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Turnbow fumbles another handoff as Cardinals tip Brewers

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McClatchy-Tribune
April 22, 2008
— Derrick Turnbow desperately wants to be an integral part of the Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen.

Manager Ned Yost wants the same for Turnbow.


Nights like Monday make it difficult for those two desires to intersect.


The St. Louis Cardinals wasted no time in the ninth inning jumping on first-pitch fastballs from Turnbow, whose attempt to escape his wild past might be making him more hittable. The result was a 4-3 victory by the visitors that saddled the Brewers with their second consecutive tough late-inning loss.


Yost defended turning to a fresh Turnbow.


“He was the freshest arm we had,” said Yost, explaining his decision to call on Turnbow for the first time this season when the Brewers were not trailing.


“He hasn’t been given much of an opportunity. We feel we’ll need him to be a big part of the pen.”


How many more opportunities Turnbow is given with the game on the line remains to be seen. Yost was ready to summon closer Eric Gagne for the fifth consecutive day had the Brewers scored a second run in a gaffe-filled eighth inning but it never came to that.


In a span of three pitches and three batters, Turnbow surrendered the run that beat the Brewers. Pinch hitter Brian Barton laced a fastball to left-center for a double, Cesar Izturis bunted him to third and Skip Schumaker rendered the sacrifice meaningless by ripping another fastball to right-center for another two-bagger.


“We had good, timely hitting,” Schumaker said. “Barton coming off the bench to hit that double was huge. Every time we had a guy in scoring position it seemed we were able to get him in.”


Actually, the Cardinals managed only two hits with runners in scoring position and stranded nine. But after being shut out for 17 consecutive innings over the weekend, four runs seemed like a torrent.


“They were coming up, being aggressive and ambushing a little bit,” said Turnbow, who has a 9.64 earned run average after five outings.


“I was keeping the ball down. They just put the bat on the ball. They were definitely being aggressive.”


Last week in St. Louis, Turnbow expressed unhappiness over being relegated to what he called “mop-up” duty. That plea made it all the more painful when he was unable to come through when finally summoned with the game in the balance.


“It meant a lot (to get the chance),” he said. “Obviously, I wanted to keep it tied. It felt good getting out there in a close game.


“I wasn’t intimidated by it or uncomfortable.”


It was a quiet night for the respective offenses, thanks to stellar work by the starting pitchers. Brewers right-hander Carlos Villanueva and St. Louis righty Adam Wainwright each went seven innings and allowed only two runs, all coming in the third inning.


Villanueva paid for a pair of two-out walks when Troy Glaus hammered a two-run double to right-center that eluded leaping rightfielder Corey Hart. The Miller Park warning track is particularly wide in right-center and Hart wasn’t certain how much room he had.


The Brewers came back in the bottom of the inning when Jason Kendall led off with a double to right and scored on a two-bagger to left by Rickie Weeks, who eventually came around on Ryan Braun’s single.


The Brewers came back in the bottom of the inning when Jason Kendall led off with a double to right and scored on a two-bagger to left by Rickie Weeks, who eventually came around on Ryan Braun's single.


The eighth inning proved to be a nightmare for both rightfielders. Pinch hitter Ryan Ludwick opened with a drive down the right-field line off Brian Shouse that Hart appeared to have in his sights, only to muff for a three-base error. Hart revealed after the game that he lost the ball in the lights.


“At the last second, it went right in the glare,” Hart said. “Balls that are medium (height) are tough to see.”


Ludwick eventually scored on Adam Kennedy's sacrifice fly off Guillermo Mota but the Cardinals returned the favor in the bottom of the inning. With Braun (leadoff double) on third with one down, Hart sent a fly to shallow right that Ludwick lost in the lights and let get by when he slipped to the ground.


Braun scored and Hart raced to third but the Brewers lost their chance to take the lead when Bill Hall bounced a one-hopper right to Glaus at third. Going on contact, Hart was an easy out at the plate.


“A one-hopper to third base,” Hart said. “Not much you can do.”



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