Brewers can’t hold on to early lead, drop series to Twins

4:28p Brewers-Twins Wrap-Up

All of the possible worst case scenarios happened to the Brewers today.

Zack Greinke had another rocky start, the bullpen faltered, and the offense couldn’t rally. All of these things diminished what was looking to be a series win for the Brewers early on, and an end to Interleague play on a high note. But the Twins chase of Greinke and late inning rallies against the bullpen ruined that ending, as the Brewers lost 9-7.

Everything was going right for the Brewers early on, except for Jim Thome’s homer off Greinke in the 3rd, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead. The Brewers immediately answered, however, as Mark Kotsay crushed a home run off Twins starter Nick Blackburn. It was his first homer as a Brewer, and tied the game at 1-1.

But the huge rally began in the 4th inning, after Nyjer Morgan reached third on a throwing error by second baseman Alexi Casilla and an intentional walk of Prince Fielder. Mat Gamel hit a double, driving in Morgan and advancing Fielder to third. Yuniesky Betancourt followed with a rocket of an infield single that shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka couldn’t handle, which scored Fielder. Mark Kotsay continued his good day at the plate after that with a two RBI triple. Then, after Jonathan Lucroy drove in Kotsay with an RBI single, Blackburn finally got out of the mess. It would be his last inning, as he only went 4 innings while giving up 6 runs on 6 hits. He struck out 2 and walked 1.

But, Greinke began to struggle in 4th inning, when Rene Tosoni smacked a 3-run homer to tighten the screws of a now 6-4 game. Greinke would give up another run in the bottom of the 5th on a Michael Cuddyer RBI single, but had a shutdown 6th inning. He finished with 6 innings, 5 runs (4 earned), 2 walks and 9 strikeouts.

In the top of the 6th, Rickie Weeks hit his 15th homer of the year with a solo shot off reliever Anthony Swarzak, which made the game 7-5. That run would prove not to be enough insurance, however.

Things started to fall apart for the Brewers bullpen in the 7th. Zach Braddock had been in in relief of Greinke, but left with two outs and two runners on. Then, Kameron Loe was summoned from the bullpen in an odd spot, considering he’s typically the 8th inning reliever. Things did not go well for Loe, as he first gave up an RBI single to Cuddyer to make it a 7-6 game. He then walked Thome to load the bases. On the next batter, Danny Valencia hit a single to Kotsay. Kotsay, however, couldn’t handle the ball, and it rolled all the way to the track. The bases cleared, and Valencia wound up at third. It was now 9-7, and that was how the game remained.

Matt Capps, who blew the save yesterday, was in to try again, but after allowing back-to-back baserunners and with Prince Fielder on deck, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire opted to bring in lefty specialist Glen Perkins. Perkins struck out Fielder and pinch-hitter Casey McGehee to end the game. McGehee’s struggles were visibly continuing, as he broke his bat over his knee after striking out.

Greinke gets more run support, but struggles continue (and a bit of venting about Loe)

The Brewers, as usual, gave Greinke seven runs of support today, but it proved not to be enough as his struggles continued. Greinke did not take the loss, but his ERA rose a touch to 5.66. If you’re wondering, Loe ended up taking the loss. He’s now 2-7 with a 4.72 ERA. Not to mention he has five blown saves. Yeah, not the greatest numbers for a setup man, if you can even call him that at this point.

Thome wasting no time trying to get to 600

If you were watching the game today, you probably noticed that Thome’s homer off Greinke was on the first pitch. He’s also took a few home run swings at pitches well out of the zone, which shows that he’s trying to get to 600 pretty bad. During this series, he hit his 594th off of Yovani Gallardo, and the one off Greinke today was #595.

McGehee still visibly frustrated about slump

McGehee pinch-hit for Gamel in the 9th inning today to try and get something going against the lefty Perkins. He struck out, however, and, as I mentioned earlier, broke his bat over his knee on the way back to the dugout. That clearly didn’t help his self-esteem, and now there’s no telling how many more days off Ron Roenicke is going to give him.

Braun’s hitting streak on hold

Ryan Braun sat out today’s game nursing a calf strain, so he did not get to continue his hitting streak. He may or may not play in tomorrow’s opener against the Diamondbacks, but his hitting streak remains on hold at 22, the longest active in the Majors.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will open a home series (thank goodness) against the Diamondbacks tomorrow. Shaun Marcum (7-3, 3.16 ERA) will get the start as he tries to bounce back from his below average start against the Yankees. Over Marcum’s past three starts, he has pitched a total of just 9 innings because of worries of a hip strain. Hopefully those are behind him now. The Diamondbacks will send Daniel Hudson (9-5, 3.49 ERA) to oppose Marcum. Hudson, in my opinion, is the ace of the Arizona staff, despite getting off to an 0-4 start this year.

Elsewhere around the division…

-The Reds finally beat the Indians today, 7-5, to avoid an Interleague sweep. They are 2 games back.

-The Pirates blew out the Nationals, 10-2. They are now just 1.5 games back, as they continue to be a surprise contender in the Central.

-The Cardinals lost to the Rays, 8-3. The Brewers still maintain a tie atop the central because of this.

-The Astros lost a close one to the Red Sox, 2-1. They are 16 games back.

-The Cubs defeated their southside counterpart, the White Sox, 3-1. They are 10 games back.

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