Leake dominates as Cardinals beat Brewers in series finale 6-4

MILWAUKEE — Mike Leake not only threw six innings of two-run baseball, but drove in two runs with his bat, giving the St. Louis Cardinals a 6-4 win Sunday over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Leake’s two-run single in the fourth inning put St. Louis ahead for good, with Ryan Braun coming up just short of a game-tying home run in the ninth inning. Leake also dominated on the mound, striking out six Milwaukee batters in his six innings of work. He picks up his third win of the year and his ERA dropped to 1.32 on the season.

“It doesn’t feel good, it is kind of like a dagger. It is one of the last things you want to do.”

That was leake’s reaction when asked about getting a hit against opposing pitcher Jimmy Nelson when Nelson got ahead in the count 0-2. Nelson would allow just one more earned run the rest of the way, but the damage had already been done after walking six batters.

The Cardinals got the job done without swinging for the fences. It’s the first time since Apr. 14, 2014 that St. Louis has left Milwaukee without at least one home run during the course of a series.

Brewers blow 5-run lead, lose 9-7 at Chicago

A four-run sixth inning was enough to get the Chicago Cubs past Milwaukee with a 9-7 win on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.

Jimmy Nelson had a 7-4 lead heading into the bottom of sixth but couldn’t hold it. After retiring the first batter, he proceeded to give up three hits and a run before manager Craig Counsell pulled him. Insert Jared Hughes, who couldn’t stem the Cubs momentum, giving up a triple to Jon Jay that scored a pair, followed by a wild pitch that allowed Chicago to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Hughes got the loss, but Nelson’s line wasn’t pretty either. After two really good outings to start the year, he got tagged with seven runs on nine hits and gave up a pair of home runs.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s offense kept rolling along, led by first baseman Eric Thames. Though he didn’t hit a home run for the first time in five games, the lefty did go 3 or 4 from the plate and scored twice. Third baseman Travis Shaw had a pair of doubles and three RBI’s on the night, while outfielder Domingo Santana knocked in a couple runs as well.

The loss was just the second in the last eight games for Milwaukee.

The two teams will play the rubber match of their three-game series this afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Brewers win third straight 5-1 over Reds

CINCINNATI | Jimmy Nelson pitched another strong outing, Ryan Braun and Eric Thames homered, and the Milwaukee Brewers snapped Cincinnati’s four-game winning streak beating the Reds 5-1 Thursday night in Cincinnati.

Nelson (1-0) gave up one run and five hits over seven innings, striking out five without a walk. Last week against the Cubs, he threw six solid innings.

At 5-5, the Brewers reached .500 for the first time since they were 5-5 last April 15.

 

The Brewers beat 40-year old Bronson Arroyo (0-2) who was making his first start in Cincinnati since Sept. 28, 2013. Arroyo allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings.

Friday night the Brewers send LHP Tommy Milone to the mound. Milone will make his third appearance and second start of the season after taking over for the injured Junior Guerra.

Brewers beat Cubs in 11th on wild pitch

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers opened a series with the Chicago Cubs by beating their border rivals 2-1 in the 11th inning thanks to a wild pitch that allowed Ryan Braun to score the winning run.

Braun singled off Mike Montgomery to get on base, which was the first hit Milwaukee recorded since the sixth inning. Montgomery subsequently walked Jesus Aguilar, while Jett Bandy was hit by pitch. That allowed Braun to take advantage of his chance on base, scoring after an 0-2 to Manny Pina was misfired.

“We had gone a couple of innings where we didn’t get much going,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We didn’t have great at-bats, I didn’t think. But that inning, guys just kept the at-bat alive. … A three-inning appearance for Montgomery, I know he was stretched out in the spring, but that’s still a lot to ask.”

Jimmy Nelson had a solid start for the Brewers, going six innings while giving up just the one earned run on a home run to Ben Zobrist. The five relievers who followed up Nelson combined for a shutout the rest of the way against the defending World Champions.

Matt Garza will start the year on the DL, Brewers set their rotation

The Milwaukee Brewers have set their starting rotation for the first two series of the season, and Matt Garza is not a part of it.

The team announced Thursday afternoon that Garza would start the year on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right groin. The veteran made six starts in the spring and struggled, leaving Cactus League action with an ERA of 8.59. Garza was scheduled to pitch in Friday’s exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox at Miller Park.

Without Garza, the rotation is set so that Junior Guerra gets the ball on Opening Day against Colorado, followed by Zach Davies, Wily Peralta and Chase Anderson taking the other three games in the series. Jimmy Nelson will start the series opener against the Chicago Cubs next Friday.

Garza started last season on the disabled list and didn’t actually make his season debut until June 14. He finished 6-8 on the year with a 4.51 ERA, allowing just 11 runs over his final six starts of the season.

