MILWAUKEE — After the Brewers got to Carlos Martinez, the St. Louis starter lost his cool at the plate.
The right-hander tossed his bat behind his back in the direction of home plate as he started running out a grounder, leading umpire Jeff Nelson to raise his arms and stare at Martinez for a few seconds.
Manager Mike Matheny chalked up Sunday’s 11-2 loss to Milwaukee as a learning experience for his 22-year-old pitcher, who allowed four runs and seven hits in four innings. St. Louis fell a game behind of the Brewers in the NL Central at the All-Star break.
Martinez’s at-bat in the third came two innings after the Brewers had a couple hard choppers up the middle and scored twice on Ryan Braun’s flare into short right. Braun was credited for an RBI, and another run came around after an aggressive Braun tried to take an extra base.
"I tried to throw the bat to the ground. I don’t know if it was emotion," Martinez said through an interpreter about his third-inning at-bat. "I went to the umpire and said I was sorry. It was just frustration."
Making his seventh career start, Martinez (2-4) gave up three walks and a balk while also hitting Carlos Gomez with a pitch in the fourth. Gomez then scored on Scooter Gennett’s two-out, two-run double down the left-field line for a 4-1 lead.
Martinez flicked his head back in frustration as he watched the ball take a tricky carom off the side wall on outfielder Matt Holliday.
Matheny said Martinez was having a tough time "finding anything."
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"He’s trying to harness his emotions a little bit, which will harness his control," Matheny said. "It was a rough day for him. It’s one of those learning points."
The Brewers tied a season high with 19 hits in snapping a seven-game losing streak. Elian Herrera got five hits while filling in for mourning shortstop Jean Segura. Herrera was called up from the minors Saturday when Segura was put on the bereavement list after the death of his 9-month-old son. Segura returned home to the Dominican Republic.
Herrera went 5 for 5 with a double and scored three runs. Wily Peralta (10-6) tossed seven strong innings for the win.
"Somebody had to step up. … That’s huge for us, for everybody. It lets us go into the break like that and still in first place," said Peralta (10-6), who allowed three hits and struck out five but didn’t come out for the eighth because of a minor leg cramp.
Peralta allowed just three singles and gave up an unearned run after Kolten Wong reached first on a passed ball despite striking out. Wong eventually scored on Matt Adams’ groundout.
Peralta received a defensive boost with a runner on base in the fifth when left fielder Khris Davis made an over-the-shoulder catch on Jon Jay’s fly to the warning track.
"It was slicing a bit, which makes it tough, but he ran a nice route and kind of reached back to grab it. Those are big plays," manager Ron Roenicke said.
Davis hit his team-high 15th homer in the bottom half for a 5-1 lead.
The victory kept the Brewers in first place at the All-Star break for just the fourth time in franchise history. They nearly let the lead slip away entirely after the Cardinals opened the series with two convincing wins.
"We played two great games. Those are games that do take some life out of you, too," Matheny said. "It’s a perfect time for the break."
NOTES: Matheny said ace Adam Wainwright could pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star game despite going seven innings in Saturday’s win over Milwaukee. Tuesday would be his scheduled day to throw in between starts. Matheny will manage the National League. … Gennett tied a career high with three hits. … Matheny said he wasn’t sure yet how he would set up the Cardinals rotation after the All-Star break. St. Louis hosts the Dodgers on Friday. … Milwaukee doesn’t plan to make any changes in its rotation, meaning Kyle Lohse (9-4) would get the start Friday in Washington.