MILWAUKEE -- The worst season of Matt Garza's career reached a dubious milepost Saturday, when he became the second pitcher in the Majors to reach double-digit losses in a 5-2 loss to the Twins at Miller Park.
It was a promising outing that turned suddenly south. Garza breezed through his first four innings on just 35 pitches, and he had retired 10 batters in a row, including the final six on groundouts, before the game got away in a 38-pitch fifth. Garza reached two-strike pitches on each of the first three hitters but retired none of them, and Eduardo Escobar gave the Twins the lead by hitting a misplaced fastball for a three-run home run.
"I beat myself. That's all it was," Garza said. "Positives, yeah, I felt good the first four [innings], but for some reason I can't get away from that big inning. I'm going to find it. I'm going to keep working, keep looking and eventually it's all going to click."
It has not clicked this season, the second of Garza's four-year contract. He joined the Phillies' Aaron Harang as the only pitchers in the Majors with 10 losses, and at 4-10 with a 5.52 ERA, Garza is enduring his worst stretch since an abbreviated debut with the Twins in 2006, when he posted a 5.76 ERA with a 1.700 WHIP over nine starts and one relief appearance.
Over his past nine starts, Garza is 2-6 with a 6.75 ERA and only two quality starts of at least six innings with three or fewer earned runs. In his past three starts, he is 0-3 with an 8.50 ERA and has allowed 31 hits in 18 innings.
The Twins touched Garza for four runs on six hits in six innings, with most of the damage coming in the fifth.
"He had probably four of his best innings of the year, but he made a mistake in a spot where a guy would hurt him with Escobar," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Escobar was in a 1-2 count, with the pitcher on deck, when Garza threw a fastball low and in, right into a left-handed hitter's power zone. Another mistake burned Garza in the sixth, when he grooved a 2-0 fastball to Torii Hunter for the first of Hunter's two solo homers.
The homers continued a troubling trend for the Brewers, who fell to 14-26 at Miller Park. With three more on Saturday, Brewers pitchers have surrendered 67 home runs in 40 home games vs. 22 home runs in 36 games on the road.
"You have to keep the ball in the park, and to me it's not a home/road thing," Counsell said. "But I do think it's something you have to keep the ball in the ballpark as a pitcher. Today's homers, those are homers [at any stadium]."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.