With Milwaukee Brewers in franchise-worst funk, Ryan Braun takes blame


The Milwaukee Brewers had never been 3-15. Not in 1970, their first season after the expansion Seattle Pilots moved to Beer City. Not in 2002, when they set a franchise record with 106 losses.

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Just last season, the Brewers were 13-5 through their first 18 games.

But here the Crew is, 3-15 after a late rally against the St. Louis Cardinals fell short Saturday night at Miller Park in a 5-3 loss.

And slugger Ryan Braun says he’s largely to blame.

“We’ve just been pretty terrible in all facets of the game,” Braun told MLB.com, adding that he is “swinging the bat terribly.”

Braun was 0-for-3 last night with two strikeouts, including taking a called third strike with runners at first and second and one out with runners on first and second while Milwaukee trailed 2-0.

For good measure, Adam Lind took a called third strike from Matt Belisle as well to kill the threat.

Braun did have a walk and scored during a three-run eighth inning uprising, but also grounded into a double play. He’s hitting a less-than-MVP-like .230/.277/.279 with one home run and four RBI.

The Brewers caught an unfortunate break when St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright injured his ankle on a popup to lead off the top of the fifth inning.

The injury appears to be serious, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal:

But the Crew couldn’t do anything against reliever Mitch Harris or Belisle, who shut them down for a combined three innings on two walks and three hits, fanning three.

Wainwright had opened the game with four scoreless innings, allowing three hits and fanning four.

The loss spoiled the Brewers’ fourth straight quality start as Wily Peralta allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks in six innings, fanning four.

But the bullpen made a mess of things in the seventh.

Left-hander Will Smith came on and gave up a double to Matt Carpenter and a walk to Jason Heyward.

While making a pitching change to bring on right-hander Jeremy Jeffress to face Milwaukee killer Matt Holliday, manager Ron Roenicke was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Dale Scott.

Roenicke was still fuming about the called third strike on Braun in the sixth, apparently.

“I didn’t like his strike zone,” Roenicke told MLB.com. “So I told him he had a bad night.”

After the game, the skipper was more conciliatory.

“I don’t—these umpires are just trying to do their job the best they can. It’s not one team vs. another or one player vs. another. They’re calling what they see. It’s just, some nights it works out against you and it seems like it’s been against us.

“But we’re not playing good baseball and it happens all the way around, where you don’t get calls, you don’t get breaks. That’s what we’re going through.”

Jeffress came in and immediately poured gasoline on the fire, hanging a first-pitch curveball that Holliday banged over the right-center field wall for his first home run of the year and a 5-0 lead for the Cardinals (12-4).

Holliday has hit .319/.395/.559 with 26 homers and 80 RBI in 114 career games against Milwaukee.

In the eighth, the Brewers finally got something going against left-hander Kevin Siegrist. Jean Segura lined a one-out double to left and moved to third on Jason Rogers’ flyout.

Braun worked a two-out walk and St. Louis turned to left-hander Randy Choate to face Adam Lind, who grounded a single up the middle to get Milwaukee on the board.

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  • Right-hander Seth Maness entered and hit Khris Davis to load the bases before Aramis Ramirez lined a double to left to score a pair of runs.

    Hector Gomez grounded out to end the threat and Maness worked a spotless ninth to get his first save.

    Rob Wooten got in his first work since being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs, working a perfect eighth with a strikeout, and Michael Blazek fanned two in a 1-2-3 ninth.

    If there is one glimmer of a bright spot, it is that Ramirez seems to be hitting his way out of his early season funk. The veteran third baseman was 3-for-4 and raised his average to .197. Lind had two hits and Segura was 3-for-5 and is now hitting .324.

    The Brewers will try to stave off a sweep on Sunday when Mike Fiers (0-3, 6.75 ERA) takes the ball at 1:10 p.m. The Cardinals counter with right-hander Lance Lynn (1-1, 1.56).

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