Tom Gorzelanny, who has said over and over that he wants to be a starter, has been given a chance by the Milwaukee Brewers to show he has a future in their rotation. But he was rocked for seven runs in the first two innings Wednesday afternoon and the plucky Brewers couldn’t quite dig out of that hole in an 8-6 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park.
Gorzelanny has had back-to-back bad outings since holding the Seattle Mariners scoreless through seven innings on Aug. 10. Over his last two starts, the left-hander has surrendered 12 runs on 16 hits in just 8.1 innings.
After Allen Craig doubled home a run to give the Cardinals a 1-0 first inning lead, the roof caved in on Gorzelanny in the second.
After loading the bases to start the inning, Gorzelanny yielded a double into the left-center field gap to his opposite number, Jake Westbrook, to bring in a couple of runs. Matt Carpenter made it 4-0 with a sacrifice fly to right field and Carlos Beltran followed with a massive home run off the scoreboard in center field. It was Beltran’s second homer of the series and his 22nd of the year.
Craig hit a long blast into the seats in right-center later in the inning, his 12th, to make it 7-0.
The Brewers, playing two men short with Carlos Gomez still nursing a sprained knee he sustained on Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds and Norichika Aoki out of the lineup Wednesday after fouling a ball off his left knee in Tuesday night’s win, made it interesting.
Aramis Ramirez hit his second homer of the series and just his seventh of the year with two aboard in the third to bring the Brewers back to within 7-3.
In the bottom of the fifth, Ramirez started a two-out rally with an infield single that shortstop Pete Kozma was able to glove on a dive, but couldn’t get off a throw. Khris Davis singled to right and Juan Francisco singled to center to bring in Ramirez. Sean Halton followed with a single to right to plate Davis to make it 7-5.
That did it for Westbrook, who was one out away from qualifying for the victory after losing four straight starts. Kevin Siegrist (2-1) came in and walked Logan Schafer to load the bases before fanning pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi to get out of the mess.
The Brewers had their chances, leaving 14 runners on base—including 10 from the fifth inning on. The Crew’s bullpen corps—Donovan Hand, John Axford and Burke Badenhop—ensured the Brewers would have a chance to come back, limiting the Cardinals to just one hit over 4.1 innings after Gorzelanny (3-5) was lifted after 3.2 innings, 10 hits and seven runs.
Michael Gonzalez entered in the top of the ninth for the Crew and surrendered a homer to Matt Holliday, his 16th, to give the Cardinals an 8-5 lead.
Edward Mujica, who came on to get the final out of the eighth for St. Louis, served up a home run to Schafer, his third, and a ground-rule double to Yuniesky Betancourt before getting the last two hitters to end it for his 33rd save in 35 chances.
Mujica entered with two gone in the eighth and runners at first and second and immediately hit Davis to load the bases. But he struck out Francisco to end the threat.
Davis was 3-for-4 on Wednesday, finishing the homestand a torrid 11-for-23 (.478) with two homers and four RBI. Conversely, Francisco was 2-for-22 (.091) with a homer, two RBI and 14 strikeouts, including eight in a row on Sunday and Monday.
Milwaukee wound up 3-4 on the homestand, splitting four with the Reds and losing two of three to the Cardinals.
The Crew has an off day Thursday before opening a three-game series at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati Friday night. After another off day Monday, the Brewers will visit PNC Park and the Pittsburgh Pirates for three games before returning home on Aug. 30.
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