Matt Garza didn’t get any help from his defense, but he also didn’t do himself any favors with his control and the Milwaukee Brewers dropped their series opener 10-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park.
Garza allowed six runs, but only three of them were earned. Yet he walked five hitters, needing 87 pitches to make it through just 3 1/3 innings. He fell to 6-8 with a 4.77 ERA.
The loss, coupled with a Chicago Cubs 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, dropped the Brewers 3 1/2 games back in the NL Central Division race.
The Brewers had momentum after taking two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers on the weekend, but some sloppy defense from the start on Tuesday night doomed the Brewers.
Travis Shaw booted a ground ball in the first and Manny Pina dropped an underhand toss from Garza at the plate with a walk sandwiched in between, costing the Brewers a run. Luke Voit followed with a ground ball to the left side. Orlando Arcia got the forceout at second but Neil Walker’s attempt at a double play was late. Two Cardinals scored on the play as Eric Thames’ throw home was late and St. Louis was off to a 3-0 lead.
The Brewers got a run back on Eric Thames 28th home run of the season, but the Cardinals broke the game open with four runs in the fourth inning.
There was a time this season when Matt Garza helped the Brewers with some solid innings on the mound. But over his last 21 1/3 innings, Garza has allowed 31 hits, 16 walks with 15 strikeouts and a lofty ERA of 9.28. Overall this season, Garza is 6-8 with a 4.77 ERA.
Major League rosters can be expanded on Friday and the Brewers have some options. Brent Suter will make a rehab appearance with Class A Wisconsin this week and Junior Guerra has pitched well at Colorado Springs since being demoted by the Brewers. Right-hander Brandon Woodruff also pitched a simulated game at Class AA Biloxi on Monday and is expected to rejoin the Brewers rotation this weekend.
Chase Anderson (7-3, 2.87) starts the 2-game series finale for the Brewers this afternoon (1:10 p.m.). St. Louis counters with right-hander Carlos Martinez (10-9, 3.48).
AUDIO: Craig Counsell on the Brewers defensive issues :16
AUDIO: Craig Counsell on Matt Garza’s struggles :18