Brewers offense stalls in 3-1 loss to Braves

ATLANTA — The Milwaukee Brewers dropped their second straight game Saturday evening, failing to build on an early lead in a 3-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

After loading the bases in the first inning and scoring one run, the Brewers couldn’t figure out R.A. Dickey and would get just a single runner in scoring position the remainder of the game. Dickey struck out six Milwaukee batters on the way to his sixth win of the year.

“We didn’t have that many swings and misses the first time through the lineup,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “As we went through the lineup, the swings and misses started increasing, so I think [Dickey] got a better feel for making it move, and we didn’t have that many answers.”

The Brewers went down on strikes 10 times, as outfielder Lewis Brinson went 0-for-4 on the day (3-for-30 since joining the Major League roster).

Matt Garza had a respectable performance on the mound for Milwaukee, throwing six innings and allowing three earned runs on seven hits. But it was his fourth loss in five starts, with an ERA of 6.91 during that span.

Brewers pitching falls apart in 8-1 loss to Pirates

MILWAUKEE — An area of weakness reared its ugly head as the Milwaukee Brewers fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1 Monday night.

That weakness was relief pitching. Wily Peralta took over for Matt Garza in the sixth inning only to leave an inning later after allowing four runs to score on five hits. But by the time Peralta was taken out in favor of Paolo Espino, the damage was done and Milwaukee couldn’t climb out of the 8-1 hole.

“I think the ability to create ground balls was really [Peralta’s] strength with his fastball,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after the loss. “The velocity is usually what makes the slider a better pitch, but we’re not getting either, really.”

The Brewers’ bullpen has now allowed 130 runs this season (third most in MLB), while maintaining its last-place ranking with 19 losses.

But Garza’s 5.1 innings didn’t give Milwaukee the start it needed to succeed, with a sixth inning Andrew McCutchen home run giving the Pirates a 4-1 lead. Opposing pitcher Gerrit Cole even helped his cause with a sacrifice base hit.

The Brewers offense can be summed up by the solo home run in the second inning from Travis Shaw that just escaped over the center field wall. That was one of just five hits Milwaukee recorded on the night.

Matt Garza headed back to the DL

Matt Garza is headed back to the disabled list.

The Milwaukee Brewers placed the veteran pitcher on the 10-day DL with a chest contusion suffered when he collided with first baseman Jesus Aguilar on Saturday. It will be his second stint on the disabled list this season. He started the year there with a strained groin.

It’s an unfortunate situation for Garza as he’s pitched well in his eight starts, going 2-2 with a 3.83 ERA. It’s unclear who will start in place of Garza against San Francisco on Thursday.

Milwaukee also activated third baseman Travis Shaw from the paternity list. He’s missed the last two games.

Brewers shut out Dodgers to avoid series sweep

MILWAUKEE — Zach Davies threw six-plus innings of shutout baseball, backed up by Eric Thames and Domingo Santana home runs to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday afternoon.

Davies allowed just three hits on the afternoon, striking out six batters and helping lower the ERA of Milwaukee’s starters to 1.32 over the last 10 games. After back-to-back bullpen collapses against the Dodgers, Milwaukee avoided the series sweep.

“They’re all in a very good place right now,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s a good feeling when we send a guy out there that’s on top of his game. I feel these guys are on top of their game and we’re getting to see quality outings, for sure.”

Closer Corey Knebel notched his fifth save of the year after blowing his two previous save opportunities. Prior to last night’s game, Milwaukee’s bullpen had given up 16 games — the most in MLB.

The Brewers bats were the only ones making any noise in Sunday’s contest, with Thames going yard in the first inning and Santana following suit in the eighth.

Pitcher Matt Garza was re-evaluated after suffering a chest contusion in Saturday’s 10-8 loss. He relayed the message from his doctor stating that it’s an injury that could get worse by Thursday (his next scheduled start) or it could dissipate.

Brewers move into first place with a 3-1 win over San Diego

The Milwaukee Brewers are in first place in the NL Central.

That’s after they beat the Padres 3-1 last night in San Diego, their eighth win in their last 10 games. It moved them a ½ game up on the Cardinals in the division and pushed them five games over .500 on the year.

Milwaukee won the game in the ninth innings courtesy of a Jett Bandy single to break a 1-1 tie, with the Crew adding an insurance run before closer Corey Knebel came on to finish things off in the bottom of the ninth for his second save of the year.

