MILWAUKEE — With starting pitcher Brent Suter placed on the disabled list, the Milwaukee Brewers yanked former Cumberland ace Aaron Wilkerson back from Triple-A Colorado Springs for a Saturday start against the Atlanta Braves.
Making his first-ever home start at Miller Park, Wilkerson allowed five straight one-out runners as the Braves grabbed a 2-0 lead on Johan Camargo’s single.
But the right-hander left the bases loaded in the inning and retired 14 of the final 16 Braves he faced in absorbing the 5-1 loss.
Wilkerson, who was optioned back to Colorado Springs on Sunday, allowed the two runs on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts in five innings.
“He gave up three ground balls that first inning,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell told MLB.com. “He did his job, for sure. Five good innings. He kept us in the game.”
A key play came with one out when Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies was originally called out on a grounder to the right side of the infield with Wilkerson covering first base. But the Braves challenged the call and Albies was ruled safe, igniting the big inning.
“That play Albies beats out, it’s a different inning if starts with two out and nobody on,” Counsell said. “He did a nice job. He had to work hard to get through that first inning, but he got pretty locked in after that.”
“I felt like I was in position to get there,” Wilkerson said. “I got my steps mixed up a little bit, and trying to judge who was throwing and fielding the ball. It was another little key factor there that turned that first inning.”
Wilkerson was first called up to Milwaukee on July 1 and made a relief appearance that afternoon in Cincinnati. He surrendered five runs in his first inning, including a Jose Peraza grand slam, before settling down to pitch three scoreless inning in a mop-up role in the Reds’ rout.
He was returned to the minors following the game but was recalled as left-hander Suter was placed on the disabled list.
In eight Triple-A appearances, including seven starts, for Colorado Springs, Wilkerson is 2-2 with a 2.08 earned-run average despite two trips to the disabled list this season.
Adam McCalvy of MLB.com contributed to this report.