Marquis struggles as winning streak ends

Marquis struggles as winning streak ends

Marquis struggles as winning streak ends
MILWAUKEE -- After another lackluster effort in his previous outing against the Indians last Tuesday, the Twins met with right-hander Jason Marquis in an effort to help him improve his pace while on the mound.

Marquis did pitch at a faster tempo against the Brewers on Sunday, but it didn't help, as he continued his season-long struggles, and the offense was shut down by Zack Greinke in a 16-4 blowout loss at Miller Park.

"There's not a lot to say other than that our starter didn't get it done," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They hit pretty much everything he threw up there. He was behind in the count. And they blooped them and blooped them. Everything seemed to fall in there for them. And we really didn't have much off Greinke. He did pretty good. He had a nice lead and did what you're supposed to with it."

Marquis was hit hard by the Brewers, giving up eight runs on eight hits and a walk over just 1 2/3 innings to mark his shortest start of the season. It was the third straight rough outing for the 13-year veteran, as his ERA is now at 8.47 in seven starts.

Marquis, though, stayed away from playing the blame game, saying that trying to improve his pace wasn't the reason for his poor outing.

"I've done that in my career before, because sometimes you get out of it," Marquis said. "But that obviously didn't have any outcome on the game. I just can't get it right, right now, and that's what it is. I'm not going to make any excuses."

Marquis had troubles from the get-go, as he surrendered a monster home run to Corey Hart, the first batter he faced. Three batters later, he served up another solo blast to Jonathan Lucroy.

The wheels fell off for Marquis in the second, when he gave up six runs while retiring only two of the 10 batters he faced. Hart opened the scoring with an RBI infield single before Ryan Braun brought home two runs with a double. Lucroy added a bloop two-run single, then Travis Ishikawa picked up an RBI single that knocked Marquis from the game.

Right-hander Anthony Swarzak came on in relief and allowed two runs over 2 1/3 innings. He gave up an RBI double to Braun in the fourth before Braun came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Green.

Swarzak was followed by right-hander Alex Burnett, who tossed two innings and gave up a run in the fifth on an RBI single from Braun, who had four RBIs on the afternoon.

Right-hander Jeff Gray surrendered five runs without recording an out in the seventh, as Norichika Aoki reached on an infield single with the bases loaded before Lucroy launched a grand slam. Lucroy finished with a career-high seven RBIs.

"It was a fun day." Lucroy said. "I'm just glad to get the win and help my team win anyway I can, really. It was just a lot of fun putting some runs up and watching Zack work his magic out there."

It was so bad that the Twins' best relief appearance came from catcher Drew Butera, who tossed a scoreless eighth inning. He even struck out Carlos Gomez on a changeup for the second out.

"I just wanted to do whatever to help the team," said Butera, whose fastball registered as high as 94 mph. "Obviously, you never want to be in that situation because our team is down. So, hopefully, I'll never have to do it again."

Greinke, meanwhile, allowed just one run on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings to pick up his fifth win.

The Twins scored in the first inning on an RBI single by Josh Willingham after a Ben Revere double. But it was all they could muster against Greinke.

They added three late runs, but it wasn't nearly enough, as they saw their season-best four-game winning streak come to an end. The Twins have an off-day on Monday before they begin a three-game set against the White Sox on Tuesday in Chicago.

"We just didn't get it done," Gardenhire said. "We need to regroup here tomorrow. We need this day off. We played a lot of games there in a row. So we'll see what we need to do come Tuesday."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.