Brewers lose brooms
For two consecutive nights, the Milwaukee Brewers used a formula to win normally absent from their bag of tricks this season. They scored early and let the starting pitching work comfortably and deep into the game.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as hot as any team in baseball coming into the series, swiped that recipe for the series finale Wednesday, salvaging a 5-1 victory at Angel Stadium.
For the first two games, Randy Wolf and Dave Bush controlled the Angels’ bats, combining to throw 14 1/3 innings while allowing three runs. The offense pounded out 24 hits and 19 runs in those games to roll to a couple of victories.
Joel Pineiro caused those fortunes to change in the third game.
Pineiro, a right-handed pitcher the Brewers pawed at during the off-season but declined to acquire, was dominant, lasting eight innings and allowing a run on three hits while striking out five.
His only costly mistake came in the third inning when he lost an eight-pitch battle to Carlos Gomez, who smoked a down-the-pipe sinker for his fourth home run of the season. Gomez said he was “lucky” to take advantage of that miscue by Pineiro because the way he pounded the lower part of the zone, mistakes were few.
Other than that pitch, Pineiro was money, falling an inning shy of his second consecutive complete game and fourth of the season. He finished with 109 pitches.
The Brewers never even seriously threatened Pineiro, managing only one at-bat with a runner in scoring position. That came after Corey Hart doubled with two outs in the sixth, but Ryan Braun grounded out behind him.
That famine came after the Brewers had 28 at-bats with men in scoring position in the first two games.
In eight career starts against Milwaukee, Pineiro is 4-0 with a 2.79 earned-run average (481/3 innings, 15 earned runs). That includes a complete game that took only 100 pitches last season.
“He did to us what Bush did to them (Tuesday),” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “We only had one guy in scoring position, so he pretty much came right after us. He pretty much dominated us.
“For Narveson, it wasn’t his best day.”
True statement. Left-hander Chris Narveson allowed a home run to Mike Napoli in the first inning and had problems getting ahead of hitters in the second.
He fell behind Juan Rivera, who singled with one out. The next batter, Kevin Frandsen, also got ahead in the count and singled. Narveson fell behind, 2-0, to Bobby Wilson after that and on a hit-and-run pitch, Wilson punched a middle-in changeup over the left-field wall for a three-run homer, his first career major-league shot.
Narveson settled a bit from that point but lasted just 41/3 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits.
Narveson has lost three of his last four decisions and allowed 20 earned runs over his last 27 innings, but Macha thinks Narveson has pitched better than the numbers show.
Over his previous two starts, Narveson went seven innings and allowed two runs against Texas and after allowing four runs in the first inning in St. Louis, he pitched five scoreless frames.
“In my mind, today was a bad outing,” Macha said. “He had one other one of (those), but he’s been all right. He’s got to avoid the homers and the big innings.”
Narveson dropped to 5-4 with a 5.79 ERA, and he has allowed nine home runs. The numbers aren’t pretty on the surface, but everyone in a Brewers uniform is trying to not making too much of them.
“It was one of those games where you’re fighting to find yourself and it ended up being two swings that made the difference,” Narveson said. “You can’t really look at numbers in the middle of the season. It’s a grind and you’re going to have your ups and downs. You take a little something from each outing and try to build off that.”
Last updated: 2:03 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012