Davies struggles, offense sputters in 7-3 loss to Pirates

MILWAUKEE — The Pittsburgh Pirates jumped out to a 6-0 lead and ultimately hung on for a 7-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday night.

Brewers starter Zach Davies was tagged for all seven runs scored by the Pirates, allowing 10 hits in the process. He left after five innings of work, having yet to make it into the seventh inning this season. In fact, Davies only has three games this season in which he’s thrown six innings. Davies has now allowed 14 earned runs in 15 innings over his last three starts.

“I should be ready from pitch one,” Davies said. “I’m kind of over the mechanical, the sequencing, all those kind of excuses. I think it’s just time to go out and compete.”

But Tuesday night’s loss wasn’t solely on Davies. The offense stranded 21 base runners, with Eric Thames and Manny Piña each going 0-for-5 at the plate. Thames’ last hit was on June 17, making it on base just once since.

One of the few positives for Milwaukee was outfielder Nick Franklin’s two RBI, one of which came on a second-inning home run and the other with an RBI double in the third.

Report: Greg Monroe to opt in for 2017-18 season

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks will retain their prized free agency acquisition from 2015, after the team was notified Wednesday morning that center Greg Monroe would exercise his player option and return for the 2017-18 season. The Vertical  was the first to report the news, which has since been confirmed by several other media outlets.

Monroe signed a three-year, $51.4 million contract with the Bucks in 2015 worth an average of $17.1 million per season. That was a huge payday for an offensive mainstay in Detroit that earned $5.4 million in 2014, his final season with the Pistons.

While not confirmed at the time of publication, Monroe’s motivation for re-upping with the Bucks is likely two-fold: The uncertainty of a very active trade season throughout the NBA; And the balance of potential success with the Bucks paired with a large contract. Monroe’s decision nets him an additional $17.88 million this upcoming season, although his role could change with the NBA Draft on Thursday night.

The consensus among many mock draft analysts is that Milwaukee will select a center in Thursday’s draft, leaving Monroe’s status up in the air. He was relegated to a bench role in 2016, which Monroe learned from reporters during a preseason Media Day session.

NBA G League accidentally leaks Bucks affiliate logo

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks planned on unveiling their new G League affiliate logo on Thursday during a special event paired with the NBA Draft, but that logo appears to have been released prematurely.


The Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s new G League affiliate set to debut in Oshkosh, appears to be taking a page from the professional franchise’s book, using a redesigned version to represent the affiliate team. The authenticity of the logo has not been verified, but after displaying the logo on their website for each NBA team’s affiliate, the image has since been removed.

The G League, formerly known as the NBA D League (Development League), has been renamed due to a sponsorship with Gatorade. The organization has not issued a statement on the leak.

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.

Nelson tosses a gem for Father’s Day win over Padres

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers bullpen didn’t let this one get away, but that’s because Jimmy Nelson threw his first career complete game in a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.

While Milwaukee’s relief pitching has given away 19 games (MLB-high), Sunday’s work on the mound was handled solely by 28-year-old Nelson. He allowed six hits over nine innings of work, while striking out 10 San Diego on his way to win No. 5.

The Padres struck first, thanks to Keon Broxton’s fielding error in the top of the fifth inning. Erick Aybar received credit for an RBI single on the play. But the Brewers responded an inning later, with Hernan Perez and Manny Piña recording their 10th and fourth home runs of the year, respectively.

Nelson helped his own cause offensively, going 1-for-3 at the plate. The win improves Milwaukee’s record at Miller Park to 19-20, while maintaining a 2½ game lead over the Chicago Cubs for first place in the National League Central.

Brewers bullpen blows MLB-leading 19th game of the year

MILWAUKEE — In what’s become a common theme in their losses, the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen allowed two runs in the top of the 11th inning, resulting in a 7-5 loss to the San Diego Padres.

Milwaukee’s relief pitching has now allowed 19 games to go the other way, (leads MLB), along with 13 blown saves. Carlos Torres recognizes he’s been part of the negative trend.

“We should have won that ball game right there in the 10th inning,” Torres confessed. “That’s 100 percent on me. [Keon] Broxton’s home run should have been a walk-off home run, so the game’s on me.”

The Padres recorded five home runs in the 11-inning contest, while the Brewers logged three of their own. One of those home runs was done the hard way, with shortstop Orlando Arcia lofting a ball over the defender’s head into the gap in center field before sprinting around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.

Another positive in an otherwise disappointing loss for Brewers fans was the performance of Corey Knebel. One of the stories of the season, Milwaukee’s closer struck out two batters in his single inning of work, logging his 36th consecutive game with at least one strikeout. The modern era record is 37, set by Aroldis Chapman with the Cincinnati Reds in 2014.

Bucks confirm Horst will be next GM

MILWAUKEE — He may not have been their first choice, but the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t have to look far to find their next general manager.

