Guerra suffers first loss since early June as Brewers fall to Cardinals
MILWAUKEE — Junior Guerra’s scoreless streak ended with a 455-foot home run and the Milwaukee Brewers’ bats were silent at key moments.
It added up to yet another series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Matt Adams and Randal Grichuk homered off Guerra, St. Louis starter Mike Leake struck out 10 over seven innings, and the Brewers headed to the All-Star break with a 5-1 loss Sunday.
The Brewers wasted Chris Carter’s leadoff triple in the seventh, his first since 2014, and didn’t score after putting runners at first and third with no outs in the third.
"To sustain a rally, you have to get something going there," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We just couldn’t get the next hit to get something big, a big inning going there."
St. Louis took two of three games to improve to 13-0-1 in the last 14 series against the Brewers. The Cardinals are 29-12 at Miller Park since beating the Brewers in the 2011 NLCS.
Aledmys Diaz scored from first on a single in the fifth to snap a tie and the Cardinals entered the All-Star break having cut a 12-game deficit to the Cubs to seven in the NL Central.
"That’s pretty impressive," manager Mike Matheny said, "because we haven’t played well."
Adams snapped an 0-for-27 skid with a solo homer to right estimated at 455 feet to lead off the second. That ended a 16 1/3-inning scoreless streak for Guerra (6-2). The 31-year-old rookie allowed another solo shot to Grichuk in the sixth and snapped a three-start winning streak.
"I didn’t make quality pitches at times," Guerra said. "When I missed my spot, they took advantage and got some big hits when they needed them."
Grichuk and Adams added RBI hits in the ninth off Jeremy Jeffress.
Jonathan Lucroy had two hits, including an RBI single in the first for the Brewers.
Strikeouts have been a problem Milwaukee season, and Leake (6-7) was an unlikely candidate to keep that going.
Leake entered with a rate of 5.7 strikeouts-per-nine-inning, ranking 91st out of 99 qualifying pitchers in the majors. However, he used his slider to keep Milwaukee off balance.
"I had that to go to because it was working and they were swinging over it," Leake said. "So why not use it a little bit more?"
Leake allowed six hits and no walks in his first win since June 12.
Hernan Perez fanned three times, and the Brewers struck out 10 or more times for the 42nd time in 87 games.
Former Brewers reliever Jonathan Broxton struck out two in a perfect eighth before a two-run ninth put it away.
The Cardinals took a 2-1 lead in the fifth thanks to their speedy All-Star. Diaz reached on his 19th infield single with two out. He then never stopped and scored from first on Stephen Piscotty’s bloop single off center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ glove.
The 31-year-old Guerra walked Leake with two out in the sixth to end his day. The former independent league right-hander gave up seven hits and three walks while striking out five.
"The home run by Grichuk was a pretty good pitch, really," Counsell said. "I thought Junior pitched well. He had to battle through it a little bit, but he had good stuff."
Brewers OF Domingo Santana (elbow) will remain in Milwaukee during the All-Star break to rehab. "The goal is to hopefully increase his on-field activity starting Friday in Cincinnati," Counsell said. "Hopefully by the weekend, we can determine dates for (a minor league rehab assignment)."
Milwaukee optioned right-hander Michael Blazek to Triple-A Colorado Springs after the game. He has a 12.15 ERA in eight appearances since coming off the disabled list June 21.
"I’ve just got to be able to go out there and do my job," Blazek said. "Obviously the last few weeks I haven’t been able to do that. So I’ll go down and work and some stuff. I’ll be back."
A fan in the first inning made a leaning catch of a foul ball with his glove, bounced off the top of the Milwaukee dugout and fell backward to the ground. The man held onto the ball and drew cheers from Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, sitting nearby.
Brewers: Lucroy heads to his second All-Star Game. Milwaukee then begins a six-game trip in Cincinnati on Friday.