Tricky defensive plays doom Brewers in 6-0 loss to Cardinals
MILWAUKEE (AP) A tough third inning on defense made for a miserable afternoon for the Milwaukee Brewers.
They couldn't afford many mistakes with the way St. Louis' Carlos Martinez was pitching on Monday.
Martinez struck out eight in eight innings and Matt Carpenter had four hits to help the Cardinals to a 6-0 win at Milwaukee.
St. Louis capitalized on the defensive miscues in the third with three runs off Junior Guerra (3-1), who allowed eight hits and three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings.
''They were kind of `woulda-coulda-shoulda' plays but certainly not routine plays,'' manager Craig Counsell said. ''The way Martinez was pitching, we pretty much needed to make every play today.''
Instead, the top of the third included a throwing error and passed ball for the Brewers. A high liner glanced off Hernan Perez's glove into short left for an RBI single.
Another St. Louis run scored when Alex Presley, who was wearing sunglasses, couldn't get to a towering fly by Matt Adams to the warning track in left on a sunny afternoon.
The ball fell to the dirt for an RBI double. Presley said the ball had drifted and fell just behind him and to his right.
Martinez (5-5) had more than enough support against a team that he has dominated through his four-year career, including a 0.59 ERA in three starts in 2015. He allowed five singles and walked one.
The fastball topped at about 98 mph, and Martinez mixed in a curveball, slider and changeup.
''He does a good job of mixing pitches even though he has good velocity,'' Presley said. ''He can get you off balance, and just called an unpredictable-type game at times. With his stuff, it's a tough combo.''
Guerra pitched relatively well despite some tough luck on defense. He picked up his third quality start since being called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on May 3.
''Nothing can be perfect. It's part of it, you play to win the game. Things aren't going to go perfect all the time,'' Guerra said through an interpreter.
The top four hitters in the Cardinals' lineup accounted for 10 of the team's 12 hits. Third-place hitter Matt Holliday was 3 for 4 with three RBIs, including a 466-foot homer in the seventh off Jhan Marinez that landed in the top row of the bleachers in left.
''We put traffic out there. We put pressure on them to make pitches and guys came through with the big hits when we needed them,'' manager Mike Matheny said.
Cardinals: OF Stephen Piscotty missed the game with a stomach bug. ''He got some bad food last night, or something zapped him,'' Matheny said. ... SS Jhonny Peralta (left thumb) needed stitches after cutting a finger on his right hand with a knife during his rehab assignment Saturday night at Double-A Springfield. Peralta might miss another couple days.
Brewers: LF Ryan Braun (sore neck) missed a second straight game. The Brewers' best hitter also has been bothered by soreness in his lower back and right wrist this season. ... LHP Will Smith (right knee) was scheduled to return to Milwaukee on Monday night from his rehab stint in the minors. He could be activated on Thursday when the team opens a four-game series in Philadelphia.
Cardinals: The team is scoring 5.25 runs a game in the last four starts of RHP Mike Leake (3-4) after averaging 3.7 runs over his first six outings.
Brewers: RHP Wily Peralta (3-5) is 4-9 with a 5.00 ERA in 14 career starts against St. Louis.
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