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.

St. Louis hammers the Brewers 10-2

Any momentum the Milwaukee Brewers had coming of a successful road trip came to a screeching halt Tuesday night, as the St. Louis Cardinals rolled into town and walked away with a convincing 10-2 victory.

Starter Matt Garza got lit up, making it just 3 1/3 innings, giving up six runs – three of them earned – on four hits. He also walked five, tying a season-high. The veteran took the loss to fall to 6-8 on the year.

In relief, Carlos Torres allowed three runs in just 1 1/3 innings.

Milwaukee’s offense was also missing in action, as the St. Louis pitching staff, led by starter Luke Weaver, held them in check. The only runs they were able to muster came courtesy of first baseman Eric Thames’s 28th homer of the year and a Keon Broxton single in the sixth.

The loss dropped the Brewers 3 ½ games back of Chicago in the NL Central with 30 games to play. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are now just 1 ½ games out of second.

Milwaukee and St. Louis will play the finale of their short two-game series Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m.

Brewers: Milwaukee falls 4-2 at San Francisco

For the second time in three games the Milwaukee Brewers wasted a very good outing from their starting pitcher and fell to the San Francisco Giants, this one a 4-2 setback on Wednesday afternoon.

After giving up a run in the first inning, Matt Garza settled in, going five innings, allowing five hits and striking out six. Reliever Josh Hader pitched a scoreless sixth inning but Jacob Barnes and Carlos Torres were exposed for three runs in the seventh and eighth innings.

Milwaukee may have been able to overcome that, but its offense did not make the trip to San Francisco. The Brewers managed just six runs in the three-game series, including two on Wednesday, which came courtesy of a Travis Shaw double in the first inning and a solo homer from Stephen Vogt in the bottom of the ninth.

The loss dropped the Crew three games back of Chicago in the NL Central and 3.5 games back of Arizona in the race for the final Wildcard spot.

It doesn’t get any easier for manager Craig Counsell’s club as they’ll finish off the nine-game road trip by visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-game series starting on Friday. LA has the best record in all of baseball and have lost just 14 home games all season.

Garza rocked by long ball in 8-4 loss

DENVER — Home runs have plagued Milwaukee starter Matt Garza in his time with the Brewers and that didn’t change in Friday night’s 8-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

Garza had given up just nine home runs heading into the month of August, undoing that progress by surrendering eight over his last four starts. That includes three given up in Friday’s loss to the Rockies. He allowed eight total runs over 4.1 innings pitched.

“To me, the first four innings I thought [Garza] pitched pretty well,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “There’s a scenario where he’s really given up one run through four innings there, in my opinion. The fifth inning they got some balls up in the air pretty good, but I think he’s still got some good games in him.”

Rockies left fielder (and former Brewer) Gerardo Parra went 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI, including a solo home run off Garza in the fifth inning. Colorado was paced by German Màrquez, who tossed 5.2 innings and allowed four earned runs on seven hits. Like Garza, Màrquez gave up three home runs, though all without runners on base.

The loss drops Milwaukee in to third place in the National League Central standings, 2.0 games behind the leading Chicago Cubs.

Smooth Santana leads Brewers to 7-4 win over Reds

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers broke out of an offensive slump in a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds, capped off by a 7-4 victory Sunday at Miller Park.

Domingo Santana led the Brewers offense with his 19th home run of the year, driving in three runs in the process. Ryan Braun also stayed hot during the home stand with a 2-for-4 performance and an RBI.

Matt Garza didn’t have his best stuff, allowing four runs (three earned) over 5.1 innings while walking five, but he was pleased to get a win after a disastrous stretch prior to the series.

“We’re just trying to get back to playing our style of ball,” Garza said. “Guys are smiling, having a good time, and we’re creating a lot of pressure for the other team. That’s kind of what we do.”

After a four-game sweep by the Twins, Milwaukee held a team meeting in an attempt to get back on track. During the series with the Reds, the Brewers scored 23 runs and hit seven home runs.

Utility infielder Neil Walker, acquired over the weekend in a trade with the New York Mets, wasted little time making an impact. Playing third base, Walker finished with a 2-for-4 day at the plate.

Matt Garza roughed up in an 11-4 loss to the Twins

Matt Garza picked the wrong time to have his worst outing of the season.

The Milwaukee starter gave up eight runs in just 3 1/3 innings at Minnesota in an 11-4 loss on Tuesday night. The veteran had allowed just four runs in his previous 15 1/3 innings of work.

Garza started out OK, but the fourth inning turned into a nightmare for the 33-year-old. It started with a solo home run from center fielder Eddie Rosario, included a grand slam by second baseman Bryan Dozier and concluded with another home run, this one from right fielder Max Kepler. The Brewers had entered the frame with a 4-2 lead and came out of it down 8-4, a deficit they wouldn’t recover from.

Offensively, the Crew got three hits apiece from right fielder Domingo Santana, left fielder Ryan Braun and shortstop Orlando Arcia, but they could manage just the four runs. Braun came up a home run short of hitting for the cycle.

