Cravy states his case to stick with Brewers despite loss

Tyler Cravy's seven-inning effort on Tuesday marked the longest outing by a Brewers pitcher in their major-league debut since Steve Woodard went eight innings against the Blue Jays in his first career start on July 28, 1997.

Jeff Roberson/AP

Needing to add an outfielder to the roster in the coming days, the Milwaukee Brewers may have been planning on sending Tyler Cravy to the minor leagues after his start against the St. Louis Cardinals.

If that was the case, Cravy left an impression that could change the minds of the decision-makers by limiting the Cardinals to just one run over seven innings Tuesday.

But the rookie right-hander was a tough-luck loser in his major-league debut, as Milwaukee’s struggling offense was shut out for the fifth time this season in a 1-0 loss at Busch Stadium.

"He threw really well," Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "He has a little funky delivery, has some good arm action going on. So he kept those guys off balance and made some good pitches.

"It was a good game, close game. It was definitely a battle. He got the job done and gave us a chance to win, which was important."

Cravy’s seven-inning effort marked the longest outing by a Brewers pitcher in their major-league debut since Steve Woodard went eight innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in his first career start on July 28, 1997.

After Kolten Wong smoked a line drive right at center fielder Carlos Gomez to start the bottom of the first, Cravy worked through his first big-league inning by striking out Matt Carpenter and getting Matt Holliday to pop out to short.

The only run Cravy allowed came on a broken-bat, two-out bloop single by Mark Reynolds in the second.

"He was excellent," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He did a great job of keeping balls down, down, down. Everything was down. That was a great start. The best start we’ve seen in a while, for sure."

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By keeping the ball down, Cravy was able to get double plays to help him through the third, fourth and fifth innings.

The only two hits St. Louis had against the right-hander after the second inning were erased on double plays, as was one of the two walks he issued.

"They’ve been pretty aggressive," Cravy said. "So the game plan was to make them swing the bats and keep the ball down for strikes and let them hit it on the ground, really."

With his pitch count in check, Cravy came back out for the seventh inning trailing 1-0. He issued a leadoff walk to Carpenter before coming back to strike Matt Holliday out looking.

Cravy then had to endure a delay after Holliday and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny put forth a lengthy argument before and after being ejected by home plate umpire Joe West.

The interruption didn’t faze Cravy, as he ended his night by getting Jhonny Peralta to pop out to second base and Randal Grichuk to ground into a fielder’s choice.

"It was kind of a lengthy disagreement," Counsell said. "But he did a good job. He got some ground balls when he needed it just by staying down. Wong hit a ball hard to lead off the game and Holliday hit that double-play ball hard, but other than that there were not that many hard-hit balls.

"What was impressive was everything was down. Then he throws a couple pitches off that fastball down and got some swings out of the zone on those pitches. You understand how he’s been getting outs. It’s real."

The Brewers had planned on allowing Tyler Wagner to make a second start after his big-league debut, but things changed when Matt Garza had to pitch five innings in relief during Sunday’s 17-inning marathon.

Mike Fiers had to be bumped up a day to fill Garza’s spot Monday, leaving the Brewers in need of an emergency fill-in for Tuesday.

Cravy earned the promotion to Milwaukee by allowing just two earned runs over 14 innings in his last two starts with Triple-A Colorado Springs.

The Brewers are not in need of a fifth starter until next Tuesday in Pittsburgh. That could make it necessary for Cravy to be sent down in order for an outfielder to be added to the roster.

"There’s a potential for something to happen with that spot, yeah," Counsell said. "We’ll have to figure that out. Someone pitches like that, you take notice, for sure."

By limiting the Cardinals to just one run on four hits with just two walks and six strikeouts, Cravy at least put himself in line for a call up later in the season.

"That’s not up to me," Cravy said about staying up. "I hope so. It could have went better. Couple bad pitches. But that’s how the game goes."

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