Brewers playoff hopes take a hit in 6-0 loss to Cincinnati

The Milwaukee Brewers playoff chances are on life support. That’s after veteran Homer Bailey pitched seven scoreless innings for the Cincinnati Reds in a 6-0 win at Miller Park on Wednesday night.

“You got to earn these wins,” manager Craig Counsell said. “Tonight we didn’t do much on both sides — starting pitching (wise) and offensively we didn’t do well enough to give ourselves a chance.”

The game got away from Milwaukee in the third inning, as the Reds roughed up Brandon Woodruff by posting five runs, including a solo homer from catcher Tucker Barhart. Woodruff lasted just 2 1/3 innings and dropped to 2-3 on the year.

Bailey, meanwhile, scattered four hits over his outing and Milwaukee never managed an extra base hit in the game as the Brewers lost to the Reds for a fourth time in five games.

For Milwaukee, the loss dropped the Crew 2 ½ games back of Colorado for the final wild card spot in the National League with just four games to play.

The Brewers and Reds will close out their series Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.

Travis Shaw’s 2-run walk-off HR pushes the Brewers past Chicago

Faced with the same extra innings situation they had been in the last two nights, the Milwaukee Brewers were determined to change the outcome on Saturday — and they did.

After watching the Chicago Cubs score in the top of the 10th inning in each of the last two games and go on to win, manager Craig Counsell’s club once again faced a deficit when they came to the plate at Miller Park in the 10th. But instead of just accepting a fourth straight loss, the Brewers kept their playoff hopes alive thanks to a 2-run, walk-off homer by Travis Shaw for a 4-3 win.

It was a 1-1 game until the top of the eighth inning when Kris Bryant drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and it stayed that way heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Two things were going against the Brewers at that point — closer Wade Davis hadn’t blown a save in 2017 and Milwaukee hadn’t won a game when trailing after eight innings all year. Shortstop Orlando Arcia took care of the first part with a solo homer, and then, after Chicago got an RBI single from Jon Jay in the 10th inning, Shaw took care of the second part following up a Ryan Braun double with his 31st homer of the year and the win.

The victory guaranteed the Brewers would have a winning record, the first time since 2014. It also kept them in the race for the second wild card in the National League, as they pulled even with St. Louis, sitting 1 1/2 games behind Colorado. Both of those teams had yet to play Saturday.

Milwaukee will try to get the split of its four-game series with the Cubs on Sunday afternoon.

Milwaukee blows late lead, loses 5-3 in 10 innings to Chicago

For a second straight night the Milwaukee Brewers lost in agonizing fashion, this time a 5-3 setback to the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs.

Manager Craig Counsell’s club took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning against the defending World Series champions, only to see shortstop Javy Baez drive in the tying run off of Jeremy Jeffress with two strikes and two down.

“(Jeffress) did a great job. He did exactly what he was supposed to do,” Counsell said. “He threw a ball on the last pitch (to Baez), that looked to me like it was just off the ground, and (Baez) just rolled a ball up the middle.”

Milwaukee loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, but couldn’t get a run across. In the 10th, Chicago’s Kris Bryant drilled what proved to be the game-winning 2-run homer off of Oliver Drake.

The loss came a night after the Brewers blew a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning to Pittsburgh, who went on to win the game 6-4.

“Two tough games,” Counsell said of the missed opportunities. “We’re still sitting, to me, in a pretty good spot, where we can play well for the last nine days and still do something good. Every loss is going to be incredibly tough right now.”

Chicago pushed its lead in the NL Central to 4 ½ games on the second-place Brewers, and while it seems a bit much to ask to catch the Cubs, Milwaukee is still, like Counsell said, in good shape playoff-wise. That’s thanks to Colorado, which has lost three straight and still holds just a one-game lead on the Brewers, with St. Louis a ½ game back of them.

“Having multiple options to get into the playoffs is nice, but (this) is a big series regardless of that wild card issue,” pitcher Zach Davies said. “We’ve got three games left (with the Cubs). We’ll take it to them the next three.”

Milwaukee and Chicago will play game No. 2 of the four-game series at Miller Park on Friday night with first pitch coming at 6:35 p.m.

