Nelson, Brewers wrap up spring with 5-4 win over White Sox

MILWAUKEE — Jimmy Nelson is heading into the regular season on a high note after making a point to stay ahead of hitters in spring training.

The right-hander pitched five innings of one-run ball in his final start before the season, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit his fourth homer of the spring and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4 on Saturday.

The Brewers won the game with one out in the bottom of the ninth when minor leaguer Kyle Wren singled through a drawn-in infield off Chicago's Connor Walsh to drive home Jett Bandy from third.

Nelson provided the Brewers a solid start. After starting the second game of the season last year, Nelson will begin 2017 slotted into the fifth spot. He's hoping to rebound after going 8-16 last season with a 4.62 ERA.

"Good approach for him, good sinker, good slider behind the count," catcher Manny Pina said. "I think the bigger thing for him is to keep throwing the first pitches for strikes."

Nelson struck out three and allowed two hits, including a homer in the first to third-place hitter Melky Cabrera.

The White Sox had tied the game with two runs in the top of the ninth. Jose Abreu had an RBI double in the inning and also had a solo shot in the seventh.

Abreu finished the spring with hits in seven of his last eight games, including three home runs.

"I've been feeling much more comfortable the last two weeks," the cleanup hitter said through an interpreter. "I spoke with (manager Rick Renteria) because I wanted to get a specific number of at-bats before the season started. I got it and I'm ready for the season to start."


The game was delayed for about 10 minutes in the ninth after Chicago's Nicky Delmonico collided with Brewers catcher Rene Garcia after the throw home went to the left of the plate.

Garcia appeared to be favoring his left leg and upper body before he was immobilized and carted off the field in a stretcher. Manager Craig Counsell said he was taken to a hospital, where he was being evaluated for possible injuries to his head, neck and left knee.

"Big damper for sure," Counsell said. "He's trying to make a play at the ball and he and the runner got there at the same time."


White Sox: Manager Rick Renteria announced before the game that IFs Yolmer Sanchez, Matt Davidson and Leury Garcia, IF/OF Cody Asche and RHP Michael Ynoa had made Chicago's opening day roster. Ynoa took the loss on Saturday after hitting Bandy with a pitch to lead off the ninth.

Brewers: Taylor Jungmann, a former starter competing for a spot in the bullpen, allowed the White Sox to tie the game in the ninth on three hits and a walk. The right-hander otherwise had a good spring after entering Saturday with a 1.26 ERA in 12 appearances.


White Sox: Anthony Swarzak or Dylan Covey could be in the mix to hold down a starting spot with left-hander Carlos Rodon (left biceps) expected to start the year on the disabled list. Because of off days, the White Sox may not need a fifth starter for a couple weeks. Swarzak pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief on Saturday.

"We're still working the details out. We still have some time. We've been stretching them out," Renteria said before the game.

Brewers: SP Matt Garza (right groin) and C Andrew Susac (upper back) are expected to start the season on the disabled list.


White Sox: LHP Jose Quintana starts on opening day at home on Monday against Detroit. Quintana was 13-12 last season with a 3.20 ERA.

Brewers: RHP Junior Guerra, who starts Monday at home against Colorado, has gone from journeyman to opening day starter in less than a year. Guerra was 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 20 starts in 2016.