Wed Final: Padres 6, Brewers 5
By Todd Welter
Next game: Thursday, August 13 vs. San Diego
Despite major shake ups to the Brewers roster, it was the same old story for the Brewers. Meaning another Brewers loss as the San Diego Padres topped the Crew 6-5 at Miller Park.
The Crew (55-58) went about losing in one of the many ways the loyal faithful have grown accustomed to--the bullpen had a major meltdown. The only thing missing from the Brewers' normal formula for losing was a bad outing from the starting pitcher.
A four-run rally by the Padres (49-66) in the seventh inning coupled Kevin Kouzmanoff's 3-for-4 and two-RBI night did in the Brewers in front of the weary eye of owner Mark Attanasio whose team has now dropped 24 of their last 36 games.
"Those are the kind of losses that are really tough," Brewers manager Ken Macha said.
Attanasio was in attendance, sitting in his first-base line, front-row seats. He had commented before the game about it has not been fun to watch the Brewers as of late. He got an up close and personal view of the pain this team has been putting the paid attendance through--especially in the seventh inning.
The Brewers held a 3-2 lead heading into the inning when Todd Coffey, Mitch Stetter and Claudio Vargas failed to protect the lead.
Coffey loaded the bases to start the inning and almost escaped with minimal damage. He got David Eckstein to hit a bouncer to shortstop Craig Counsell, who got the out at second but Eckstein beat out Counsell's throw to first.
Coffey exited and in came Mitch Stetter and his struggles continued. Coming into the contest, Stetter had given up seven earned runs in 7.2-innings pitched.
He yielded a ground-rule RBI-double to Adrian Gonzalez, walked Wil Venable with the bases loaded and it was the exit sign for Stetter after that.
"Things haven't gone my way the last couple of days obviously it hasn't been that good the last couple [of games]," Stetter explained.
Enter Vargas who promptly gave up a RBI-single to Kouzmanoff. Kouzmanoff hit an absolute rocket that ricocheted off Counsell's glove. The damage could have been much worse as Chase Headley charged for home but Ryan Braun gunned him down at the plate.
Coffey (4-2) took the loss as he was charged with giving up three of those four runs. He also failed to protect a 2-1 lead in the sixth as he gave up a RBI-single to Kouzmanoff.
"The team didn't lose this tonight, I lost it," Coffey felt. "I give up three runs in that inning. That is unacceptable."
Not exactly the results Attanasio and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin were hoping for coming into the game. Prior to the contest, Melvin announced that struggling shortstop J.J. Hardy was being sent down to Triple-A Nashville, top prospect Alcides Escobar was being recalled to take Hardy's place at short and Bill Hall was being designated for assignment. Melvin also fired pitching coach Billy Castro. Triple-A Nashville pitching coach Chris Bosio was named as Castro's interim replacement.
The moves sort of jolted the Brewers to play better baseball. Carlos Villanueva turned in a decent start and the Brewers' bats refused to go down without a fight.
Villanueva gave the Crew a solid start despite walking away with a no-decision. He gave up just two runs on five hits in 5.2-innings of work. He had four strikeouts and two walks.
Prince Fielder drove in two runs in the seventh to pull the Crew to within a run but Milwaukee could not come up with that go-ahead or game-tying hit.
The common theme with that problem was hitters who drove runs in earlier in the game could not reproduce that production late in the game. Jason Kendall, Felipe Lopez and Mike Cameron drove in the first three Brewers runs. All three of them could not come up with two-out, run producing hits in the seventh (Kendall--fielder's choice with bases loaded), eighth (Lopez--fly out to center with a man on third) and Cameron (ninth--pop fly, foul-out to end the game with a man on third).
"We did have a chance to the tie game," Macha said. "We battled back from a three-run deficit. We couldn't tie the game."
"The intensity the guys had even when we feel behind was terrific. You always want to be optimistic. With everything that went on, it would have been a cherry on top of the sundae but it didn't work out that way."
Kevin Correia (8-9) earned his eighth win of the season as he gave up three runs on six hits in six innings of work. Heath Bell picked up his 29th save of the season.