Bullpen Can’t Hold Back Cards After Great Start by Matt Garza


Aug 3, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza (22) throws to St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Peter Bourjos (8) during the third inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers, having split the first two games of the series, came into Sunday looking for a series win again Central Division rivals the St. Louis Cardinals.

In that effort they sent Matt Garza (7-7, 3.74 ERA) to take on Cardinal John Lackey (11-7, 3.60 ERA) in Lackey’s first start with the Red Birds.

The Brewers were without Jean Segura and Scooter Gennett in the starting line up as both middle-infielders were battling nagging injuries; Elian Herrera and Rickie Weeks started in their places.

After his 1/3 inning long outing on July 19th, Garza had allowed just two runs in his last two starts, covering 15 innings of work. He was great again today, tossing six shut out innings, but he was pulled early and the bullpen blew the game en route to a 3-2 loss.

Second guessing Ron Roenicke is something of a cottage industry for Milwaukee Brewers bloggers, and the reaction to him pulling Garza after only six innings of one-hit baseball was nearly universal derision.

The Brewers offense didn’t help their pitcher or manager much, scoring just two runs in the game after starting off well.

Ryan Braun knocked a two-out double down the line in right after quick outs to Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy. Aramis Ramirez followed with a single to left to bring Braun home and give Milwaukee the early lead.

Ramirez moved to second on a wild pitch with Weeks batting but Weeks struck out to end the inning.

After a scoreless inning for the Cardinals in the bottom of the first, Mark Reynolds led off the second inning with a home run (19) to straight-away left field, giving Milwaukee a 2-1 lead.

Garza plunked Matt Adams to lead off the second inning but he was erased two pitches later on a Jhonny Peralta double-play ground out. A.J. Pierzynski flew out to end the Cardinal second.

After a Gomez whiff to open the third inning, Lucroy singled to left to keep the pressure on Lackey. Braun followed with a single up the middle to put two on for Ramirez who grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Neither team managed another base runner through the rest of the third or fourth innings. Garza faced the minimum through four for Milwaukee, with the hit-by-pitch against Adams as the only Cardinal base runner.

Elian Herrera became the first base runner in two innings when a bunt that went through the legs of Lackey at the mound for an error on the Cardinal pitcher.

After showing bunt on the first pitch he saw, but taking it outside, Garza flew out to right for the first out of the inning. Gomez flew out to shallow center for the second out.

With Lucroy batting Herrera stole second, but Lucroy flew out to right-center to end the inning with Herrera stranded at second.

Adams broke up the no-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning with a sharp grounder down the line in right that Reynolds couldn’t get to. It was a double for Adams.

A strike out of Peralta and ground outs by Pierzynski and Oscar Taveras and Garza was out of the fifth with the Crew still on top 2-0.

Lackey had another three-up, three-down inning in the top of the sixth, going through Braun, Ramirez and Weeks. Garza matched him and set the Cardinals down in order in the bottom half of the frame.

With two outs in the top of the seventh Herrera singled to right. For some reason Ron Roenicke pinch hit for Garza with Lyle Overbay. Garza had only given up one hit and was only at 71 pitches in the game.

Garza was ready to hit for himself, and Telly Hughes reported on Fox Sports broadcast that he wasn’t happy when Roenicke called him back for the pinch hitter so it didn’t appear to be an injury issue.

Overbay knocked a single to left to put two on for the top of the order but Gomez popped out to third to end the inning with no damage done.

Zach Duke came on to pitch the bottom of the seventh for Milwaukee. Garza allowed no runs on one hit and no walks in six innings of work. He hit a batter and struck out four.

Duke got Kolten Wong to ground out before a Matt Holliday solo home run (12) to center field to bring the Cardinals within one. Adams followed with a single to center and end Duke’s day as Roenicke called for Jeremy Jeffress.

Peralta singled to center off Jeffress to put two men on. Pierzynski tied the game with a single to right to bring in Adams. Taveras followed with a single of his own to bring in Peralta and give St. Louis a 3-2 lead.

Peter Bourjos bunted back to the mound for the second out of the inning and Jeffress struck out Daniel Descalso to end the inning.

Pat Neshek came on to toss the eighth for St. Louis. After ground outs by Lucroy and Braun, Ramirez singled to left to give the Brewers some life against the dominating reliever, but Neshek came back to strike out Weeks to end the inning.

Will Smith came on to pitch the bottom of the eighth for Milwaukee. Carpenter led off with a line out to Gomez before a Wong ground out to short.

Wong dove head-first into first, and it looked like their may be a replay review, but Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny accepted the out. Holliday lined out to center to end the inning.

Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal entered the game in the ninth, looking to steal a win from the Brewers. Khris Davis led off the inning with a single to right.

Rosenthal came back and struck out Reynolds for the first out. Herrera worked a six pitch walk to put two on for Scooter Gennett, pinch-hitting for Will Smith.

Gennett struck out for the second out of the inning, bringing up Gomez who also struck out to end the game.

Jeffress took the loss for Milwaukee, and Lackey earned the win for the Cardinals with Rosenthal picking up the save.

Milwaukee will get an off day on Monday before going back home for three games with the Giants and three games with the Dodgers.