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All-Star Christian Yelich on a tear as Brewers close Rockies series

The previous two times Christian Yelich was an All-Star, he was one of the best players in the game.

Yelich is headed back to the Midsummer Classic for the first time since 2019 and celebrated the occasion Wednesday with a tape-measure homer. On Thursday, he will look to help the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Colorado Rockies for the third straight night to complete a four-game series in Denver.

Yelich and catcher William Contreras were tabbed All-Star Game starters Wednesday by prevailing in the second phase of fan balloting.

Yelich is enjoying a revival season with a .333 batting average, nine homers and 37 RBIs in 61 games. He would be the leading hitter in the majors but doesn’t yet have enough at-bats to qualify after being sidelined with a back injury earlier this season.

Now 32, Yelich knows he’s not the same player as his phenomenal two-season run in 2018-19 when he was NL MVP the first season and runner-up the second. He won the batting title both seasons and combined for 80 homers, 207 RBIs, 52 steals and 218 runs.

In ensuing seasons, Yelich has never reached 20 homers or 80 RBIs. The shortened 2020-pandemic season was the low point when he batted .205.

He also has dealt with continued back pain.

“It’s been definitely an interesting journey for me the last few years,” Yelich told reporters. “A lot of ups and downs, and that’s baseball in a nutshell, really. …

“I’ve had really good moments, I’ve had some tough years when I probably didn’t do as well as I wanted to or knew I could have. I battled some things, and it’s kind of just came full circle. So, it’s pretty cool.”

Contreras, now a two-time All-Star sounded happier for Yelich than himself.

“He deserves it,” Contreras said. “Everybody knows who Christian Yelich is. Everybody knows what he can do on the field and off the field. He deserves this because he’s killing it and he’s healthy. I always say that’s the biggest thing. If you have your health, you’re going to be good.”

Yelich was 2-for-3 with a 446-foot homer on Wednesday as the Brewers blanked the Rockies 3-0. The victory was Milwaukee’s eighth in 10 games.

Colorado has lost seven of its past nine games. The Rockies were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position while being shut out for the ninth time this season.

Jake Cave, Brenton Doyle and Brendan Rodgers each had two hits for Colorado.

“We couldn’t bunch them together,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “That’s been a little bit of our issue the entire season, just our run production.”

Milwaukee rookie Tobias Myers (5-2, 3.26 ERA) and Colorado’s Cal Quantrill (6-6, 3.78) are scheduled to square off Thursday night in a battle of right-handers.

Myers, 25, served notice of his potential by allowing one hit over eight shutout innings against the Detroit Tigers on June 7. That was the first in a string of four straight winning starts in which he gave up a total of two runs and 13 hits over 25 1/3 innings.

In his most recent turn, Myers received a no-decision Saturday while giving up three runs and seven hits in six innings against the Chicago Cubs.

Quantrill won six of seven decisions before going winless over his last three outings. He is 0-2 with a 6.06 ERA during the stretch.

Quantrill lost to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday when he allowed five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. He served up a season-worst three homers.

Quantrill’s lone career appearance against Milwaukee came in relief in 2020 as a member of Cleveland when he pitched two-thirds of a scoreless inning.

–Field Level Media

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