Jul 11, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57) reacts after giving up a solo home run to St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday (not pictured) in the ninth inning at Miller Park. Rodriguez took the lost as the Cardinals beat the Brewers 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Brewers Suffer 2 Losses Friday—1 Off The Field

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The Milwaukee Brewers blew a 6-0 lead Friday night at Miller Park as the St. Louis Cardinals came from behind for a 7-6 victory to pull within a game of the National League Central leaders.

But that became a secondary issue quickly, as manager Ron Roenicke closed the clubhouse to reporters after telling the press that there had been a death in the family of one of the players. He declined to identify who it was. (h/t MLB.com)

As for the game itself, the Brewers (52-42) rocked St. Louis starter Joe Kelly, who was making his first start since severely straining a hamstring April 16 in a game against Milwaukee at Miller Park.

Carlos Gomez was hit on the hand by Kelly’s second delivery of the game and moved up when Scooter Gennett rifled a single down the third-base line.

The Brewers then took advantage of the Cardinals being without All-Star catcher Yadier Molina, executing a double steal to move both runners into scoring position.

Jonathan Lucroy—named an All-Star starter Friday in place of the injured Molina—worked a 10-pitch walk to load the bases and Aramis Ramirez delivered the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to center.

After the runners moved up to second and third on a ground out, Khris Davis put together another marathon at-bat against Kelly, driving the eighth pitch to the wall in left-center for a two-run double and a 3-0 Brewers lead.

In the second, Yovani Gallardo and Gomez led off with consecutive ground ball singles up the middle before Gennett yanked a triple into the right-field corner that gave Milwaukee a 5-0 lead. Two outs later, Ryan Braun came through with a shot into the gap in right-center, ending up with the Brewers’ second triple of the inning and giving the Crew a 6-0 lead.

Kelly wound up working just three innings, throwing 78 pitches—66 in the first two frames.

The Cardinals (51-43) started to chip away at the big deficit in the fourth. Matt Holliday lined a double to right-center—his second double of the game—and Matt Adams followed by jerking an inside fastball into the seats deep in right-center for his 11th home run of the season, pulling St. Louis to within 6-2.

Things really unraveled for the Brewers in the sixth. Kolten Wong led off with a long blast into the loge seats in right for his fifth homer of the year—but his fourth in his last six games—to make it a 6-3 game.

Jhonny Peralta then chased Gallardo with a home run to left, his 14th, after Holliday had walked.

Rob Wooten came on and gave up three straight baserunners—singles by Allen Craig and Jon Jay and a walk to Tony Cruz and Roenicke responded by bringing on left-hander Zach Duke to face lefty-swinging pinch-hitter Oscar Tavares.

Tavares grounded to short, but the Brewers could only get the force at second, sending Craig home with the tying run.

The Brewers had a chance to score in the bottom of the seventh. Braun stroked a one-out single and moved up to second on a wild pickoff throw by reliever Seth Maness. Logan Schafer, batting for Brandon Kintzler, greeted All-Star reliever Pat Neshek (4-0) with an infield single to put runners on the corners. But struggling Jean Segura grounded out to short to end the threat.

With the game still tied in the ninth, closer Francisco Rodriguez came on for the Brewers and got the first two outs before Holliday hit a bomb into the seats in left, his sixth homer of the year and the seventh surrendered by Rodriguez (3-3).

Trevor Rosenthal came on in the ninth and shut the door after a leadoff single by Ramirez to record his 28th save.

The Brewers, who came into the game hitting just .195 in July, were held in check by four Cardinals relievers after battering Kelly in the first two innings for six runs on seven hits. Against Nick Greenwood, Maness, Neshek and Rosenthal, the Crew was held scoreless on just five hits and a walk.

Gallardo surrendered a season-high three homers as his struggles against St. Louis continued. He gave up five runs on seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings, and in 19 regular-season starts against the Cardinals, Gallardo is 1-11 with a 6.45 ERA and 1.413 WHIP in 103.1 innings.

Wooten was charged with a run without recording an out.

One positive was the eighth inning put together by Will Smith, who has struggled mightily in his last three outings. He shut down the Cardinals in the eighth on just 11 pitches, striking out two.

Gennett was 3-for-5 to spearhead the Brewers’ 12-hit attack, while Ramirez was 2-for-4 and Brauin was 2-for-5.

The NL Central, which Milwaukee once led by as much as 6½ games, is now tightly packed, with the Cardinals a game behind the Brewers, while the Cincinnati Reds are only 1½ games back and the Pittsburgh Pirates are within 3½ games.

The Brewers and Cardinals will get national exposure on Saturday, with their 3:10 matchup airing on Fox Sports 1. Jimmy Nelson (1-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his first start since May 26 after dominating the Pacific Coast League, but will match up with Adam Wainwright (11-4, 1.79 ERA), an All-Star having a phenomenal year.

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