Estrada shines in low-scoring loss to Cards

Estrada shines in low-scoring loss to Cards

Estrada shines in low-scoring loss to Cards
ST. LOUIS -- The frustration in manager Ron Roenicke's face couldn't have been clearer. For three games in St. Louis this weekend, his club could not find the clutch at-bats when it needed them. The Brewers dropped their third straight to the Cardinals, losing 3-0 on Sunday night, while again missing out on key opportunities.

Milwaukee was just 2-for-22 with runners in scoring position on the weekend, and was swept for the third time since the All-Star break. It was the seventh time this season the Brewers had been held scoreless and the first time since a 4-0 loss to Miami on July 5.

"We had chances," Roenicke said. "We had chances to score. We needed a big hit, and we're not getting a big hit."

Roenicke said earlier in the series that while fortunate breaks have often been hard to come by for his club this season, many times it didn't play well enough to deserve them. Milwaukee caught a golden break in the fourth and worked a pair of walks to produce a legitimate scoring chance, but couldn't capitalize.

Corey Hart reached safely with one out on an error by Cardinals third baseman David Freese. Rickie Weeks walked, Jonathan Lucroy struck out and Cody Ransom then walked off St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse to load the bases for pitcher Marco Estrada. Estrada, an .087 hitter this season, went down looking for the second time in two trips to the plate.

Lohse said he worked around both Weeks and Ransom to get to more favorable matchups with Lucroy and Estrada.

"It ended up costing me a lot of pitches, but it's something you have to do once in a while," Lohse said. "I don't want to walk guys, but when you realize you have to get one out of three out to face the pitcher, I'll take that."

Lohse limited the Brewers to four hits over six innings, the third straight quality outing from a Cards starter in the series.

"[Lohse] has consistent pitches," said center fielder Carlos Gomez. "He threw strikes and threw the pitches he needed when he needed to.

"They have great starting pitchers. We have to figure them out to get on base to score runs. It's not easy."

The Brewers again squandered a potential run in the seventh. Ransom led off the inning with a first-pitch single off reliever Edward Mujica. Nyjer Morgan was called on to pinch-hit, but popped up a bunt to catcher Yadier Molina, who easily doubled off Ransom at first.

"That hurt," Roenicke said. "It certainly hurt getting doubled off. That's how the series went."

Making the offensive struggles even tougher to swallow for the Brewers was receiving an admirable outing from Estrada, who allowed one run on seven hits over six innings while turning in his second straight quality start.

Estrada has had a quality start in three of his last four outings, but still remains winless on the year.

"If I just keep my team in the game, that's all I really care about," said Estrada. "I know I say that all the time, but I don't worry about if we're gonna score runs or not, because I think that will mess with my head a bit. I just go out and make the pitches, and hopefully things work out."

Aside from a fastball left up and over the plate that Daniel Descalso ripped to right field in the second inning for an RBI triple, Estrada couldn't have done much more to give his club a chance against a tough Cardinals lineup.

Estrada's breaking ball was biting hard and he continued to go back to it to keep St. Louis guessing.

"A team like this, I was just trying to keep them off-balance," Estrada said. "And I think me throwing so many curveballs -- it worked."

Jim Henderson allowed a two-out RBI double to Allen Craig to extend St. Louis' lead in the seventh, and an RBI single by Freese in the eighth off Kameron Loe made it 3-0.

St. Louis' bullpen shut down Milwaukee once Lohse exited, as the Brewers collected two hits over the final three innings.

Milwaukee has now lost 12 of its last 16 games and nine straight away from Miller Park, dropping it to 18-33 overall on the road this season. The Brewers have been considerably better at home -- 30-26 -- but Roenicke said traveling doesn't have anything to do with his team's troubles away from home.

"When we play good teams on the road, we're gonna have a tough time beating them," Roenicke said. "And we're not playing well. For me, it has nothing to do with the road. It has everything to do with how we're playing. And we're not playing good, solid baseball."

Mike Still is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.