Brewers beat Pittsburgh, gain ground in playoff chase

The Milwaukee Brewers are within two games of the Colorado Rockies and the final wild-card spot in the National League. That’s after manager Craig Counsell’s crew went on the road Monday night and got a 3-0 shutout win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“We don’t have a lot of margin for error,” Counsell said of his team’s push for the postseason. “Another win adds a little more pressure to the teams were are chasing and it puts us in a good spot.”

Milwaukee’s pitching staff was the story on Monday, as Brent Suter threw five scoreless innings to get the win. The bullpen took care of things from there, including Corey Knebel coming on to close out the ninth inning for his 36th save on the year.

The Brewers took the lead in the fourth inning thanks to a Ryan Braun solo homer, his 17th on the year. Second baseman Neil Walker drove in a run against his old team in the sixth inning, before a Travis Shaw RBI single in the eighth capped the scoring.

With the win, Milwaukee is now 10 games over .500 for the first time since July 16, and it allowed for the Brewers to gain a 1/2 game on the idle Rockies, leaving them just two games back in the wild card race with 12 to go. They are also 3 1/2 games back of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

It’ll be the Brewers and Pirates again on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Milwaukee’s struggles with sub-.500 teams continues with a 7-0 loss to Pittsburgh

The Milwaukee Brewers have established a pattern, and it’s one that is unlikely to get them into the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Coming off a sweep of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, manager Craig Counsell’s team returned home Monday night and promptly lost 7-0 to the Pittsburgh Pirates, a squad that came in 10 games below .500.

The Pirates stymied the Milwaukee offense, with Steven Brault throwing six scoreless innings to pick up his first win of the year. Four relievers kept the Brewers at bay and the game was never really in doubt. In fact, Milwaukee didn’t manage to get a run into scoring position all night.

Unlike other recent outings in which the Brewers struggled offensively, the pitching staff wasn’t too good either. Brandon Woodruff gave up six runs over five innings of work, including home runs to Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte to fall to 1-2 on the season.

The loss continued a startling trend. Since Aug. 18, the Brewers are 1-5 against teams under .500, while owning an 11-4 record against the teams they are battling in the race for a playoff spot. And it’s left them in third place in the NL Central, a .5 game back of St. Louis and 2.5 games behind Chicago.

It’ll be the Pirates and Brewers again on Tuesday night at Miller Park.

Brewers announce Jimmy Nelson will miss the rest of the season

Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell wasn’t worried after Friday night’s game about the injury pitcher Jimmy Nelson sustained in the fifth inning. It turns out he should have been.

The Brewers announced Saturday afternoon that Nelson would miss the rest of the season with a right rotator cuff strain and a partial anterior labrum tear.

It’s a significant hit to Milwaukee’s playoff chances, as Nelson was having a career year in 2017. He’d already set personal bests with 12 wins and 199 strikeouts, while posting the lowest ERA of his career at 3.49 ERA.

Nelson is just the latest of the Brewers starters to end up on the disabled list this season, joining Junior Guerra, Matt Garza and Chase Anderson as those that have missed time.

Heading into Saturday’s game in Chicago, Milwaukee was tied with St. Louis for second in the NL Central, four games back of the Cubs, while also being three games behind Colorado for the second wild card spot in the National League.

Cincinnati finishes off a sweep of the Brewers with a 7-1 win

The Milwaukee Brewers playoff chances are fading fast.

Manager Craig Counsell’s club started its vital six-game road trip in very good spirits, having taken three of four from Washington at Miller Park, and were headed to Cinicnnati, the last-place team in the NL Central. Three days later and the mood couldn’t be more different. Not after the Brewers were swept by the Reds, punctuated by a 7-1 loss on Wednesday.

“They outplayed us,” Counsell said afterwards. “We didn’t have a good series.”

The last game was particularly painful, as the meltdown of Matt Garza continued. He got lit up, making it just 2 2/3rds innings, giving up five runs on six hits as he watched his ERA balloon to 5.06 and saw his record drop to 6-9 on the year.

Meanwhile, on the other side, Luis Castillo won just his third game of the year, limiting the Brewers to just one run over eight innings of work and striking out 10.

The loss dropped Milwaukee into third place in the NL Central, a .5 game back of St. Louis and 4.5 games behind Chicago. They are also now 2.5 games out of the second wild card spot currently held by Colorado.

The Crew will open a make-or-break series against the Cubs on Friday night at Wrigley Field.