The game was all about pitching for much of the night, as the two starters – Milwaukee’s Matt Garza and San Diego’s Jhoulys Chacin – each went deep into the contest. Garza made it six innings, giving up just one run on four hits and striking out three. It was his fourth straight quality start and lowered his ERA to 2.43 on the season.

After giving up a run in the first inning, Chacin settled in, finishing with just that one run against him on the night and two hits total, while striking out eight.

Third baseman Travis Shaw paced Milwaukee’s offense with a pair of hits and an RBI in his first game back since injuring a finger in the series finale against the New York Mets on Sunday.

Game No. 4 of the series is this afternoon in San Diego. First pitch is set for 2:40 p.m.

Thames, Garza lead Brewers past Reds 11-7

MILWAUKEE — Eric Thames increased his home run total to 10, while Matt Garza impressed in his season debut to give the Milwaukee Brewers an 11-7 win over the Cincinnati Reds Monday night.

Thames’ hot April continued early in the game, blasting his ninth and tenth home runs of the year in the first and second innings of the game. He’s now hit seven home runs against the Reds this season in just five games.

But Hernan Perez may have played just as big a role in Milwaukee’s win, bombing a three-run home run at the score board in the first inning. The Brewers are now outscoring opponents in the first inning 22-7. That early run support made Garza’s job easier, striking out four batters during his four innings of work. He allowed just one earned run, but Cincinnati was able to grind out his pitch counts to 93 before his day was over.

Milwaukee is now a half game out of second place in the National League Central with two more games coming against Cincinnati at Miller Park.

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.

Offense propels Brewers to 8-3 win over Rangers

ARLINGTON, Tex. — The Milwaukee Brewers used a bevy of offense to get past the Texas Rangers 8-3 Monday night, backing up a Matt Garza start against his former team.

Garza threw six innings of three-run ball, surrendering six hits and striking out three. The last time Garza faced Texas was in 2010 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, a 6-3 victory on Oct. 9. in the American League Divisional Series.

Milwaukee’ bats recorded 10 hits in Monday night’s win, led by Jonathan Villar’s 3-for-4 day at the plate. He drove in five runs with a pair of home runs, while Domingo Santana added two RBIs on a 1-for-5 outing.

For the Rangers, the loss dropped them a half-game back of the Boston Red Sox as both teams battle for home-field advantage in the postseason.

Garza roughed up in 6-3 loss to Pirates

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers returned to Miller Park for the first time in the month of September, but a difficult night on the mound for Matt Garza spoiled the homecoming in a 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Officially eliminated from a postseason appearance, the Brewers looked to play spoiler for a Pirates team that swept the Crew in a four-game series last time they came to Miller Park. The Pirates set an early tone, however, taking a 2-0 lead after just three batters.

Garza’s season ERA rose to 4.52 after giving up five earned runs on eight hits and four innings pitched. He came into Tuesday night’s contest hoping to keep the earned runs to a minimum. He held a 1.16 ERA over his previous four games, but allowed 12 runs in total during that span.

For Pittsburgh, the win brings their season record to 75-75 and maintains a chance at a postseason berth. The Pirates are currently 4 ½ games behind the Cardinals for the second National League wild card spot and their elimination number stand at eight.

Jimmy Nelson gets the start Wednesday night in place of Junior Guerra, who was shut down for the year after reaching his rookie innings limit.

Three homers not enough to get Brewers past Reds

CINCINNATI — The Milwaukee Brewers recorded three home runs at Great American Ballpark on Tuesday night but still fell to the Cincinnati Reds 6-4.

Dan Straily had a career night on the mound, throwing eight innings of two-run ball.  He struck out eight Milwaukee batters in the process to give Cincinnati a season-high fifth straight win.

The Brewers were paced offensively by Keon Broxton, Jonathan Villar, and Chris Carter, who all went deep in the loss. Villar also got his first career start at second base, but manager Craig Counsell wouldn’t say if that was a preview of what we could see from the Brewers in 2017.

“I just thought this was an opportunity to see [Villar] at second base,” Counsell said. “He’s going to play mostly third base for the rest of the season, but there’s going to be some spots where we see him at second base. I just want to see what it looks like.”

Matt Garza gave the Brewers five innings, only allowing one earned run (Joey Votta’s solo shot in the first inning) while striking out three.