St. Louis continues to rule rivalry with Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE -- The St. Louis Cardinals have been a nightmare for many teams this season, but the Milwaukee Brewers have been particularly flummoxed by their division rivals -- especially at Miller Park.
With Saturday night's 7-2 loss, the Brewers fell to 4-14 against the Cardinals this season, including losing eight of nine games at Miller Park.
"I don't care where it is, home or where it is," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We just need to be able to beat them. When we play a good game we need to be able to beat them.
The Brewers haven't played well at Miller Park all season.
Saturday's loss was Milwaukee's 44th at home, the most since 2004 when the club lost 94 games and finished 36-45 at Miller Park.
"You know, you bring up stuff, I don't care about all that stuff," Roenicke said when asked about the team's home record. "I don't care about numbers on whether we have the most wins or losses at home, I don't care about that stuff. What I care about winning as many ballgames as we can. I don't care where it is. I don't care who it is against."
Unlike Friday when the Brewers competed with the Cardinals over the entire game, Milwaukee stuck with St. Louis for seven innings Saturday night. Yovani Gallardo overcame allowing a first-inning, two-run home run to Matt Adams to work seven strong innings, but exited trailing 2-1.
Gallardo stranded a runner at third base in the seventh inning with three straight strikeouts to work out of the jam. St. Louis used a pair of two-out, two-run hits in the eighth inning to tag reliever Rob Wooten for five runs in just 2/3 of an inning pitched, blowing the game open at 7-1.
"As we all know when these guys get people in scoring position they really do the job," Roenicke said. "They all know how to hit. The inning they got all the runs they started out with two bloops to right field. Two jam shots to right, a hard ground ball between first and second, Yadi (Molina) has a real nice at-bat and then (David) Freese hits a ground ball between short and third. So, they can hit and they get what to do to put balls in play and that's why they were successful."
The silver lining Saturday was another strong performance from Gallardo. The right-hander improved his ERA to 2.33 in seven starts since coming off the disabled list, but lost for the first time in that stretch.
Like his last start against Cincinnati, Gallardo battled early command issues Saturday. He got two quick outs before allowing a single to Matt Holliday and the homer to Adams.
"I just left the ball up," Gallardo said. "The base hit to Holliday was with two strikes. I tried to go fastball away and it stayed up in the zone. The same thing to Adams, I was trying to bury a curveball. It would have been a different situation if it wasn't right down the middle of the plate. To guys with power that hit mistakes really well it's something you try not to do."
Despite tying a season high with seven strikeouts and keeping the Brewers in the game through seven innings, Gallardo was still unable to win against the Cardinals. He's now 1-11 with a 6.46 ERA in 17 career starts against St. Louis.
The last two nights have been particularly frustrating because Milwaukee has had its chances to beat St. Louis but hasn't sealed the deal. With the Cardinals' magic number to clinch a playoff spot down to one, the Brewers may have to win Sunday to prevent watching their rivals celebrate on their field.
"Doesn't matter who it is -- it's never fun when you lose," Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "They're a good team and they battle pretty hard. They hit really well with runners in scoring position and do a pretty good job of focusing in big moments. We've got to figure out a way to be better.
"They seem to do everything right. When it rains it pours. When things go right for you, they go right. We've just got to find a way to keep going out there and battling."
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