Rojas, Carroll HR, Diamondbacks win; Brewers’ Burnes tops NL in Ks

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MILWAUKEE – Josh Rojas and Corbin Carroll hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Wednesday to close out the season.

Milwaukee starter Corbin Burnes crossed the 200-inning threshold for the first time. The reigning NL Cy Young winner worked three perfect innings and fanned five to finish with a career-high 243 strikeouts. Burnes became the first Brewers pitcher to lead the league in strikeouts.

“He’s had a great season,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s incredible, what he did to follow up a great season with another great season is to be commended and the mark of a great pitcher.”

Along with his strikeout mark, Burnes went 12-8 to set a career high for wins. He also set personal marks with 33 starts and 21 quality starts while posting a 2.94 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, which were just slightly higher than a year ago.

“For me, the main thing is health,” Burnes said. “Making 33 starts this year, going over 200 innings, that’s just attributable to me being healthy, sticking to the routine between outings.”

Arizona starter Merrill Kelly struck out seven over six innings as he surpassed the 200-inning mark for the first time in his career. He allowed one run and four hits.

“There’s probably five pitchers that pitched 200 innings this year,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “It’s a statement about who he is as far as preparation, his ability to execute, rest and recover. He just wants to carry the team and put it on his shoulders. He deserved that opportunity to get that.”

Rowdy Tellez hit his team-leading 35th home run, breaking a 1-1 tie with a solo drive in the Milwaukee eighth off Sean Poppen (2-2).

Christian Walker led off the Arizona ninth with his third hit and Rojas homered off Trevor Gott (3-3). Carroll followed with his fourth homer of the season.

Kevin Ginkel worked a perfect ninth for his first save.

“It was a great way to send us off into the offseason,” Lovullo said. “A perfect way to end the season.”

After losing 110 games to tie Baltimore for baseball’s worst record a year ago, the Diamondbacks improved to 73-88 in 2022.

“We raised the bar in the right direction but we’ve still got work to do,” Lovullo said.

Milwaukee finished 87-75, down from 95-67 last season, when the Brewers won the NL Central before falling to the eventual World Series champion Braves in the NL Division Series.

FINAL TALLY

The Brewers drew 18,765 to their regular-season finale and finished the year with a total attendance of 2,422,460, a significant drop from the 2,923,333 fans who came through the turnstiles in 2019, the last season before COVID-19 restrictions. It was the lowest season attendance for Milwaukee since it drew 2,314,614 in 2016.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Arizona left-hander Caleb Smith left the game in the eighth inning with an apparent left elbow injury.

Lovullo said Smith would get tests Thursday and “we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

UP NEXT

With neither team advancing to the postseason, they’ll return to game action on Feb. 25 when the Brewers host the Dodgers in spring training and Diamondbacks face the Rockies to open Cactus League play in Arizona.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.