Early, late pitching lapses cost Brewers

Early, late pitching lapses cost Brewers

Early, late pitching lapses cost Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- Over a stretch of 12 2/3 innings, Brewers pitchers held the Giants scoreless Monday night. But home runs on either end of that stretch made the difference in a 4-3 loss.

Buster Posey hit the first, a three-run blast, and Hector Sanchez -- who entered the game as part of a double-switch in the 12th inning -- connected for the eventual game-winner, a solo shot in the 14th off reliever Juan Perez.

The Sanchez homer capped a 14-inning, 4 1/2-hour contest that was a primarily a pitchers' duel and featured four double-switches along with every hitter off the Brewers' bench. Before that blast, neither team had scored since their respective starters left the game.

"We played that many innings, we ended up with six hits," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "It's discouraging. It's frustrating for the guys. They don't like it any better than I do, so we've got to start swinging the bat.

"I thought our pitching was very good. But we've got to swing the bat better."

Randy Wolf turned in an impressive outing, but it didn't start out that way as he was down 3-0 after just four batters. The lefty put Brandon Crawford and Melky Cabrera on base with eight balls in nine pitches with one out in the first, and Posey followed by crushing a 2-1 cutter out to left.

Following his rough first inning, Wolf settled in nicely, retiring the final seven batters he faced and 15 of the last 17. The lefty finished with three runs allowed on five hits over seven innings. Wolf had four strikeouts against three walks on the night.

"I just walked a couple guys and then made a mistake to a guy that you really can't make a mistake to -- [Posey]'s a really good hitter," Wolf said. "You don't want to give up three runs in the first. And just try to battle from there."

Seven innings marked a season high for Wolf, who delivered one of his better outings so far on the year despite the dubious beginning.

Wolf improved on his outing at San Francisco, in which he allowed four runs on nine hits over six innings in a 5-2 loss to the Giants.

"I pride myself on being efficient and going deep in games, and I haven't been that this year and it's been really frustrating," Wolf said. "I felt if I keep them at three runs and try to keep the bullpen out of it a little bit -- I didn't think we were going to go 14 innings -- to go deeper in the game is good."

After scoring 16 runs Sunday afternoon against the Twins -- including seven driven in by Jonathan Lucroy -- the Brewers' offense was quiet until Aramis Ramirez put them on the board with an RBI double in the sixth, scoring Ryan Braun from first base.

Two innings later, Braun crushed a 1-2 slider from Madison Bumgarner for his 12th home run of the season to tie the game at three runs apiece. At that point, it seemed as though the game might go the Brewers' way.

"You never think that. You hope that. That's for sure," said Braun, who left after his 10th-inning at-bat with tightness in his right groin.

"We definitely had momentum back on our side. But give those guys credit, they really threw the ball well all night. And their bullpen came out and did a great job."

Bumgarner outdueled Wolf, giving up three runs, one earned, on five hits over 7 2/3 frames. He also had 10 strikeouts with just one walk.

But the 22-year-old lefty had to settle for a no-decision after giving up the late homer.

"It wasn't really a bad pitch," said Bumgarner of the slider Braun hit an estimated 459 feet out to left-center field. "I probably should have buried it. That's what great hitters do. He made a good adjustment and hit it about as far as he can hit it."

Monday's 14-inning contest was the longest this season for the Brewers, but just the second longest as far as time of game. Their five-hour, four-minute game against the Cubs just 10 days earlier was longer, despite being one inning shorter.

After that Friday night walk-off victory against the Cubs, Roenicke said it was important to win after such a long, hard-fought game. This time around, the Brewers were on the other end of a marathon game and will look to bounce back Tuesday night.

"I think all losses are difficult, but those ones are certainly more challenging to respond to," Braun said. "So hopefully we'll come back out tomorrow and play a good game."

Jordan Schelling is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.