Baseball / Sports

LaRoche turns Garza mistake into 3-0 Nats win

MILWAUKEE -- One good outing.

One bad pitch.

That's all it took Monday night for the Washington Nationals to beat the Brewers, 3-0.

In an otherwise commendable start, Brewers right-hander Matt Garza made the errant full-count pitch in the third inning to Nationals cleanup hitter Adam LaRoche, who jumped all over it for a three-run homer to center field.

"We lost, 3-0, and it was a slider," Garza said. "Oh, well. Wish you could take it back. It was the right time and the right pitch. Just didn't execute it."

In a game in which Carlos Gomez's 18-game hitting streak came to an end, the Brewers were shut down by Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez's steady stream of on-point changeups.

Gomez, who also had reached base safely in 35 straight games before going 0 for 4, had a chance to extend his streak in the ninth inning with Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon playing deep. The Brewers centerfielder fouled off a number of pitches before striking out.

"You see I had an opportunity in the ninth inning," Gomez said. "The third baseman played way back, but I was going to defend (the hitting streak) like a man. Just be me and enjoy it.

"I had the opportunity to drop a bunt, but I'm not going to do that. I had a great at-bat. I think that last at-bat made me feel better for tomorrow."

The Brewers were coming off an ultra-successful road trip in which they had won six of seven games against Arizona and Colorado. Returning to Miller Park, they were as offensively flat as they'd been all season against Gonzalez, who allowed just three hits in six innings.

"Gio threw a really good game," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "He was spotting his fastball well. All of his changeups were down and that made a big difference in what he did. I don't think he had one changeup up in the zone."

The Brewers' only legitimate offensive opportunity came in the fifth inning, when the struggling Ryan Braun, who had struck out on his previous two at-bats reaching for pitches, doubled to left with two out. But there he stayed.

"With him it's chasing the ball, which he did," said Roenicke. "But it wasn't just him. We chased a lot of pitches. We looked flat. When you don't get base runners, that's the way you're going to look."

The manager said Garza was slipping just a little bit before he left the slider up in the zone to LaRoche. In the second inning, Garza escaped a bases-loaded jam with on one out. In the second, he walked Rendon and gave up a single to Jayson Werth before allowing the three-run homer to LaRoche.

"He was in trouble," Roenicke said. "There were too many guys on base. After that, he threw a real good ballgame."

The Brewers loaded the bases in the bottom of the third, but Gomez stranded all three by flying out to left off the end of his bat.

In the fourth the Brewers stranded another runner in scoring position. Mark Reynolds walked, stole second and took third on a wild pitch, but with two out Jean Segura could not get him home.

"He throws the ball well," Gomez said of Gonzalez. "You have to give him credit. I've never seen as many changeups as I saw today. You have to make the adjustment. Those guys who came in from the bullpen did well, too. It's just one game. We move on."

Garza was asked if he took any consolation from everything except the mistake pitch to LaRoche.

"Yeah, you could say that, but we still lost," he said. "It's just another loss. We had a long road trip. Being back home for fourth time in 20 games is a long stretch. It's just one of those days. You tip your cap, the guy beats you and that's it."

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