OAKLAND -- There was no easing Milwaukee reliever Michael Blazek back into active duty. His first appearance off the disabled list was as high-leverage as it gets, and it wound up adding to a tough California road trip for the Brewers bullpen.Blazek inherited an A's runner at third base with
OAKLAND -- There was no easing Milwaukee reliever Michael Blazek back into active duty. His first appearance off the disabled list was as high-leverage as it gets, and it wound up adding to a tough California road trip for the Brewers bullpen.
Blazek inherited an A's runner at third base with nobody out in the seventh inning of a tie game, and came within an out of escape before surrendering Yonder Alonso's go-ahead single and Marcus Semien's two-run triple. Those hits sent the Brewers to a 5-3 loss at the Coliseum on Tuesday night.
"I'm ready to go whenever," Blazek said. "Regardless of the situation, the inning. I felt good coming in there. I've been ready to go since I came back."
The whole inning had a "what if" feel to it after Brewers center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis just missed making a spectacular, wall-banging catch of Stephen Vogt's leadoff triple. Blazek then entered in relief of Will Smith and induced a Danny Valencia grounder to shortstop that froze Vogt at third base, and should have produced the first out of the inning. Instead, Jonathan Villar misplayed it for an error.
Vogt did break for the plate on Khris Davis' ground ball to second base, but the Brewers threw him out. Blazek induced another out when Billy Butler viewed a 94-mph fastball for a called strike three.
But instead of ending the inning, the A's had one out left. Alonso took advantage by dumping a first-pitch single to center field, just out of second baseman Scooter Gennett's reach. Semien followed with a triple to left field to make it 5-2.
"It was a good situation for what Michael is good at," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "The first two batters, he really did what you would expect. The base hit by Alonso … [Blazek] just couldn't finish the inning."
Nieuwenhuis was lamenting his near-catch.
"I was trying to brace myself, but it just popped out," he said. "At a big point in the game like that, that's tough."
It's been a tough trip for Brewers relievers. Including an earned run Tuesday against Blaine Boyer and three unearned runs split between Smith and Blazek, Milwaukee's bullpen has been charged with 23 runs (19 earned) in 29 2/3 innings over the past eight games.
The stretch has pushed the group's composite ERA from 3.97 at the start of the trip to 4.19 after Tuesday's loss.
"They're pitching in high pressure situations, there's no question," Counsell said. "They've been pitching in [close] games, and there's been no room for error for them."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.