The team confirmed on Friday evening that Jon Horst would be the next GM, promoting  the 34-year-old from director of player personnel. Horst has been with the Bucks organization since 2008.

It wasn’t exactly a straightforward hire for Milwaukee, who interviewed six candidates on June 5-6 in New York. That field was cut in half and interviewed in Milwaukee the following week. After it appeared the search had come down to Denver Nuggets executive Arturas Karnisovas and interim Bucks GM Justin Zanik, the Nuggets preempted Milwaukee’s next move by promoting him as their general manager.

After Karnisovas withdrew his name from consideration for the Milwaukee job, the feeling around much of the state was that Milwaukee would promote Zanik. That didn’t happen, mainly because of what was perceived to be some disagreement among the ownership group.

“Our No. 1 priority is building a championship-caliber organization and we believe Jon is the right person to be our general manager,” the Bucks’ ownership group said in a statement. “He has been an integral part of basketball operations for the last nine years, and has helped advise us on every major basketball decision since we purchased the team. Jon is very talented, capable, organized and someone we have leaned on for his strategic thinking and ability to execute our vision.”

Horst will be introduced on Monday with a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Reports suggest the Bucks plan to add a veteran executive to work alongside Horst during the transition.

Several big decisions are looming over the Bucks organization within the next few weeks. The NBA Draft begins on Thursday, which also happens to be the deadline for center Greg Monroe to exercise his nearly $18 million player option for a third year on his contract. Guard Tony Snell also becomes a restricted free agent on July 1.

Thames reaches career milestone in win over Padres

MILWAUKEE — When the Milwaukee Brewers signed first baseman Eric Thames to a three-year, $16 million contract, they were simply hoping for production. So far, he’s made that contract look like a bargain.

Thames blasted his 19th home run of the year in Friday night’s 6-5 win over the San Diego Padres, hitting a milestone along the way. His walk-off home run in the 10th inning was the first of his Major League career.

But Thames wasn’t the only one to go yard in Milwaukee’s fourth-straight win. Travis Shaw hit a solo home run in the second inning, followed by Keon Broxton’s three-run dinger in the fourth that erased a 4-0 deficit. Manny Piña would add another solo bomb in the eighth prior to Thames’ game winner.

Milwaukee’s Junior Guerra struggled with command on the mound, walking four batters in six innings of work. That lack of command led to four runs (three earned) scoring for San Diego, including a pair of home runs. The Brewers late-inning relievers shut the door on any comeback attempt for the Padres, with Corey Knebel striking out a pair in his single inning of work. Jared Hughes picked up his third win of the year after pitching a scoreless 10th.

Rain delays can’t slow Brewers in 7-6 win

ST. LOUIS — The Milwaukee Brewers withstood two rain delays to down the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday night at Busch Stadium.

First baseman Eric Thames had a big hand in Milwaukee’s win, blasting his 17th home run of the year paired with three RBIs. Most of the game’s offense came in the first two innings, with the Brewers and Cardinals battling back and forth to a 6-4 Milwaukee lead.

“We did a good job again jumping on a starting pitcher early before he got in it, and before he looks up we’ve got six on the board against him, against a really good starting pitcher,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s been a little bit of our formula this year, and then we hung on.”

Milwaukee tagged Mike Leake for nine hits and six earned runs, although he stayed in the game for six innings. Brewers starter Matt Garza returned from the 10-day disabled list to throw five innings of four-run ball. He allowed five hits and struck out four.

The bullpen has been an issue for the Brewers this season, losing a Major League-high 18 games. Designating Neftali Feliz for assignment was meant to cut down on late runs scored, but Jacob Barnes didn’t make things any easier for the Crew, giving up two late runs.

Brewers earn split of doubleheader with Cardinals

ST. LOUIS — After taking a 6-0 loss in the afternoon game, the Milwaukee Brewers came back to win 8-5 in the conclusion of a doubleheader with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Travis Shaw, who recently returned from the family emergency exemption list, hit one of Milwaukee’s three home runs in the win. His RBI single in the eighth inning broke a 5-5 tie before Manny Pina and Keon Broxton helped tack on two additional runs.

“Certainly the last couple games we’ve struggled a little bit,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “To me it wasn’t the biggest number we’ve put on the board but as good an offensive game as we’ve had this year for sure. The eighth inning was great at-bats up and down the lineup. It was really impressive. Hit some home runs and then we put together just a good rally with great at-bats in the eighth.”

The Brewers scored the eight runs on 11 hits, but perhaps the most positive development for Milwaukee was that its bullpen held onto the lead heading into the last two innings. Corey Knebel picked up his ninth save of the year, avoiding further embarrassment for a Brewers bullpen that’s lost 18 games for its team — worst in the MLB.

In Tuesday night’s win, outfielder Lewis Brinson recorded his first hit of his Major League career, finishing 1-for-9 on the day.