The loss was Milwaukee’s third-straight, but because the Cubs lost to San Francisco, the Brewers remain just 1 ½ games back of Chicago in the NL Central. But things are getting tight behind them, too, with St. Louis just a game back of Milwaukee and Pittsburgh only two games back.

The Brewers and Twins will continue their interleague series tonight in Milwaukee.

Garza activated from the disabled list, set to start this afternoon

Matt Garza has been activated from the 10-day disabled list after a right lower leg strain landed him on the DL in late July. The Brewers sent Wei-Chung Wang back to the minor leagues to make room for Garza. Wang only pitched in one game, where he gave up a hit, and didn’t record an out.

Garza will get the start today against the St. Louis Cardinals. First pitch is 1:10 p.m. CST from Miller Park. The pitching match-up will be Garza (4-5) on the mound for the Brewers and Michael Wacha (8-4) on the bump for the Cardinals. This is the third and final game of the series before the Brewers head to Tampa Bay to face the Rays.

The Brewers need a good start from Garza, as they’re 6-12 since the All-Star break. The Brewers have added some pieces to the bullpen, but are still waiting to get starter Chase Anderson back in a couple weeks.

Guerra headed to Triple-A

Brewers opening day starter, Junior Guerra, has been optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Guerra came into the season with high expectations after posting a 9-3 record and a 2.81 ERA for Milwaukee last season. He was expected to be the Brewers “ace” this season, but has fell well short of that.

Guerra is 1-4 this season with Milwaukee and has a 4.96 ERA. In 61 2/3 innings this season, Guerra has already given up more home runs than he did last season, where he logged over 121 innings.  He’s also been walking batters at a higher rate than last season.

The Brewers recalled Wei-Chung Wang from Triple-A to complete the move. Fans may remember Wang from the 2014 season, as the Brewers claimed him in the rule-5 draft. He appeared in 14 games for Milwaukee that season. Wang pitched 17 1/3 innings and had an ERA of 10.90 and a WHIP of 2.25 in 2014.

With Chase Anderson and Matt Garza both on the disabled list, the Brewers may look to call-up a starter in the near future. Brandon Woodruff and Taylor Jungmann have been two names who have been rumored to be recalled.

 

Brewers losing streak reaches six games

Make it six straight losses for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Manager Craig Counsell’s team couldn’t figure out Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola in a 6-1 loss on Friday night. The righty went seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits while striking out nine to earn his seventh win of the year. It continued a trend for the Brewers (52-47), who haven’t scored more than three runs in any of their last seven games.

“He was good tonight. I know that,” Counsell said afterward. “But we’re going to have tough match-ups, and you’ve got to produce runs against those tough match-ups. You’re not going to win games scoring one run [very often].”

Milwaukee was in the game through the first five innings, as Matt Garza allowed just two runs on three hits to the Phillies (33-61). But when he was taken out, things fell apart for reliever Carlos Torres. He recorded just one out and gave up four runs before Counsell pulled him.

Philadelphia shortstop Freddy Galvis was the star offensively, driving in three runs, including a two-run homer in the first inning.

The losing streak, which included being swept by Pittsburgh, has tightened things up in the NL Central. Milwaukee held a 5.5 game lead coming out of the all-star break last Friday, but it now stands at one on the Chicago Cubs, two on the Pirates and 3.5 on the St. Louis Cardinals.

“We got beat good tonight,” Counsell said. “We’ve played well. To me, in Pittsburgh we played well, things just didn’t go our way. And we’ve just got to keep at it, man. We’ve got to keep at it. There’s another test tomorrow, there’s a test the following day. [There’s] plenty more tests to come and to pass. We’ve just got to keep at it.”

It’ll be Milwaukee and Philadelphia again on Saturday night. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m.

Nick Williams helps Phillies avoid sweep at Miller Park

MILWAUKEE — While the Milwaukee Brewers were poised for a weekend sweep coming out of the All Star break, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Nick Williams had other plans.

Williams hit his first career grand slam in the sixth inning to put the Phillies over the top by a score of 5-2. Combined with a win by the Chicago Cubs, it also knocked the Brewers’ lead in the National League Central down to 4 ½ games.

The Phillies’ opportunity was set up by some timely hitting, as they strung together five hits in a row before Williams stepped to the plate. On Milwaukee’s end of things, it was not the debut Tyler Webb wanted, as his very first pitch was blasted by Williams 411 feet to center field.

In hindsight, perhaps Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell wouldn’t have introduced Webb to Philadelphia in that situation. Matt Garza was taken out after five innings of one-run ball and replaced by Rob Scahill, who surrendered three consecutive hits. But that was a gamble Counsell felt was reasonable, given the lack of offense his crew was able to muster to that point. Pinch-hitting Brett Phillips in Garza’s place did result in the outfielder’s first career home run.

Milwaukee would get a chance to erase the 5-2 deficit in the ninth inning after Hernan Perez and Manny Piña singled to bring the tying run to the plate. But Philadelphia closer Hector Neris was able to retire Stephen Vogt, Orlando Arcia, and Eric Thames to secure the win.