The struggling Milwaukee Brewers offense had its work cut out for it Wednesday afternoon when it came up against Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price (11-7, 3.08 ERA).
Price had allowed just six earned runs in his last five starts (39 2/3 innings), and the Brewer offense had scored just two runs in their last three games.
Price played host to Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 3.57 ERA) who threw 7 2/3 innings of shut out baseball in his previous start.
Ramirez led off the second inning with a single up the middle. Rickie Weeks followed with a walk to put two men on for Khris Davis who struck out. Mark Reynolds followed with a walk to load the bases for Maldonado.
Maldonado came through with a single up the middle to bring in Ramirez and Weeks and give Milwaukee a 2-0 early lead.
Gallardo worked a one-two-three inning in the bottom half of the frame to preserve the lead.
Lucroy led off the third with a single to center and Braun followed with a grounder to short that Yunel Escobar bobbled, leaving Lucroy safe at second and putting two men on for Ramirez.
Initially the official scorer called it a hit by Braun but after the inning ended it was changed to an error on Escobar.
Ramirez singled, down 0-2 in the count, to bring in Lucroy and give Milwaukee a 3-0 lead. Weeks followed with a seven-pitch strike out, and Braun was thrown out stealing third on the play. Ramirez moved to second on the play. Price whiffed Davis to end the inning.
Kevin Kiermaier walked and stole second with one out in the bottom of the third. Jennings grounded out to short, moving Kiermaier to third. He was left stranded though as Gallardo struck out Ben Zobrist to end the inning.
Reynolds doubled down the line in right to lead off the fourth inning. Maldonado popped out to Longoria at third while attempting to bunt Reynolds up a base. A Segura whiff and Gomez pop out ended the inning with Reynolds stranded at second.
Gallardo worked perfect innings in the fourth and fifth, and Price threw a perfect inning in the fifth for the Rays.
Davis knocked a ground-rule double down the line in left with one out in the sixth for the first hit by either team in two full innings. He was thrown out at third however on a Reynolds ground ball to short.
Reynolds came around to score on a Maldonado double to extend the lead to four runs.
Gallardo rolled through the bottom of the sixth without issue, going through Kiermaier, Jennings and Zobrist. Price did the same in the top of the seventh, getting through Gomez, Lucroy, and Braun.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh the Rays picked up their first hit since the first inning on a James Loney single. Logan Forsythe followed with a single of his own but an Escobar ground out ended the inning.
Kirby Yates came on to pitch the eighth for the Rays. Price pitched seven innings and allowed for runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out six.
Yates got two quick outs before a Davis ground-rule double to center and into the ray tank. Reynolds walked to put two on for Maldonado who singled to right center for another RBI, his fourth of the day. A Segura strike out ended the inning.
Jeremy Jeffress came on in the eighth for Milwaukee. Gallardo went seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out five.
Jeffress tossed a scoreless eighth. Jose Molina had a leadoff single but was erased on a double play ground out and Jennings grounded out to end the inning.
Jeffress returned to the mound for the ninth. Joyce knocked a one-out single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Longoria singled to right on an inside out swing, moving Joyce to third.
That was it for Jeffress as Roenicke called for Zach Duke to face the lefty Loney. Duke struck him out for the second out but walked Forsythe to load the bases.
That made it a save situation so Roenicke called for Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod struck out Escobar to end the game.
Gallardo got the win and has now thrown 16 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. Price took the loss for the Rays, meaning fickle Brewers fans no longer want to trade for him.