Fiers can't stop skid as Peavy stymies Brewers offense
Jake Peavy took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, as the veteran right-hander helped send the Brewers to their fourth straight loss.
Brewers starting pitcher Mike Fiers throws a pitch against the San Francisco Giants early in Saturday's contest at San Francisco.
Ed Szczepanski / USA TODAY Sports
By Andrew Gruman
This time, even Mike Fiers couldn't stop the skid.
But Fiers would have needed to have been nearly perfect to overcome yet another frustrating night for Milwaukee's offense.
Jake Peavy took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, as the veteran right-hander helped send the Brewers to their fourth straight loss by working 7 2/3 scoreless innings Saturday in San Francisco's 3-1 victory at AT&T Park.
"The first three innings it was really tough to see, and he did a great job of throwing his slider down in the zone and we couldn't see it," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "After that, shoot, he spotted his fastball well. Sliders were almost all good.
"When he has his good breaking ball, he's tough."
Peavy retired the Brewers in order over the first three innings, striking out six of the first nine batters he faced. Afterwards, Milwaukee's manager and Mark Reynolds praised Peavy for taking advantage of the tough sightlines and throwing his slider down in the zone early.
"They know where they're at," Reynolds said. "With the sun in the backdrop, all you see is just a black ball coming at you. You can't see laces, you can't see spin. I think their hits in the first couple innings were on fastballs, too. So if it's straight, you've got a chance. That's just the way it is."
Fiers hadn't allowed more than three hits in any of his first four starts of the season, but four San Francisco hits in the fourth inning were enough to provide the difference in the game.
Consecutive singles by Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence set the table for Michael Morse to drill a two-run double to deep center field to put the Giants up 2-0.
"It was elevated," Fiers said of the fastball Morse hit for the double. "I wouldn't say it was a bad pitch. I would just say the timing of it. I'm getting outs with fastballs up in the zone, but first pitch he's sitting dead-red fastball and he got his pitch and he didn't miss it."
After a fly out, Brandon Crawford singled to score Morse, putting the Brewers into an early 3-0 hole. Fiers would settle in and keep the deficit at three runs over seven innings, recording his fifth consecutive quality start.
Milwaukee would put runners on base via the walk and hit by pitch in three innings against Peavy, but a couple of spectacular defensive plays by Crawford at shortstop kept the no-hitter intact.
A bloop single from Reynolds with one out in the eighth eventually prevented the Brewers from being no-hit, but reliever Sergio Romo struck Carlos Gomez out on three pitches with two on to end the inning.
The Brewers would score a run in the ninth on a Ryan Braun RBI single and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Reynolds, one of their best power threats. But closer Santiago Casilla got Reynolds to hit into a fielder's choice to end the game.
Since scoring 10 runs Monday in San Diego, the Brewers have now plated just six runs over their current four-game losing streak.
"It's hard to know when it does that," Roenicke said when asked if he senses his team is pressing at the plate. "You can see it after a while. We're not there yet."
Two weeks ago the Brewers left California with a three-game sweep of the Dodgers and were being declared World Series contenders. Now Milwaukee is mired in a skid at the worst possible time in the season.
With September around the corner, the Brewers' division lead is down to one game over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates -- left for dead in the National League Central race just a week ago -- are suddenly just two back.
"I wouldn't say that," Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett said when asked if this was the low point in the season. "We're still hitting the ball, we're just not finding too many holes. I think when you lose a few games in a row, you want to go out there and put up four in the first inning.
"You're pressing a little bit. Once we let the game come to us and relax and play our normal game, we should be fine."
Garza set to return: After his simulated game was deemed a success Friday, Matt Garza is ready to jump back into Milwaukee's starting rotation.
The Brewers announced Saturday that Garza will pitch Wednesday's series finale against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, bumping Wily Peralta to Thursday.
For at least one time through, Milwaukee will go forward with a six-man rotation.
"If we do it for one time through, it works out pretty good," Roenicke said. "And it gives some guys six-days rest at the end. I still think we look good out there as far as physically, but you never know at the end of the season. If an extra day helps, maybe we'll do it that way."