The Brewers, having lost a six-game division lead over the last two weeks, came into Saturday’s game with the St. Louis Cardinals needing to win to maintain sole position of first place in the National League Central.
He had a tall order in front of him, facing off against St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright (11-4, 1.79 ERA).
Nelson wasn’t the cure for what ailed the Brewers as the offense didn’t show up, and Nelson got roughed up to the tune of a 10-2 St. Louis win and Milwaukee’s seventh straight loss.
Matt Carpenter led off the game with a single for the Cardinals. Nelson struck out Kolten Wong for the first out, but hit Matt Holliday with a pitch to put two on. Matt Adams flew out to center for the second out, moving Carpenter to third.
Jhonny Peralta singled to center to drive in Carpenter and give St. Louis the 1-0 lead. Oscar Taveras reached on an error by Scooter Gennett, loading the bases for Tony Cruz who singled in Holliday and Peralta to give the Cards two unearned runs and a 3-0 lead. Taveras was out at third on the play to end the inning.
Wainwright put the Brewers down in order in the bottom of the first.
After getting Jon Jay and Wainwright to ground out to open the second, Nelson walked Carpenter ahead of a Kolten Wong home run (6) to give St. Louis a 5-0 lead. Nelson struck out Holliday to end the inning.
With one out in the second Braun broke up Wainwright’s no-hitter with a single to left but that was all the Brewers offense could muster in the inning.
Peralta struck again in the second with a one-out double to right. Two batters later he came in to score on two-out double by Cruz. Jay followed with a single but Nelson struck out Wainwright to end the inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the third Wainwright hit Gomez with a pitch and Gomez stole second two pitches later; he was left stranded on a Gennett ground out.
In the top of the fourth Nelson put the Cardinals down in order for the first time going through the top of the order in Carpenter, Wong and Holliday. Wainwright cruised through Jonathan Lucroy, Aramis Ramirez and Braun in order in the bottom half of the frame.
Adams worked a 10-pitch walk to lead off the fifth inning for St. Louis. Peralta followed with a pop out to Lucroy behind the plate. Taveras singled to center to move Adams to second and end the day for Nelson.
Wainwright followed with a single to center to drive in Taveras and close the book on Nelson. He threw 4 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs, six earned, on eight hits and two walks. He struck out five.
Carpenter followed with a ground ball to Mark Reynolds at first. Reynolds tossed to Gorzelanny for the out, but the runner was called safe. Gorzelanny stopped to argue after the call and Jay came in to score, and Roenicke called for an appeal. On review it was reversed and Carpenter called out to end the inning, erasing Jay’s run.
With two outs in the bottom half of the frame Jeff Bianchi doubled to left. Lyle Overbay came in to hit for Gorzelanny and broke up the shut out with a double to the right field corner, driving in Bianchi. Gomez struck out to end the inning.
Marco Estrada came in to pitch the sixth inning for Milwaukee. Gorzelanny threw 2/3 of an inning and allowed two hits while striking out one. After a quick out to Wong, Holliday reached on an error by Bianchi who bobbled an easy ground ball.
Adams followed with a line drive to right field. Braun got to the ball, but it deflected off his glove and everybody was safe on the error. Peralta flew deep to left field and Khris Davis managed to catch it for the second out.
Holliday scored on the sacrifice fly by Peralta to make it 9-1. Taveras grounded out to end the inning.
Wainwright cruised through Gennett, Lucroy and Ramirez in the bottom half of the frame.
Estrada returned to the mound in the seventh and struck out Cruz to open the frame. Jay followed with a single, and Wainwright drew a walk to put two on for Carpenter.
Carpenter poked a single over third base and bring in Jay and move Wainwright to second. Wong grounded into a double play to short to end the inning with St. Louis up 10-1.
Braun led off the bottom half of the seventh with a double for his second hit of the day. Davis followed with a single to right to drive in Braun. Reynolds popped out to Adams in foul ground for the first out.
Bianchi followed with a fielder’s choice ground out to short. He reached first and Davis was out at second. Logan Schafer came in to pinch-hit for Estrada and grounded out to end the inning with the score 10-2.
Rob Wooten came on for the eighth inning for Milwaukee. Bianchi slid over to third base, and Elian Herrera took over at short. Ramirez got the rest of the game off. Estrada allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits and a walk in two innings.
Wooten worked around a Daniel Descalso walk, for only the second scoreless inning by the Cardinals in the game to that point.
Jason Motte pitched the eighth for St. Louis and put down Gomez, Gennett and Lucroy in order.
Wooten returned to the mound for the ninth inning and put the Cardinals down in order. Wooten threw two innings and allowed just a walk.
Sam Freeman tossed the ninth for St. Louis. He put down Braun, Davis and Reynolds in order to end the game.
Nelson picked up the loss for Milwaukee. Wainwright earned the win for St. Louis. The loss drops the Brewers into a tie with the Cardinals atop the NL Central. The Brewers had been in sole possession of first place since April 9th.