Roenicke not happy with strike zone after loss

Roenicke not happy with strike zone after loss

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was ejected during a seventh-inning pitching change Saturday by home-plate umpire Dale Scott, with Roenicke still fuming about a called third strike against Ryan Braun during a critical juncture a half-inning earlier.

"I didn't like [Scott's] strike zone," Roenicke said, "so I told him he had a bad night."

Roenicke was particularly upset about two pitches: Cardinals reliever Matt Belisle's called strike three against Braun, which came with two runners aboard and one out with the Brewers trailing by two runs, and what Roenicke viewed as a similar offering in the top of the seventh inning by Milwaukee reliever Will Smith to Jason Heyward. The Smith pitch was called a ball.

Belisle gets Cards out of jam

After Roenicke removed Smith from the game in favor of Jeremy Jeffress, he exchanged words with Scott and was ejected for the first time this season. It came three days after Roenicke complained during a postgame interview about close pitches called against the Brewers during a loss to Johnny Cueto and the Reds.

Roenicke was more diplomatic in the wake of Saturday's 5-3 loss.

"I don't -- these umpires are just trying to do their job the best they can," Roenicke said. "It's not one team vs. another or one player vs. another. They're calling what they see. It's just, some nights it works out against you, and it seems like it's been against us. But we're not playing good baseball, and it happens all the way around, where you don't get calls, you don't get breaks. That's what we're going through."

What was Braun's view of the pitch in question?

"It felt like it was a perfect pitch. I haven't watched to see whether it was a strike or a ball," Braun said. "But obviously it was a big moment in the game, and I'm disappointed that I continue to swing the bat so terribly, and in that situation take a pitch that was obviously a borderline pitch."

Braun is batting .230 and slugging .279 through his first 17 games this season. After Belisle caught Braun looking, he did the same to Brewers first baseman Adam Lind on a slider on the outside corner. The Brewers stranded the tying run on base.

A moment after Roenicke was sent to the clubhouse, St. Louis slugger Matt Holliday connected with Jeffress' first pitch for a three-run home run, adding to the Brewers' troubles.

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.