MILWAUKEE -- Brewers starter Matt Garza felt like he got hit by a truck after a collision with 6-foot-3, 250-pound first baseman Jesus Aguilar forced Garza from Saturday's mistake-filled, 10-8 loss to the Dodgers in the fourth inning.
"And not a Ford Ranger," said Garza. "Like a Ford F-350, a big boy."
The Brewers diagnosed Garza with a bruised chest, but will also re-examine his right shoulder on Sunday before the finale of a three-game series at Miller Park. For the time being, Garza is considered day to day.
The two made hard contact during a long Dodgers rally as Garza worked to protect a 3-2 Brewers lead. Cody Bellinger led off with a hard grounder along the first-base line, which Aguilar fielded behind the bag. Aguilar tried to beat Bellinger to the base but lost the race, then collided with Garza's right side, spinning the veteran pitcher around.
"My first instinct was to try to get to the bag, and I realized I was a little far," Aguilar said. "Garza kind of hesitated a little bit, too. He probably thought I was going for it. It was just a mental error. Things that shouldn't happen."
"It's all on me," Garza said. "I should have said something. I should have called for the ball and been at that bag. My screw-up, and I have to literally go lay with it."
Head athletic trainer Dan Wright and Brewers manager Craig Counsell joined Garza on the mound for a chat, and Garza remained in the game after throwing a few practice pitches. The Dodgers went on to load the bases, but Garza escaped with the lead intact when opposing pitcher Rich Hill botched a bunt attempt for a long popout to the edge of the outfield grass, and Chase Utley grounded out to first base.
Garza was limited to 64 pitches and charged with two runs (one earned) on three hits in four innings.
All day, the Brewers were let down by what Counsell calls the team's "run prevention unit." Every Dodgers scoring rally included an element of self-inflicted damage, starting with Garza's walk of Corey Seager in the first inning ahead of Adrian Gonzalez's RBI double.
In the third, Garza missed a relay throw while covering first base on a potential double-play grounder for a run-scoring error that made it 2-2. In the sixth, Jared Hughes' wild pitch gifted the Dodgers another tying run while pushing a runner to third base for Yasiel Puig's go-ahead single. In the eighth, Wily Peralta's wild pitch set-up Puig's run-scoring fielder's choice.
And in the ninth, Carlos Torres walked a pair of batters, including Bellinger with the bases loaded during a five-run Dodgers rally capped by Chris Taylor's go-ahead grand slam. Aguilar made the key mistake, fielding a one-out grounder from Yasmani Grandal and firing a throw toward second that hit Seager in the back for an error. Aguilar conceded that not stepping on first to get a sure out was "definitely a mental error."
Asked about the grand slam that followed, Torres said, "It had nothing to do with [Aguilar's error]. This game is very hard to play and unfortunately things like that happen all the time. It is my job to get past that and get us out of the inning. I didn't do that."
The Brewers have lost nine of their last 13 games, including four losses in the last nine days in which Milwaukee led in the eighth inning or later.
"Look, these are lessons for us that we have to get better," Counsell said. "That's how hard it is to win games and we have to be better to win games. Mistakes like that they do cost you games. … We've got to play better against these teams to beat them. That's the bottom line. We did some really good things, but to beat teams like this, we've got to do more."