Brewers spoil Cubs party plans with 5-4 win

CHICAGO — Scooter Gennett drove in two runs with a seventh-inning double, breaking a tie and giving the Milwaukee Brewers a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Milwaukee’s win prevented rival Chicago from securing its first National League Central crown since 2008, but the Cubs would celebrate just hours later after the Giants knocked off the Cardinals, clinching the division for the Cubbies.

Gennett’s double came during his only at-bat of the game, pinch-hitting for Jimmy Nelson. Orlando Arcia would also log a pair of runs batted in on a night where he finished 1-of-4 at the plate. Nelson fanned seven batters in his six innings of work, allowing three earned runs on eight hits.

The Brewers have now played seven games at Wrigley Field, with Thursday night’s contest marking Milwaukee’s first win there this season. The Brewers trail in the season series 10-6. Playing off the energy of the crowd and the potential of witnessing a division title win, Brewers closer Tyler Thornburg was happy to come away victorious.

“It’s pretty awesome, I’m not going to lie,” Thornburg said. “I’ve only had one other time where the crowd noise was definitely noticeable…when I was a starter. But that was pretty awesome. I’ve never gotten the opportunity to throw in the playoffs, but that’s about as close as I can imagine.”

Brewers’ win streak ends in 4-3 loss to Cardinals

ST LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals used a pair of two-run home runs in the third inning to get past the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 Friday night, ending Milwaukee’s three-game winning streak.

The Cardinals recorded just five hits in the game, but the Matt Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty blasts proved enough to beat the Brewers, while keeping St. Louis just ½ game back of the New York Mets for the second National League wild card spot. The Brewers logged nine hits, punctuated by a Scooter Gennett home run in the same inning as Carpenter and Piscotty.

Right fielder Hernan Perez was the only Brewers player with more than one hit, going two-for-four, but striking out twice. Jimmy Nelson takes his 14th loss of the season after allowing five hits and all four earned runs in six innings of work. Conversely, Carlos Martinez earned the win for St. Louis after going seven innings and allowing just two earned runs. Milwaukee recorded all nine of their hits against Martinez.

Milwaukee is still in contention for a National League wild card spot, but would be eliminated with 10 more losses.

Brewers lose, Guerra to land on DL

PHOENIX — While the Milwaukee Brewers lost 9-3 to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, they will also lose starter Junior Guerra to the disabled list with right elbow inflammation.

Wily Peralta has been recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs to take Guerra’s spot in the rotation Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves. The inflammation occurred Wednesday against the San Diego Padres, in which Guerra lasted four innings and gave up four earned runs in a 12-3 loss. Guerra has yet to officially be placed on the DL.

Guerra is one of Milwaukee bright spots this season, having thrown 107 and 1/3 innings with a 2.93 ERA — the best of any Milwaukee starter. Peralta had the league’s worse ERA of 6.68 before being sent to the Skysox on June 12. Since then, he’s logged a 6.31 ERA in 41 and 1/3 innings.

The Brewers lost to the Diamondbacks Sunday afternoon after Jimmy Nelson failed to make it into the fifth inning for his third straight outing. He allowed seven hits and six earned runs, while walking three and hitting two batters.

D-Backs take advantage of Brewers errors

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson struck out seven batters, but five errors by the Crew led to an 8-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday night.

Nelson lasted 4 2/3 innings before being pulled in favor of Jhan Marinez, but the damage was already done. Arizona struck for eight runs (six earned) at that point. Yosmany Tomas had a three-run blast in the first inning to set the pace, causing Brewers manager Craig Counsell to scratch his head.

“That first inning was out of the ‘Twilight Zone,'” Counsell said following the loss. “Certainly not something I’ve ever seen and it was just strange. First two innings, really.”

That second inning was when Jonathan Villar was caught stealing third base, his 12th time this season.

Throughout the contest, Milwaukee committed five errors, while the offense only recorded five hits.

The Brewers and Diamondbacks finish off the series at 1:10 p.m.

Fowler returns as Cubs beat Brewers 5-2

MILWAUKEE — Playing for the first time since June 18, Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler went 3-for-4 at the plate to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2.

Fowler was a triple shy of the cycle, bringing three Chicago base runners across the plate. He was backed by Jason Hammel, who struck out four Milwaukee batters in five innings of work. He gave up four hits and two earned runs, the same as his opposition Jimmy Nelson.

One of Hammel’s hits allowed went to Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, who went yard in the bottom of the fourth, but Milwaukee’s bats were limited from there, getting shut out the final four innings thanks to Chicago’s bullpen.

Nelson has struggled to a 1-5 record his last nine starts and winless in his last 10 against the Cubs.