Baseball / Sports

Brewers have little in relief in loss to Diamondbacks

MILWAUKEE -- This was a new experience for the Milwaukee Brewers.

And they didn't like it much.

Blowing a decent lead for the first time this season and losing late, the Brewers had no choice Tuesday night but to shake off an ugly 7-5 defeat to last-place Arizona at Miller Park.

The Brewers became the last team in the major leagues to lose a game when scoring at least four runs. They had been 18-0 in those situations, primarily a testament to a stellar relief corps.

"It's going to happen; it happens to everybody," said starting pitcher Marco Estrada. "We're going to forget about it. The good thing is we get to come back tomorrow, early game.

"I've forgot about it already. It's in the books. Let it go. Get after it tomorrow. That's all you can do."

In losing for the fifth time in six games, the Brewers had a couple of troublesome factors to ponder. After the Diamondbacks gift-wrapped a five-run first inning for them with a silly error, they did not score the rest of the game.

Even with that in-game drought, the Brewers were set up to pull out a one-run victory when setup man Brandon Kintzler took the mound in the eighth with a 5-4 lead. With one down, Kintzler surrendered a double to Paul Goldschmidt, game-tying single to Miguel Montero and decisive two-run homer to Brewer-killer Aaron Hill.

Kintzler, who allowed a game-tying home run to Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips in an extra-inning defeat Sunday, has been erratic since returning April 23 from a shoulder injury. He has allowed three home runs in 101/3 innings after surrendering just two in 71 appearances in 2013.

"I feel like some pitches I'm right where I need to be and sometimes it's not there," said Kintzler. "I just need to be more consistent.

"Maybe it's trying to do more than a need to do; maybe rushing just a little bit. It's just trying to stay calm and not doing more than I need to do. Homers to righties on a fastball, I think the last time was 2010. Now I've given up two in two games. Obviously, it's not something I'm used to but I'll fix it.

"I feel terrible for letting the team down in that situation."

Manager Ron Roenicke's options in the bullpen were somewhat limited because Will Smith was unavailable after pitching the previous two days and Jim Henderson is on the disabled list. Roenicke didn't want to use left-hander Zach Duke for one batter (Montero) and then have to remove him.

"If we bring in (Rob) Wooten after Duke, then we're left with Frankie (Rodriguez) and (Wei-Chung) Wang, and that's it. We felt like Kintzler, lefties are 1 for 10 off him, and we liked the way he threw to (Chris) Owings and the way he threw to Goldschmidt. He made a great pitch to Goldschmidt. He's a great hitter, strong, and he bloops a ball down the right-field line."

Kintzler said he is having no issues with his shoulder and Roenicke said he'd go to him again in a similar situation.

"He's making some mistakes but we need him," said Roenicke. "We need this guy to pitch well like he did last year. The only way to do that is leave him out there for an inning. We can't keep switching guys in an inning. We'll do it when we feel it's necessary. I didn't want to use three guys that inning.

"We need Kintzler to throw the ball well. He makes some good pitches, then all of a sudden he gets a pitch up."

By surrendering what had been a 5-2 lead after one inning, the Brewers lost their chance to beat right-hander Josh Collmenter for the first time. Collmenter (1.30 career ERA vs. Milwaukee) allowed all five first-inning runs though four were unearned because of a costly error.

The Brewers would have scored only one run in the first inning if not for a throwing error by Owings that allowed a second run to score and kept the inning alive. Jean Segura followed with an RBI single and Logan Schafer doubled in two runs.

But Collmenter stymied the Brewers after that before turning it over to his bullpen for the final 2 1/3 innings. Over the final eight frames, Milwaukee's erratic offense advanced just one runner beyond second base.

"We didn't do a thing after the first inning," said Roenicke. "We need to add on. We had (Collmenter) in pitch-count trouble through three innings, then the fourth and fifth, real quick innings, and he's able to go six. We shouldn't have let him go that far."

Estrada, who tweaked a quadriceps muscle fielding a bunt in the fifth but stayed in the game, went six innings, allowing four hits and four runs. Tyler Thornburg pitched an uneventful seventh before Kintzler found trouble.

"Our bullpen's been really good," said Roenicke. "I know the last few games they haven't been quite as good but they've pitched great. That's why we've won so many ball games."

(c)2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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