Blunders on the bases cost Brewers in setback
JUL 08, 2014 1:17a ET
MILWAUKEE -- Everything is magnified in a one-run loss.
From the lack of a key hit with runners in scoring position to multiple baserunning mistakes, the Milwaukee Brewers had plenty to look back on in a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday at Miller Park.
The Brewers put the leadoff hitter on in six of nine innings but scored in just one, as outs on the bases cost Milwaukee three additional chances to hit with runners in scoring position with less than two outs.
Milwaukee has now dropped six of its last seven games and has watched its lead in the National League Central slip to four games.
"We're not playing terrible," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We're in all these games but we're coming up either a run or two runs short. It's just because we're not getting that big hit when we need to. We're not making the big pitch. Things aren't terrible. We're not playing that bad. We're just not doing what it takes to get that extra run or two."
Blunders on the bases likely prevented the Brewers from scoring at least one or two runs Monday. After doubling to lead off the second inning, Carlos Gomez was picked off second base by Phillies starter Cole Hamels.
Jeff Bianchi delivered a pinch-hit single with the bases loaded and nobody out in the fifth, cutting Philadelphia's lead to 3-2. The Brewers were poised for a big inning, but Jean Segura was easily thrown out at third base on Bianchi's single for the first out of the fifth.
"I froze on the line drive because I didn't want to get a double play," Segura said. "It was pretty close. When I saw that, I was going to go to third. I thought he was going to throw home."
It's impossible to tell how the inning would have played out if Segura holds up at second, but the Brewers would have had first and second with nobody out and the top of their lineup coming up.
After stranding two more runners in the seventh inning, the Brewers were in business in the eighth after Ryan Braun's leadoff double. Braun's back was clearly hurting as he ran to second, causing Roenicke to have to pinch run with Logan Schafer.
Schafer made Milwaukee's third baserunning mistake of the day by trying to go to third on a groundball to short by Jonathan Lucroy. Phillies shortstop Andres Blanco easily threw Schafer out at third base for the first out of the inning.
"I was just thinking I've got to score," Schafer said. "I saw the ball far enough away from the third baseman; I thought the shortstop was a little more up the middle so I went, and I thought the ball was hit a little harder than it was. So, no outs -- maybe with two outs, you can make an aggressive mistake like that, but not in that situation.
"I'm human, I make mistakes, and that was one that was possibly costly in the game. We made a few on the bases today. It was just kind of a tough one. Especially when you come in to run, it's difficult. It weighs on you, especially since those are the mistakes I rarely make, so when I do make them I'm a little hard on myself, and I should be, because they shouldn't happen."
The Brewers have faced tough pitching in this stretch of offensive struggles, but Milwaukee has plated just seven runs in its last four games. Hamels wasn't particularly sharp Monday, but he was able to wiggle out of trouble when he had to.
"Good pitching is going to beat a good offense," Brewers left fielder Khris Davis said. "We've been struggling to put some good ABs together to make big innings happen. It's a long stretch we have to go through. We're going to go through our ups and lows."
An encouraging sign Monday was the fact the Brewers put runners on base. They simply just didn't get a couple of big hits to put more than two runs on the board.
Brewers starter Marco Estrada allowed a two-run home run to Chase Utley in the first inning and a two-out RBI single to Ryan Howard in the third, as the right-hander was only able to get through five innings Monday.
Milwaukee's bullpen allowed the offense time to catch up with four scoreless innings of relief, but the Brewers couldn't capatalize.
"I think once it happens it is going to be contagious," Davis said of the offense breaking out. "Just getting over that hump, we just have to keep grinding and hopefully break out of it soon and find a way to win these close ballgames, these one-run ballgames."
On the move: The Brewers made a minor trade Monday, sending minor-league right-hander Rodolfo Fernandez to the Oakland A's in exchange for International Signing Bonus Slot No. 57, worth $339,000.
Milwaukee has reportedly agreed to a contract with Dominican infielder Gilbert Lara worth $3.1 to $3.2 million. According to MLB.com, Monday's trade brings Milwaukee's total bonus pool for signing international players to $2,950,800.
Fernandez, 24, was 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA and two saves in 14 relief appearances for Class-A Wisconsin this season.
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