said. “You go through stretches during the season. We’ve just got to figure out a way to get out of it — maybe take a step back and get the pressure off us and go up there and have fun. Some of us right now are pressing.”
Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer, his 11th of the season and No. 100 for his career.
“It’s great to achieve,” he said. “It’s even better when it comes in a win.”
Weeks also had an RBI single.
Chris Narveson took a shutout into the sixth for Milwaukee but got only one more out. He gave up an RBI double by Sanchez, then departed after walking Greg Dobbs to load the bases.
Marco Estrada struck out the next batter, but Hayes lined a 2-2 pitch into the seats for his second homer of the season.
The Brewers were unfazed.
“Great teams find a way to fight back,” Weeks said. “The way we’ve been doing it — with the hustle and the timely hit — it has been pretty impressive by everyone.”
NOTES: Former Ole Miss standout Chris Coghlan went 0 for 3 against Narveson and is batting .108 (7 for 65) against left-handers. … Prince Fielder went hitless and is 1 for 17 lifetime against Anibal Sanchez. … Axford has converted his past 13 save chances. … Helms singled in the ninth to hike his average as a pinch hitter to .333 (5 for 15). … Wilson also singled and scored in the fourth.