Brewers swept by Phillies in miserable finale
JUL 10, 2014 7:15p ET
By the time the last-place Philadelphia Phillies had completed a four-game sweep of the Brewers with a 9-1 victory Thursday, it was hard to even remember Garza taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning.
Jimmy Rollins put the Phillies ahead 2-1 with a two-out, two-run single in the eighth off reliever Will Smith, as Philadelphia scored seven runs in the final two innings Thursday to send Milwaukee to its ninth loss in its last 10 games.
"That's what bothers me," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I look at the final score and that's ridiculous. We're way too good of a team, we have way too good of a bullpen to let a game get away like that.
"Will comes in and gives up a base hit, OK, we're fine. We're down, 2-1, we still have two at-bats coming in the eighth and the ninth but that inning should not end up 7-1. It just shouldn't happen."
After pitching a shutout in Milwaukee's only victory in its last 10 games -- a 1-0 win over Cincinnati last Saturday -- Garza was on his game again. He retired the first 13 batters he faced and didn't allow a hit until Rollins led off the seventh with a single.
Garza was able to work out of a second and third with one out jam in the seventh to keep the Brewers ahead 1-0 at the time, but Cameron Rupp's one-out double in the eighth was the beginning of the end.
A walk to pinch-hitter Cesar Hernandez put a pair of runners on, as they then moved up to second and third on a weak groundout by Tony Gwynn Jr. With Garza at 108 pitches, Roenicke opted to go with Smith to face Rollins.
"The hard decision was whether or not to leave Matt in the ballgame, knowing he's exhausted, because it was his ballgame," Roenicke said. "That was the hard decision. Rollins got a base hit off him the time before, he'd pitched a great game to that point and was probably done, but it was his ballgame. That's when it gets tough."
The Phillies shortstop ripped a single to left to score pinch-runner Ben Revere and Hernandez, putting Philadelphia up 2-1. Things snowballed out of control for Smith following the Rollins hit, as the left-hander walked Chase Utley, allowed an RBI double to Ryan Howard and eventually a two-run double to Cody Asche.
In addition to allowing the two inherited runners to score, Smith was tagged for five earned runs without recording an out. Smith, who allowed just one earned run in April and May, now has a 7.72 ERA since June 1.
"Just keep going," Smith said. "Every pitcher goes through it when you struggle, I'm just in the middle of it right now, so you just kind of grind away and keep it going."
It was hard to imagine the Brewers losing a more painful game than the three previous losses to the Phillies this week, but Thursday certainly added to the frustration level. Garza was so good for the vast majority of his outing but ended up with the loss despite allowing just two earned runs in 7 2/3 innings.
"You leave two guys on, especially two guys with speed, and you pay for it," Garza said. "It just sucks. But it is what it is, you turn the page. We can't dwell on it too long. We have a club coming in who wants our spot, and we have to start fighting."
Lost in the ugly eighth inning was yet another woeful performance by Milwaukee's offense. The Brewers' lone run came on a Carlos Gomez solo home run in the sixth, as Milwaukee has now scored just two runs in its last 21 innings.
The Brewers have scored two runs or fewer in six of their last seven games.
"They're all pressing, I can see it," Roenicke said. "They're all trying to get something going. You need one guy to get hot and then hopefully, a few other guys get hot and then you take off offensively."
Philadelphia came to Miller Park losers in nine of its last 10 games and took it to the Brewers in a four-game sweep. The Brewers were shut down the last two games by the struggling Robert Hernandez and a rookie who entered Thursday with a 4.82 ERA in David Buchanan.
"We're not playing up to our talent level, that's the bottom line," Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "We're a lot better than we are showing right now. We're way better. If we can get back to that point of playing up to that level, I think we'll be OK."
Depending on how St. Louis does in Pittsburgh on Thursday night, the Brewers will either lead the division by two games or just one when they start a crucial series with the Cardinals on Friday. A Cardinals win over the Pirates on Thursday would give St. Louis a chance to tie the Brewers in the National League Central with a win Friday in Milwaukee.
"Teams go through this type of stuff, man. It's called adversity," Garza said. "We're still in a good spot. We have three games against one our rivals coming in and we could pick up ground.
"We just have to come out and flush this series, get it over with and say, 'You know what? We start fresh and finish strong before the break.'"
Adding talent: The Brewers' long-rumored signing of Dominican shortstop Gilbert Lara became official Thursday, as the team announced the 16-year-old has inked a minor-league deal with the club.
According to MLB.com, Lara's deal is worth $3.1 million, by far the richest deal for an international amateur signing in franchise history.
"This is a major step to show the expanded and serious nature of our involvement in Latin America," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "Gilbert is a top talent that we are all very excited about. Tom Flanagan (Senior Director of Baseball Operations), Eduardo Brizuela (Director of Latin America Operations/Scouting) and Manny Batista (Director of Latin America Scouting) worked very hard throughout the process."
A native of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, Lara is ranked as the no. 4 international prospect by MLB.com. The Brewers previously set a franchise record for an international signing last year when they added Franly Mallen and Nicolas Pierre for $800,000 each.
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