MILWAUKEE — Baseball can be bizarre. It can also be cruel. Tuesday night the seventh inning was both to the Milwaukee Brewers and left-hander Michael Gonzalez.
Making his debut with the Brewers, Gonzalez got hit with the loss by allowing three runs without recording an out in Milwaukee’s 8-4 loss to Colorado. In a box score it looks like a rough outing, but all he had was rough luck.
Coming on in a tie game, Gonzalez walked Dexter Fowler to start the seventh inning. Josh Rutledge followed with a sacrifice bunt attempt that was perfectly placed between Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Gonzalez for a base hit.
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Then the inning got bizarre. Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez broke his bat on a ground ball to first baseman Alex Gonzalez. It wasn’t the fact that Gonzalez hit a ground ball to Gonzalez off Gonzalez that made the play weird, but the broken bat flew and hit the ground in almost the exact same spot as the ball.
While Alex Gonzalez tried to dodge the bat from impaling him, the ball spun away and Carlos Gonzalez had an infield single to load the bases. All three runs eventually scored.
“The disappointing thing right there was walking that first dude,” Michael Gonzalez said. “You don’t want to do that, that just kind of opens up the inning. Other than that, it was a perfectly hit bunt and you can’t do anything about that. I thought Lucroy had a good shot at it, obviously he just beat it out.
“I’m just glad Alex is alive. It’s one of those things, tough luck. Definitely don’t plan on having these outings anymore. It was just one of those things where I tip my hat and get ready for tomorrow.”
The Rockies continued to mix execution with well-placed hits even after Michael Gonzalez left the game. Troy Tulowitzki broke the tie with a sacrifice fly and Michael Cuddyer reached on a swinging bunt that plated another run. Todd Helton followed with a single dumped into shallow center and Colorado led 7-4.
“What do you do about an inning like that?” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “I talked about how weird things happened (Monday) and that (inning) was weird. You don’t see too many innings that can go bad with really, pretty good pitches.”
If the Brewers would have executed on Rutledge’s sacrifice bunt attempt the inning likely wouldn’t have gotten as out of hand as it did. Instead a slight hesitation between Lucroy and Michael Gonzalez let the speedy Rutledge easily beat the throw.
“It’s one of those bunts where it keeps rolling away from the catcher,” Roenicke said. “The catcher thinks he’s going to get to it and it keeps rolling away from him and now you get the pitcher into the picture and if he looks like he has a chance you get this little hesitation. Those are tough plays. It’s hard to know how far that ball is going to roll out there.”
Michael Gonzalez has seen a broken bat wreak havoc on a play a couple of times in his career but never when he was pitching. Because he was running to cover first base, Gonzalez had a perfect view of the play and really was worried about the bat doing damage to his teammate.
“I definitely was, man,” Michael Gonzalez said. “I saw that and I could just see the ball bouncing in the same spot the bat was. At that moment you want an out but you want to make sure Alex is alright and he doesn’t get one to the eye because that could be bad.”
Playing just the second game of his 15-game career at first base, Alex Gonzalez usually gets more time to react to broken bats at his natural position of shortstop.
“Tough play, man,” Alex Gonzalez said. “It’s very hard to have a ball like that at shortstop.
“That happens in baseball, tomorrow is another day and we have to go try and win the series.”
After his strange first outing with the Brewers, Michael Gonzalez is just hoping for a chance to get in Wednesday’s series finale.
“After a night like that you want to go out there the next day and get that out of the way,” Michael Gonzalez said. “I’ve been there and done that a few times so as soon as I leave this clubhouse I’m over it. I have to go out there tomorrow and get ready to grind.”