Milwaukee Brewers pay huge price for Mark Reynolds’ mistake


There’s an old saying in sports that says something about not giving teams extra chances.

The Milwaukee Brewers gave the St. Louis Cardinals an extra chance on Thursday night and paid for it, perhaps with their postseason hopes.

The Brewers took a devastating 3-2 loss in 13 innings to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, wasting a terrific outing by right-hander Kyle Lohse and losing ground in the pennant chase.

Milwaukee (79-74) now trails the Pittsburgh Pirates by 3½ games for the second National League wild card position and has just nine games remaining—including a three-game series at Pittsburgh that starts Friday.

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  • As far as the NL Central goes? Six games back with nine to play and a team in between the Brewers and the Cardinals (85-68) makes that look like nothing more than a pipe dream.

    Lohse was outstanding against his former team Thursday night, a team he has struggled mightily against at times.

    He carried a shutout into the eighth inning and if not for a fielding blunder by Mark Reynolds and uncharacteristic wildness by reliever Jonathan Broxton, the narrative might have been how Lohse helped the Brewers save their season for the moment.

    Milwaukee led 2-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth and Lohse surrendered a leadoff single to Oscar Taveras. Kolten Wong hit a comebacker to Lohse that he bobbled, costing him a shot at a double play, but he recovered in time to force pinch-runner Peter Bourjos at second.

    A.J. Pierzynski came up to hit for the pitcher’s spot and manager Ron Roenicke decided that Lohse, who had thrown only 88 pitches to that point, was done for the night.

    In came Broxton and Pierzynski yanked his first pitch down the first-base line, right at Reynolds, who fielded it and casually touched the bag for the second out as Wong advanced to second.

    The problem was that it was a tailor-made 3-6-3 double-play ball. Wong was barely a third of the way to second base when Reynolds fielded the ball and Milwaukee had Pierzynski, one of the slowest runners in baseball, on the back end.

    Television cameras caught Lohse turning his head and covering his face when Reynolds took the out at first.

    It turns out the veteran pitcher was prescient.

    Broxton walked Matt Carpenter to put runners on first and second and Jon Jay laced a single to left that scored Wong to make it a 2-1 game.

    Matt Holliday hit a chopper up the middle and was called out at first on the throw from second baseman Scooter Gennett. But replay showed Holliday, who made the dumb choice to slide head first into the bag instead of running through it, got to the bag before the throw.

    With the bases loaded, Broxton walked Matt Adams to force in the tying run before getting Jhonny Peralta to bounce out.

    So the teams played on, deep into the September night.

    St. Louis missed a chance to win it in the ninth. Yadier Molina led off with a double to left-center, but Bourjos struck out on a foul bunt and Jeremy Jeffress came back to fan Randal Grichuk before Will Smith came out of the bullpen to strike out Carpenter.

    Milwaukee got runners at the corners in the 10th after pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay walked and Gennett singled to right. But Jonathan Lucroy—who had earlier set tied a major-league mark with his 45th double as a catcher—struck out and Aramis Ramirez bounced into a force play to end the inning.

    The Brewers loaded them up in the 11th against Carlos Martinez on a single by Ryan Braun, a sacrifice by Gerardo Parra and walks to Logan Schafer (intentional) and Rickie Weeks (not so intentional). But Carlos Gomez fanned—part of an 0-for-6 nightmare for him—and the game remained knotted.

    St. Louis finally won it in the 13th against Jimmy Nelson (2-8). Holliday singled to center and was forced at second on an Adams grounder. Peralta singled to left to advance Adams to second and Tony Cruz, who replaced Molina after the All-Star had been pulled for a pinch-runner in the ninth, grounded a single up the middle that scored Adams to end it.

    Sam Freeman (2-0) got the win for a 1-2-3 top of the 13th for the Cards.

    The Brewers had taken a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Lucroy’s double—his 52nd, bringing him to within one of tying Overbay’s 2004 team record—and Ramirez’s single.

    Milwaukee made it 2-0 in the fifth. Matt Clark led off with a single and, with one out, Lohse reached when Shelby Miller’s throw to second on Lohse’s grounder was wide of the mark. Gomez hit into a force play that put runners at the corners and Gennett singled off Adams’ glove to score Clark.

    Lohse, who had put up a 9.64 ERA against the Cardinals this season, was phenomenal, allowing just a run on four hits in 7.1 innings, with a walk and two strikeouts. Broxton gave up a run on two hits and two walks in 0.2 innings. Jeffress and Smith teamed up to strike out the side in the ninth.

    Marco Estrada, Brandon Kintzler and Zach Duke each worked a scoreless frame before the Cards got to Nelson in the 13th.

    The Cardinals, meanwhile, got seven shutout innings from six relievers—Randy Choate, Seth Maness, Trevor Rosenthal, Pat Neshek, Martinez and Freeman.

    A total of 47 players were used in the game, 25 by the Brewers. Ah, September’s bloated rosters.

    The Brewers send Yovani Gallardo (8-10, 3.59 ERA) to the mound Friday to open the series at Pittsburgh. The Pirates counter with left-hander Jeff Locke (7-5, 3.66 ERA).