Tuesday night's loss ties for longest game in Miller Park history
JUN 25, 2014 2:40a ET
MILWAUKEE -- In games that drag into the late hours of the night -- or into the next day -- winning makes it worthwhile, while losing is excruciating.
The Milwaukee Brewers ended up at the wrong end of one of those marathons Tuesday night at Miller Park, as they squandered countless opportunities to win throughout the 16 innings it took to complete the game.
Ryan Zimmerman's two-run home run in the top of the 16th inning off Mike Fiers lifted the Washington Nationals to a 4-2 victory in a game which took five hours and 22 minutes -- which is tied for the longest game in Miller Park history.
"We had plenty of chances," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We had bad at-bats today. We've been swinging the bat so well. Yesterday, we ran across a great pitcher and today, same thing, (Nationals starter Jordan) Zimmermann is a great pitcher. But we had some chances today and we just had some bad at-bats."
None were magnified more than the two extra-innings at-bats center fielder Carlos Gomez had with the winning run in scoring position. After the Nationals intentionally walked Jonathan Lucroy with two outs and Lyle Overbay on third base in the 13th, Gomez swung at the first pitch and hit a soft line drive to short to end the inning.
Washington again walked Lucroy intentionally in the 15th, this time with Ryan Braun on second base with two outs. Just as he did two innings earlier, Gomez went after the first pitch, this time popping out to first baseman Adam LaRoche.
"I tried to be aggressive," Gomez said. "That's me. Look for something I can handle, and I got jammed. . . . It's one of those days. This happens, you know?"
Roenicke thought Gomez swung at a good pitch in his 13th-inning at-bat but didn't think the same of the at-bat in the 15th.
"I don't want him looking at a pitch but I do want him to look for a good pitch to hit," Roenicke said. "He's not any different than anybody else -- just get a good pitch to hit. I don't have any problem with any of those guys swinging at pitches but we're swinging at pitches way off the plate and it hurt."
The loss was particularly tough on the Brewers because they held the lead going into the eighth inning. Milwaukee fought to scratch together two runs off the always tough Jordan Zimmermann and got another strong start from Yovani Gallardo.
Gallardo allowed just a first-inning run on a couple of softly hit groundballs over six innings, lowering his ERA to 1.00 over his last four starts.
Anthony Rendon's one-out solo home run off Brewers reliever Will Smith in the eighth inning eventually sent the game into extra innings, where both teams struggled to come through in clutch situations. Each side ended up using six relievers, as Fiers was working into his fourth inning out of the bullpen when Zimmerman hit the decisive home run.
After throwing 22 pitches Monday, Fiers gave the Brewers four innings on 59 pitches Tuesday, becoming just the seventh pitcher in baseball to throw 50 or more pitches on zero days rest this season.
"They had to use me. I was the long guy," Fiers said. "I tried to give as many innings as I could and put as many zeros on the board. They got me in the fourth inning I pitched, and that was it."
A night after the Brewers were shut out on just three hits, Milwaukee's offense scored in just one of the 16 innings. The game Tuesday had a feeling of importance hovering over it, one that grew as the game went on.
Milwaukee's offense was red-hot coming off a 6-1 road trip through Arizona and Colorado, but the strong Washington pitching staff has cooled down the Brewers' bats.
"Every game is hard to lose, but especially when you play extra innings, you want to win those," Gomez said. "It's like you worked for nothing today. We played 16 innings and we didn't take the 'W.' You go home, try to rest a little bit and come tomorrow and win."
Now the Brewers face just over a 12-hour turnaround before having to go out and face Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday afternoon.
"No, it's not," Roenicke said strongly when asked if it was good to come back and play right away Wednesday. "They're going to be gassed tomorrow."
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