MILWAUKEE — Tyrone Taylor said he was reacting on instinct, but he couldn’t have planned his slide home any better.
The Milwaukee Brewers were tied with the Miami Marlins in the fifth inning Thursday when Taylor attempted to score from second on Sal Frelick’s single. Although the throw from right fielder Jesús Sánchez beat him to the plate, Taylor avoided catcher Jacob Stallings’ tag and slid home with the go-ahead run in the Brewers’ 4-2 victory.
“I think it’s all instinctual,” said Taylor, who also hit two RBI doubles. “It’s nothing I really think of. It’s just trying to avoid it, really.”
Taylor initially was ruled out, but the call was overturned after replays showed he had eluded the tag attempt. Taylor went to his left to avoid Stallings’ glove, then put his right hand on the plate.
He was asked after the game how good he was at playing tag as a child.
“I don’t know if I was good, but I definitely played a lot of it with the kids on my street growing up,” Taylor replied.
Milwaukee won three of four against the Marlins this week and extended its NL Central lead to 4 1/2 games over the Chicago Cubs. The Marlins, who scored only five runs the entire series, remain just outside of playoff position as they pursue one of the NL’s three wild-card spots.
“The thought kind of going in is these are two teams that pitch very well, runs are going to be at a premium,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “The last three games, that’s what we saw.”
Milwaukee broke through in the fifth against Eury Pérez, the 6-foot-8 rookie who had kept the Brewers off balance up until that point. Counsell said Pérez is “going to have a great career” and called him “probably the best, the best young pitcher that we’ve seen.”
“Dude, you see how tall he is from the dugout, but I got into the batter’s box, and I was like, ‘Holy crap, this guy’s a monster up there,’” Taylor said. “It felt like he was releasing the ball from home plate.”
The Brewers trailed 2-1 when Andruw Monasterio hit a leadoff single. Monasterio moved to second on Brice Turang’s bunt and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Taylor’s double to left.
Frelick’s hit that scored Taylor ended the day for Pérez, who allowed five hits, three runs and no walks in 4 2/3 innings. Pérez called it an outing he could learn from and said the biggest lesson was the importance of staying ahead in the count.
Pérez struck out seven to increase his season total to 106 in 18 starts and 89 1/3 innings.
“Very excited and proud for that achievement,” Pérez said through a translator. “I’m looking for more milestones, to be honest. I’m looking forward to more of those. I was very excited. I was waiting for that moment.”
The Brewers extended their lead to 4-2 in the seventh against Steven Okert. Turang hit a leadoff single, stole second and came home on Taylor’s double to left.
Brewers starter Adrian Houser, who had been dealing with an elbow issue, came off the injured list and made his first appearance since Aug. 27. Houser (6-4) struck out five and allowed five hits and two runs in five innings.
Elvis Peguero, Abner Uribe, Joel Payamps and Devin Williams combined to allow one hit and one walk in four innings of shutout relief. Williams retired the side in order in the ninth for his 34th save in 38 opportunities.
Brewers LF Christian Yelich missed his sixth straight game with a sore lower back. Counsell said after the game he anticipates that Yelich will be in the lineup Friday. … OF Mark Canha sat out a second consecutive game with a sore left wrist.
The Brewers made room for Houser by optioning RHP Colin Rea to Triple-A Nashville.
Marlins: Begin a three-game home series with the NL East champion Atlanta Braves. RHP Johnny Cueto (1-4, 6.15 ERA) pitches for the Marlins and RHP Bryce Elder (12-4, 3.38) starts for the Braves on Friday.
Brewers: Stay home to begin a three-game series with the Washington Nationals on Friday. The scheduled starting pitchers are LHP Wade Miley (7-4, 3.30) for the Brewers and RHP Jake Irvin (3-5, 4.20) for the Nationals.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB