Brewers’ bullpen offers no relief
Monday night, the team’s former closer was back in town, picking up where he left off. Only this time, he made the first-place Brewers reach for the Pepto Bismol.
Pitching with a 4-2 lead in the sixth inning, Julio didn’t retire any of the six hitters he faced, laying the groundwork for the Marlins in a 7-4 come-from-behind victory in front of far fewer than the announced paid attendance of 10,509 at Land Shark Stadium.
The Marlins (24-28) scored five runs in the inning, taking advantage of a hit batsmen, a walk, a Brewers error and an infield single by Hanley Ramirez to tie the score before Jorge Cantu was plunked on the forearm by Julio to give them a 5-4 lead.
Brewers manager Ken Macha said his team was short-handed in the bullpen, with relievers Mark DeFelice and Seth McClung unavailable.
“We needed one inning to get to Coffey and (Carlos) Villanueva and we couldn’t get it out of Julio,” Macha said.
It was the kind of start to the
11-game homestand the Marlins were looking for, especially coming on the heels of a 9-20 May, when the team equaled the most losses for the month in club history (1998, 95).
Reliever Cristhian Martinez, who saw his first action since he blew a save opportunity in a loss to the Diamondbacks on May 21, picked up his first major-league victory in 1 2/3 innings of two-hit ball. He was sent back to the minors after the game.
Martinez relieved starter Andrew Miller with one out and the Marlins Miller with one out and the Marlins in a heap of trouble in the fifth. With runners on first and second, he struck out J.J. Hardy. Then after a single scored Prince Fielder from second and put runners on the corners, he got Jason Kendall to ground out to first to end the inning.
Miller left after giving up six hits, four walks and three earned runs on 97 pitches, ending the Marlins’ run of three consecutive games with the starter pitching at least seven innings.
But it was Julio who was the goat. After pitching in 10 games for the Marlins and going 0-2 with a 12.54 ERA before being traded to the Rockies, he made his return to South Florida and picked up where he left off. He gave up a leadoff single to Cody Ross, hit pinch-hitter Brett Hayes in the back and walked rookie Chris Coghlan to load the bases.
Emilio Bonifacio then sent a grounder to first, which bounced through the legs of Fielder, allowing Ross to score from third.
“I was trying to get a groundball from Bonifacio for a double play but no luck—that happens,” Julio said.
Hanley Ramirez, who scored his 400th career run on a single by Cantu in the first, then reached on an infield single to short to tie the score. One batter later, Julio was pulled.
Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom gave up a two-out single in the ninth, but he retired Casey McGehee on a groundout to third to end the game and pickup his 10th save of the season.
The Marlins improved to
10-14 at home and 3-10 versus NL Central opponents with the win.
Eleven Marlins batted in the sixth, with the first eight reaching base safely.
Julio (1-1) faced six batters and allowed five runs, four earned.
Julio hit two, including one with the bases loaded.
Casey McGehee and Jason Kendall each had two hits and an RBI for Milwaukee, which led 4-2 after five innings. Jeff Suppan, who drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk in the Brewers’ three-run second, allowed two runs and seven hits in five innings.
“If I go out thinking I have to pitch seven or eight innings, that would take me out of my focus,” Suppan said. “My goal is to go out and make the pitches that I have to make to stay in the game.”
Brewers center fielder Mike Cameron exited in the fifth inning with left knee irritation.