Milwaukee – (That’s how I start these things, right?)
Tonight at Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers hosted the NL Central Division-leading St. Louis Cardinals in the first of a four-game set.
The third inning was particularly hospitable to the redbirds as they brought 11 men to the plate and scored six times. It was a rough and often unlucky inning for Wily Peralta who broke multiple bats, and was blooped, flared, and papercut to death by the Cards. There were a couple of hard hit balls as well but the majority of safe strokes would qualify for the “Punch & Judy” Hall of Fame. The six runs that the Cardinals scored in the inning would be all they got for the night, which added even more to the feelings of frustration.
After the game, Roenicke talked about the troublesome inning for Peralta.
“You see weird things and it’s not always fair,” said Roenicke. “(Peralta was) okay. It was definitely not as bad as what those numbers look like.”
As for Peralta’s repertoire, Roenicke admitted that, “his offspeed stuff wasn’t as sharp as I think he needs to get it to. He needs to be able to throw a slider for a strike when he needs to and he needs to be able to bounce it when he needs to. His change ups he’s got to mix in more. His sinker is still really good. I thought it was down most of the night.”
Peralta would eventually get out of the third and pitch into the fifth before putting two on in the fifth. Alfredo Figaro entered and only allowed one hit over the next 2.2 innings.
Peralta for his part understood that he made a bunch of good pitches in the third inning getting a couple of broken bats and suffering several weak hits but that it was obviously the difference in the game.
“This inning (was) the difference in the game”, said Peralta. He said it was particularly upsetting to give up so many consecutive hits with two outs.
He credited the bullpen for allowing the offense a chance to win. “The bullpen did a good job and (held) there.”
As for St. Louis, Jake Westbrook did what Jake Westbrook does on the mound and allowed some baserunners, but only three consecutive fourth inning singles from Weeks, Gomez, and Maldonado were able to scratch a run across off of the Cardinal veteran.
Luckily, “veteran” in this case also means “old” and Westbrook was lifted after 6.0 innings pitched for Joe Kelly. All Kelly did was get charged with two runs in 0.2 IP (raising the 8.31 ERA he entered the game with), and force Cardinal manager Mike Matheny to call on Mitchell Boggs. The new right-hander walked two — the first loaded the bases, the second scored the second run off Kelly — without recording an out. Matheny had to go get Trevor Rosenthal then who struck out Martin Maldonado to end the threat.
Tom Gorzelanny continued the quality work out of the bullpen this evening with a quick and clean 8th inning.
Rosenthal stayed in for the 8th inning. He got the scuffling Alex Gonzalez to pop out in foul territory to Yadier Molina, but then Blake Lalli scalded one what had to be a good 25 feet between a bewildered Molina and Rosenthal. Norichika Aoki reached on an error with one down, but resident hero Jean Segura could not come through on this night as he struck out swinging, chasing a high fastball.
That brought Ryan Braun to the plate as the new tying run, and he singled up the middle to plate Lalli and put Aoki on third. The legend of Yuni B 2013 took a hit though as he struck out swinging to end the inning. Still, that made the score 6-4 in favor of the Cardinals heading to the 9th.
The 9th saw Burke Badenhop get Carlos Beltran to bounce back to him, strike out Matt Holliday, and break the bat of Allen Craig on a soft liner to Segura.
The last of the ninth, and the game, belonged to Edward Mujica and the Cardinals though. Weeks attempted to cut the lead in half but his deep drive to RF was hit about 30 feet too far left. Gomez singled and eventually would steal second. After Maldonado struck out looking, Gonzalez came through with an RBI single to CF.
That allowed Ron Roenicke to send up Jonathan Lucroy to pinch-hit. Unfortunately, Lucroy would strike out to end the game with the Brewers falling a run short.
After the game, Josh Prince was optioned down to the Nashville Sounds where he will get a chance to play every day. He admitted that at least a part of him was excited to play regularly again.
“That’s what I love to do is play the game. But there’s no better place to play than (the big leagues).”
Prince will work defensively at multiple positions in preparation for his eventual return.
The move opens up a spot on the roster for the returning Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez will rejoin the team officially on Friday and be active for that evening’s game.