Crew opens crucial stretch with loss to Cards

Brewers fall 5 1/2 back of St. Louis, 2 1/2 behind 2nd Wild Card spot

August 27th, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- The next two weeks could well determine whether the Brewers finally sink after hanging around .500 for the past several months, or surge to the finish like they did a year ago. Monday began a run of 12 games in 14 days against the Cardinals, Cubs, Astros and Cubs again, and let’s just say it’s not off to a very promising start.

Behind , the Brewers fell into an eight-run deficit before getting their second turn at-bat in a 12-2 loss to the Cardinals on Monday at Miller Park, dropping Milwaukee to a season-worst 5 1/2 games behind division-leading St. Louis in the National League Central.

The NL Wild Card standings are only marginally better for the Brewers. They fell 2 1/2 games behind the idle Cubs for the second spot, with both the Phillies and Mets in the way.

“We’re starting to run out of games against these teams that we’re chasing,” said before the Cardinals tried to take the bat out of his hands once again, walking him twice and yielding a pair of singles in four plate appearances. “So when you get these head-to-head opportunities, you like to take advantage of them.”

Gonzalez and the Brewers were unable to do so Monday, when Yadier Molina’s two-run single in the first inning spotted St. Louis an early lead, and an 11-batter, six-run second inning all but put the game away. Gonzalez continued to pitch through the end of the fifth, and somehow outlasted Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, who needed 90 pitches for 11 outs and exited with two outs and the Brewers threatening in the fourth inning. Reliever John Gant extinguished that fire and pitched the Cardinals through the end of the sixth, by which time their lead had grown to 11-2.

"It was on me, the whole game,” said Gonzalez, who was charged with nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits and four walks in five innings. “I did nothing to help us out. Put us behind extremely early. Yeah, it just wasn't my night."

It was a different sort of night six days earlier in St. Louis, where Gonzalez limited the Cardinals to one earned run on three hits in five proficient innings. But in a follow-up performance, he allowed eight runs (six earned), seven hits and four walks before recording his sixth out.

Gonzalez’s saving grace was getting through three more innings after the disastrous second, lessening the toll on a Brewers bullpen that remained in good shape for games Tuesday and, they hope, Wednesday.

“I have no other choice but to turn the page,” Gonzalez said. “Everybody else, they’re going to come back, they’re going to play their tails off [Tuesday behind starter ]. We’ve got the right guy on the mound. We feel very confident with him. It’s just one of these games -- I take full responsibility. There’s no one to point the finger at. It’s all on me.”

The task does not get easier for Milwaukee hitters, who draw the Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty in the remaining two games of the series. Time is running out for the Brewers to get on a winning streak, something they have not been able to do for months. Amazingly, they entered Monday 5-5 in their last 10 games, 10-10 in their last 20 games, 15-15 in their last 30 games, 20-20 in their last 40 games and 25-25 in their last 50 games. Playing .500 ball is not going to get them to October.

“Look, we have to turn the page. This was a bad game,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It was a bad game from the start. Nothing went right. On these, you have to forget about it.”

“It goes without saying that it’s fairly important, this two-week stretch for us,” Yelich said. “So, yeah, we all understand how important it is, too, just as the fans do. We’re aware of where we’re at in the season, in the standings, and what’s at stake here. Obviously, we would love to go 12-0 in this stretch, but you can’t lose sight of the ‘now’ and you can’t get caught up in the big picture of worrying about what everybody else is doing.”