MILWAUKEE -- Brewers right-hander Matt Garza gave the Brewers their third straight quality start on Friday, meeting the minimum qualifications by allowing three Cardinals runs in six innings. It gave the Brewers more quality starts in their last three games than they logged in their first 14. It marked progress, both for the team and for Garza, but only a moral victory after a 3-0 loss left Milwaukee with a Major League-worst 3-14 record.
"I made progress, but it's about time for that progress to kick in to results," Garza said. "I threw the ball well, but not well enough. Their guy was better. You tip your cap and wear it."
"Their guy" was right-hander Carlos Martinez, who struck out eight Brewers batters in seven scoreless innings to send Garza to his third loss in four starts. Garza was burned by four of the seven Cardinals hits he surrendered; successive singles by Matt Adams and Jhonny Peralta setup Yadier Molina for a run-scoring groundout in the second inning, and Jason Heyward and Peralta hit mistakes for solo home runs in the third and sixth, respectively.
Still, it was the first time this season that Garza completed six innings while allowing fewer than four runs. The two days prior, Kyle Lohse and Jimmy Nelson constructed quality starts of their own. Only Lohse's produced a Brewers victory.
"It felt good. I felt I had good stuff," Garza said. "The two homers, just unreal. A lot of loft in them, and they didn't seem to come down. That's about it. You just keep going and keep pushing. That's all you can do."
Heyward hit a "thigh-high, down-the-middle fastball," as manager Ron Roenicke saw it. Peralta hit a hanging curveball leading off the sixth inning.
More effective was Garza's slider, a pitch he worked hard to hone in Spring Training. Eventually, Garza hopes that pitch leads to more success. Eventually, the Brewers hope to begin stringing together some wins.
"Nobody's giving up," Garza said. "We're still grinding. The ball's not falling our way right now."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.